Saturday, 19 November 2011

Unpheasant Pluckers

This Lorry leads a convoy of about a dozen 4x4's through the village several times a week. Always weekdays and always packed with plastic crates and gun cases.

A military exercise at the Stamford Training Area? A crack platoon of elite soldiers off to do battle around the replica Afghan village which is built there?


The truck is packed with a forelock of stick wielding pensioners in olive drab and camouflage fatigues whilst the 4x4's contain a motley selection of estate agents, solicitors, Company Directors and saloon bar sleazeballs armed with shotguns, neatly pressed green ties, Barbour jackets and silver hip flasks.

They are on their way to a grain feeding station near the wood where the "beaters" from the truck will walk slowly across the field to disturb pheasants for the "arses" to blast with their wide angle shotguns. These pheasants have been reared and overfed specifically for the purpose of being slow enough for the dimmest hooray Henry to hit.

At lunch time the convoy repairs to the pub where the "beaters" sit huddled in the bar whilst the "arses" sit in the restaurant area getting louder and louder and toe-curlingly embarrassing.

I check my watch. Yes, it is the 21st Century. Where are the robots and flying cars?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a rabid left wing Dave Spart. I've got nothing against farmers shooting rabbits. I'm not one of those townies who moves to the Country and turns into a hunt saboteur. After all, even Hunts never bred foxes specifically for their "sport" nor overfed them to make them easier to catch.

No, this little pantomime of the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible is actually indefensible on every level. How can we morally justify breeding creatures to frighten and kill for sport? Why are we allowing a collection of extreme right wing thickos to carry lethal arms in public and keep them at home? Why are we perpetrating the feudal system?

If anyone would care to join me in a heroic convoy ambush mission, armed merely with catapults and moral indignation, just let me know.


Anonymous said...

Well, the commute's a bit much for me, but I agree that it's hardly "sport" with such uneven odds.

Martin said...

I'm with you, Rog. There's lots of this activity, hereabouts, just now.

Many moons ago, I worked for a brewery. The company chairman was attending a 'shoot' and I had to deliver the booze. I remember wheeling a stack of wines and spirits through a mucky stable-yard, to the back-door of the 'big' house. The lady of house invited me to wheel the goods across an immaculate kitchen floor, across luxurious deep-pile carpet, to the cellar door. When I explained there was horse sh*t and mud all over my wheels, she said, "Don't worry, I have a woman who cleans."

Scarlet Blue said...

They may as well catapult chickens into the air and take pot-shots at them, for all the skill that's involved, and imagine the outcry if they did?!

Steerforth said...

I'll join you if I can dress up as a giant pheasant.

Roses said...

When I lived in North Norfolk, near a large estate, a retired game keeper admited that they regularly killed song birds, birds of prey and hedgehogs because of the threat to pheasants.

I enquired when the gamekeepers were going to start shooting cars, because more of the stupid birds are killed by cars that those creatures.

He gave me a funny look and changed the subject.

You be careful out there in your car Rog.

Macy said...

Duh.. and there was me thinking England exported all her numpties up north come August....I've obviously underestimated the number of numpties you have.

There is nothing, but nothing this country loves better than a spot of feudalism and hat doffing.
Chicken tossing a la Scarls?? That would be OK as long as it was a toffs thing.

Rog said...

Dyna: Use your air miles. And bring your hunting boomer!

Martin: You do wonder which planet some people live on sometimes.

Scarlet: I'd like to fire frozen chickens at them.

Steerforth: It would be a terrific revenge movie - I may pitch it.

Roses: North Norfolk is the epicentre of chinlessness and feudal tradition in my experience.

Macy: Giblets. Tossers.

Tim Footman said...

Have you read Danny, the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl? Pheasants love raisins...

Rog said...

Tim: It's my currant pre-occupation

Z said...

Well, although the Sage is an expert shot, he doesn't like killing anything so never goes shooting, even when invited. However, I think that rearing pheasants is a lot better than factory farming. I'm not vegetarian, not against rearing animals for food, I eat pheasant, although I buy it at the butcher. Surely it's only the chicks that are fed, though? - the adults forage naturally. That the edges of fields are left unploughed helps them to find food and cover, but is also good ecologically.

I'm not disagreeing with the principle of a lot you've said, though I think it's way more complex than that.

Rog said...

Z: We might call upon the Sage to take out the tyres on the leading lorry with his rifle.

What really gets me is the need to all meet up and drive around in convoy behind an ex-army vehicle like they are some sort of crack unit. I'm sure most of them would prefer to be shooting peasants.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Rog. I don't shoot these days; haven't for some years. But when I did anything I shot we ate. I think that only a vegetarian could fault that. Over last winter we were given four or five brace of pheasant by friends who still shoot (or in one case beat); and very nice they were, too. I don't really understand the economics of game shooting. Someone told me that to raise and shoot pheasants on a large estate costs the 'sportsman' around £30 a bird !!! But any decent high street game dealer will sell pheasants at around £6 or £7 a brace (probably a bit more this year - everything has gone up). So someone is paying heavily for their sport. I agree with Z that pheasants live a better and far more natural life than almost any chicken you can buy on the High Street. Make what sense of it you can. I admit though that I'd feel slightly happier about it if they were shooting for the pot instead of for sport.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. Should have said - the shoots usually pay the beaters in birds.

Pat said...

I'd be with you in a flash Rog but the elastic's gone in my catapult.

Rog said...

Mike & Ann: I imagine you went shooting with a 16th Century Blunderbuss and a couple of flintlocks stuffed in your belt.

Pat: You could change your name to Lucy?

Tim said...

My nposition is very simple - barbaric! And shooting pheasants isn't very nice either.

Nota Bene said...

I'm with you...just let me know when and where!

Rog said...

Tim - you bring the wheelie bin. Nota - we need you outriding on a Ducati.

Anonymous said...

I think we still have the catapault that was confiscated from Eldest about fifteen years ago.
On the other hand, I fear I might be as dangerous wielding it as your average boozed-up Hooray with his shotgun.

Anonymous said...


Spot of ignorance (ie lack of knowledge) going on here I think Rog.

Facts carry more weight than speculation and here-say fuelled emotion!

All is not perfect but facts me boy, facts!