Sunday, January 30, 2011

A sailor, not a hunter

Yesterday I went on a shoot.

I had my doubts and reservations, but decided to give it a try to support friends and family that had organised the event. While I admire the ethical position of vegetarianism I continue to eat meat, an act which inevitably involves the death of animals. So would it be inconsistent not to be prepared to do the key task myself?

In the end my aim was so poor that I have no pheasant's life on my conscience.

It was interesting to see who else was there and why. The main group were locals taking the opportunity of this, the last weekend of the shooting season, to enjoy a traditional countryside activity as a community event. They typically wore checked shirts and ties and were all ages down to boys the height of their guns but already dead-shots and quietly polite.

Then there were the experts who choose this activity, those who'd go off to Africa to hunt large animals, who had the gear and practice to know what to do, who'd ended the day with a decent tally.

There was much advice from both groups as to how to improve, such as to spend time clay pigeon shooting, for like all skill based occupations the way to improve is practice, practice, practice.

But I don't want to get any better: it is not a skill I want.

I am a sailor, not a hunter.


Bursledon Blogger said...

I feel the same way about fishing from the boat, catching fresh fish would be great, but as we're so inept the local fish stocks must be booming and we don't try any more.

JP said...

Funnily enough I don't mind fishing - if its to eat myself.

Baydog said...

I like fishing when I at least catch something, which is rare. Hunting is not my bag, although I'll gladly take game off someone's hands if offered. As long as it's all consumed I think it's okay. What I definitely don't like are game farms where there's no escape. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

In the end, I'm a failure as a fisherman and just a plain old sailor.

arnold the cockroach said...

i hang out down at the river sometimes and have a few friends who are fish

frankly most of them do not have a lot of good things to say about humans

i guess if someone thinks of you mainly as food it can cause some awkward moments

but there seem to be a lot fewer fish with these attitudes today so maybe the humans are winning them over

i don t know any pheasants but they seem pleasant enough

my first thought would not be to shoot one


Anonymous said...

I grew up when hunting was a common practice and many families still put meat on the family table. My father was the local doctor and often received moose in payment for services.

Sadly these skills are declining as urban prejudices increasingly limit opportunities.

I applaud your open mindedness. You may be part of a new trend of urban foodies out for fresh tucker.

You may find the following radio documentary interesting.

JP said...

There are a number of good arguments in favour of pheasant shooting.

It brings much needed income to poor rural communities and hence also for woodland that otherwise would be cut down for agricultural use.

Pheasants are truly free range and the shoots help preserve England's ancient woodlands.

Baydog said...

And you know what? Pheasant is delicious, but don't cook it too long 'cause it's very lean. No fat in there. Roast the bones and make a broth with them to bathe the meat in. Yum. Fond de Gibier. Make sure to utilize the liver and gizzards. Cook and chop them up and throw them into the broth. Leave nothing behind.

WV: holdbac. DON'T holdbac on flavor, JP!

JP said...

I had a roast pheasant over xmas and did make rather good soup too.

Next I want to try making pheasant casserole but it might be the season's end will put that on hold for a bit.

Turinas said...

I am late to this comment thread and quite relieved. I read the article a little too quickly and thought you were all talking about shooting peasants.