Shooting Times talks to BASC council candidate Alan Musselwhite
Alan Musselwhite, aged 51, is a retired civil servant. He lives in a small town in east Hampshire, close to the foreshore and the county’s rolling countryside. He is standing for one of five contested seats in this year’s BASC council elections.
What is your shooting and conservation background?
I started shooting when I was 12 as a member of the Langstone Wildfowlers. As a junior member, I had a good grounding in basic spadework on the club’s many conservation projects. I eventually became, via the post of conservation officer, the club’s vice chairman and treasurer. I still hold these club executive offices and I’ve since graduated to the BASC Wildfowling Liaison Committee, of which I’m a member. I’ve been a member of the Chichester Wildfowlers for 27 years and I’m one of the club’s vice presidents.
My main passion is for wildfowling, especially punt gunning. I’ve either built or restored three gunning punts, and I use them as often as the weather permits. I regularly shoulder gun the east coast and greatly enjoy game, pigeon and vermin shooting.
What will you do for BASC and for shooting?
I will promote and defend all shooting sports to the best of my ability. I joined a vibrant shooting community when I was 12; I want other young people to be able to do the same.
What skills in your working life would you bring to BASC?
In my case, my working life bears no relation to my shooting life. However, my long service within club wildfowling has prepared me for effective committee work and given me a real insight into some of the issues, problems and solutions facing shooting in real world situations. I’ve worked regularly with a huge raft of other agencies, such as the RSPB, Natural England, Forestry Commission, the Wildlife Trusts, Local Authorities and so on, and it is this breadth of experience and depth of skill that I shall bring to BASC council. I have tangible skills in dealing with shooting related issues even though I may not be an accountant.
How would you improve BASC?
I often deal with BASC on a daily basis and I’m impressed with the quality of service that I get. I’m equally aware that many of the criticisms directed at it are not always based on fact. Until I actually get elected to Council and can view all the areas of its operation from the inside, and am in possession of all the facts, it’s difficult for me to suggest improvements just for the sake of it. I will develop my agenda based on fact rather than speculation.
What bad practices in shooting would you tackle?
It’s sometimes easy to fall into the trap of believing the anti-shooting propaganda about some alleged bad practices. Before commenting on this question I shall need to confirm that the bad practice actually exists.
Do you think support for all fieldsports is necessary for a member of BASC council?
How would you encourage new people into the sport and new members to join BASC?
I’m already actively involved in recruiting people into wildfowling and into shooting sports in general through the BASC South East regional office. BASC plays a fundamental part in the process of recruitment by providing access and contact through its many media and events. This impetus need to be maintained. It’s plainly working since we now boast some 140,000 members.
What’s your idea of a perfect shooting/sporting day?
A day spent afloat in my punt, returning as the winter sun is setting. To me, that is the perfect day regardless of the bag.
What’s your favourite game dish?
Honey & mustard coated roast goose with seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes, served with a decent bottle of red wine and in the company of good shooting companions.
The 12 candidates standing for the five contested BASC council places are as follows:
In the Northern Irish and Welsh council seats, for which there will be no ballot, the new council members will be Oliver McCullough (Northern Ireland) Jonathan Garton (Wales).
Profiles of those standing will also be sent to BASC members in the March/April issue of the members’ magazine, along with voting forms. The results will be announced at the organisation’s AGM in June.
For more information about the 2015 elections and BASC council, click here.