The former first class cricketer is a passionate game shot and fisherman. Here he shares what he enjoys most about shooting and fishing, what changes he'd make at the RSPB and why the You Forgot the Birds campaign still has much work to do

Sir Ian Botham

Do you have anything left on your shooting bucket list?

I’ve been very fortunate to have done a lot 
of different types of shooting and have pretty much done everything I wanted to do. For me it’s more about who I’m shooting with rather than where I go to do it. Having said that I quite fancy going to Argentina at some point.

How often do you shoot with your son Liam at his shoot at Sawley Hall, North Yorkshire? Do you help him with the shoot?

I don’t have time to help him run the shoot but I do shoot there a lot, and we also go out on other shoots with friends, up to the Borders for example for a couple of days. Liam runs a very good ship at Sawley and is now expanding in the shooting world; I’m very proud of him.

debate driven grouse shooting

What was your reaction when the parliamentary debate on driven grouse shooting saw the call for a ban rejected?

The grounds for the attack on grouse shooting from the likes of Chris Packham were totally unfounded. In last year’s debate in parliament MPs voted overwhelmingly against these activists and with good reason. Grouse shooting is an important part of the economy, as are other types of shooting and the industry of shooting, along with all the spin-offs: rural employment, hotels, and of course the conservation benefits that come with a well managed grouse moor.

Many people seem to think moors and all that happens on them would still exist if gamekeepers and shoots didn’t look after them. Wake up. If you want to see what happens to a moor that’s not managed have a look at a couple of the RSPB ones because they’re dead. Moors need looking after and the people responsible are doing a great job. It’s the same with rivers; they don’t clean themselves out so that migratory fish can travel. You don’t have to interfere with moors and rivers but I do think we need to give them a helping hand.

  1. 1. How and when did you get into shooting?
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  3. 3. What dog do you have?
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  5. 5. If you ran the RSPB what changes would you make to the organisation?
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  7. 7. What is your favourite game to eat and how do you like it cooked?
  8. 8. You enjoy fishing too; tell us a bit about what you have done.
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