Its sad to think that often is the case that a group of people engaged in an activity not seen as mainstream are pilloried for their passion, regardless of the truth that lays behind their endeavours. Furthermore, more often than not, the real truth of what a group may undertake is nothing like that which the naysayers may believe, or indeed have other believe! This is very true of our not so small band of merry fieldsports practitioners. We know that at the heart of our passion for the wild is a deep respect for all things inhabiting our wonderful natural surroundings. From insects to flowers, to the weather and the animals that live for the moment, with no understanding of the actual cycle of life. We, who love the countryside, and have a deep-seated respect for their existence and the environment in which they live. It’s a pity that so many of those who criticise our activities do so out of ignorance. But where does this ignorance come from? Unfortunately, today's world seems obsessed in removing people from the reality of life. To me its importance that we fully understand that all life ends in death. Death, or dying, not passing. Shielding people from the reality of hardship and death has no value. That’s not to say that we should force people to see the horrors of some aspects of hardship and brutality but we owe it to our children to ensure they know the difference between reality and theatre fiction. The thin plastic façade of Hollywood, and many of it's stars try hard to make violence look real for the film whilst ensuring the viewer understands it is make believe. People are duped into thinking that the fake scenes on the big screen are so fake that they could never happen in real life. Its even got to the point where real war, broadcast into our living rooms, in the form of ‘news’ or a documentary is now acceptable as some people do not believe that what they see on a TV screen is actually real or something they will ever have to encounter throughout their lifetime.
COVID 19 has changed this perception a little however. Death and dying is a real once again, yet many people are still in denial. We see examples of ‘covidiots’ protesting on all our social media platforms. I would include the news reporters as a platform but unfortunately a good many of the people from this latter grouping fall into the category of the former. I’m not sure when so many morning TV programs became ‘essential’ to the country’s daily life and existence. Indeed how can a group of reporters camped outside a hospital in close proximity to each other be exempt from infection, but they obviously must be.
To be clear, this isn’t supposed to be a rant. I’m simply setting the scene for an opportunity that has presented itself to the fieldsports community. It is one that many have already taken up but the rest of us need to now pick up the baton and carry it further. I’m certainly not advocating exploiting the bad of the pandemic for our gain, as depicted by some in the vegan activist community with their claim that meat from dead animals (not sure where else it comes from) is the cause of the virus. No, my point is based on the great work conducted by many individuals, organisations and businesses during the pandemic who have brought wild game to the doors of the needy. We’ve seen examples of it in Devon with Clinton Devon Estates taking venison to their customers, Glorious Game offering free meals to frontline workers (as well as making laundry bags for scrubs on the side, Wild and Game (https://www.wildandgame.co.uk)partnering with Game Aid (http://gameaid.co.uk/) and the British Game Alliance (https://www.britishgamealliance.co.uk/to feed the NHS heroes, Fortis Clothing (https://www.fortisclothing.co.uk/) making scrubs and face masks for the doctors and nurses who need all the help they can get. Let’s not also forget the Country Food Trust (https://www.thecountryfoodtrust.org/) who are trying to provide an additional 250,000 meals to those in difficulty during these challenging times. There are many more individuals, organisations and companies doing equally good deeds and all are to be commended. What is important however, is that we, as a cohesive group, continue with the momentum of promoting game food for the population, post coronavirus. We can do this in many ways. None are likely to have the same scale of impact as those mentioned above. However, as the old nursery story says it’s the tortoise that wins the race, so little but often and continuous is the order of the day. Options are wide and varied, from giving game to friends, family and colleagues after a shoot or a stalk, to promoting your local butcher and farm shops by buying local, ethically sourced, sustainable produce instead of cheap supermarket foods whose provenance is at best partly false and at worst completely unknown.
So, come on. Let’s seize the day!