Shooting Times talks to BASC council candidate Daryn Hufton-Rees
Daryn Hufton-Rees, aged 48, is an interim charity CEO and management consultant. He lives in rural Essex and London. He is standing for one of five contested seats in this year’s BASC council elections.
What is your shooting and conservation background?
I’ve been shooting from a very early age, first with my grandfather – going through the traditional apprenticeship of helping the keepers, going vermin shooting and then eventually being given a peg – and then moving on to running my own roving syndicates. On the conservation side, I’ve improved habitats, instigated both wildlife and woodland conservation schemes, and worked on pond projects.
What will you do for BASC and for shooting?
I have always endeavoured to promote good shooting practice, engage with people who love my sport as much as I do and try and educate those that don’t. Alongside this I aim to bring new people into shooting from varied backgrounds and to act generally as a good ambassador for the sport. If I were on council I would continue to do this, though with a far wider audience.
What skills in your working life would you bring to BASC?
As with all large institutions, BASC is evolving and changing. One area of my expertise is change and change management, allowing a company to seamlessly adapt to a new climate while still focusing and retaining its original ethos. BASC is, and should always be, primarily an organisation that promotes and protects the views of its members. To this end engagement and discussion need to take place, and I can bring the necessary skills to both achieve this and ensure the results are put to good use.
How would you improve BASC?
I would ensure that BASC becomes more inclusive, more regionally defined and more interactive with its membership. The simple fact is that members are not engaged. BASC Council is a prime example: it consists of a number of people all quite rightly elected, but each only elected by a very small percentage of the membership. As the council acts as the shooting community’s voice and guardian, more members need to choose who promotes and lobbies for them.
What bad practices in shooting would you tackle?
As with all communities, a small number of miscreants can have a disproportionate effect upon perceptions. The use of lead shot over water; game birds not going into the food chain; dangerous shots on game days and the killing of raptors are all pounced upon by the media, even though their occurrence is statistically minute within our group. To counter this, it behoves us to stick rigidly to all the laws and best practices that have been set out. It’s a simple message but once that must be repeated and listened to.
Do you think support for all fieldsports is necessary for a member of BASC council?
Absolutely not. As the people in charge of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, council members should be able to think for themselves, and as fieldsports are so diverse I don’t think differences of opinion and debates are unhealthy. What should be a fundamental criterion, however, is the belief that everyone has the right to engage in the fieldsports they love – there should be no place on the council for snobbery or partisan behaviour.
How would you encourage new people into the sport and new members to join BASC?
In my experience encouraging new people into the sport is easy: it’s just a matter of showing them not only how fun it can be, but how relevant it is to our heritage, how much it contributes to our countryside and how welcoming our community is.
As for joining BASC, I’ll beat the old, but ever-relevant drum: it’s a matter of engagement, relevance and education. If BASC get these areas right there will be no need to ‘convince’ anyone of the benefits of membership. Being a BASC member will be the default position for all Guns.
What’s your idea of a perfect shooting/sporting day?
As I don’t need a gun in my hand to enjoy a shooting day, it varies wildly, but will always be preceded by a good breakfast! I do, however, enjoy small bag driven days with close friends and people I’ve shot with for years. From the first barrage of insults when I get on the shoot bus, to the last drink of the evening, I savour every moment and reminisce about them for the rest of the year.
What’s your favourite game dish?
As I eat everything edible that I shoot, and (as the paunch probably shows) I love food, it’s a bit tough to pick a favourite. One of my most memorable, however, was a game pie that I cooked for the local hunt which contained 19 different types of meat.
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.