Country Pursuit Organisations
Those of us who love and respect the countryside want it protected and preserved for future generations. The rural community sometimes feel isolated by the larger more urban issues of the day. It often seems that the countryside community are the ‘unheard, uncared voice’ of reason amongst today’s news stories. However, over the past few years the countryside has begun to not only find it's voice but actually make it heard alongside the almost daily reports of international war and famine.
Politicians realise (at last) that the days of 2 party politics are over. Brexit aside, environmental issues are now being taken seriously. The welfare of animals, tighter food provenance and a host of other regulations most of which are welcomed, but not all, has increased pressure on rural businesses. This has also impacted farmers and the wider rural community. The majority of people who take part in country pursuits seldom live in cities; they understand and see the effect of these often-bureaucratic regulations being implemented.
Country pursuit enthusiasts need farmland, moorland, rough ground and woodland, which we value and protect, not neglect. Farmers are generally supportive of syndicate and rough shooters as they know they understand what they can and what they cannot do. Shooting Estates that run driven days are, by and large, extremely well managed and have seen the benefits in land management programmes that increases biodiversity.
However, it is well known that our pastimes are under threat, but to combat that there are a number of organisations that support the country pursuit community. The majority lobby our politicians in London on country pursuit issues, in an effort to keep the countryside on the agenda. Most of them also offer gun and dog liability insurance as well attractive discounts on anything ranging from 4 x 4’s to BBQ’s!
If you hold a shotgun or firearms license, work a dog, or simply want to help protect our way of life we at Fayre Game Pursuits strongly recommended that you join one of these organisations, if just for the insurance cover alone. It is up to the individual to read what they offer on their websites and choose which best reflects your beliefs, values and pocket!
One of the largest country pursuits representative organisations is the British Association Shooting & Conservation(BASC). It has somewhere in the region of 155,000 members and offers many benefits. It costs £80 per annum to join. BASC are good at lobbying partly due to its size and financial stability. The website is excellent, informative, split into regions advertising country pursuit events, courses etc.
The Game & Wildlife Trust is more aligned to scientific studies in an effort to educate people who are against country pursuits to understand the effect of good land management. It has several thousand members who pay approx. £69 per annum depending on type of membership. Again, a very good informative web site.
The Countryside Alliance advertises itself as ‘Giving Rural Britain a Voice’. They have over 100,000 members. Who can forget the marches they organised in 2002 that brought country folk out in hundreds of thousands and brought London to a halt. Membership costs £75 per annum.
Shooting and Country Sports is a Scottish based organisation that focuses on all types of country pursuits ranging from fishing to ferreting and all other shooting activities. This is open to all UK country sports enthusiasts although it is focused on Scotland and Northern Ireland. Annual membership costs £43.
The National Gamekeepers organisation (NGO) was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that their profession was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. The NGO help to educate and inform the public as well as working to ensure legislation is fair and workable. The NGO has over 13,000 gamekeeper and supporter members. Anyone interested in joining the NGO should follow the link and contact them directly.
The British Game Alliance (BGA) focus on game food. They are a not-for-profit organisation, who work to promote the value of all feathered game to the public whilst exploring new markets at home and overseas. They have made big steps in heightening awareness of game meat. Their excellent web site will make you hungry!
There are several other countryside focused organisations out there, some target landowners, others want to ensure game producers are adhering to best practice when rearing game birds, whilst others are focusing a range of other issues. It will of course, depend what it is you want out of an organisation that will ultimately be the deciding factor.