BASC chairman Eoghan Cameron celebrates the start of the pheasant season with a renewed sense of energy…
While no two shooting seasons will ever be alike, this season really will stand out from the rest.
After eighteen months of Covid restrictions, missed opportunities and social constraints, a sense of normality and excitement has returned.
For many of us, the arrival of the pheasant season means we are once again ready to step out into the great British countryside and rediscover our passion for fieldsports alongside friends and family.
Not just about the shooting
Now, more than ever, it’s not just about the shooting. Most of us will have been vaccinated and will be able to socialise, not just in the open air, but in gun buses, beater wagons, huts and lodges up and down the country.
Mask-free shoot day banter and enjoying a sit-down meal with our companions are things we have all missed and have been looking forward to greatly.
A recent scientific paper, published this summer in the journal Ageing & Society, has confirmed that participants in shooting and shooting-related activities, such as beating and picking up, enjoy significantly better mental wellbeing than the national average.
Factors that scored highly included reduced loneliness, a strong sense of identity and purpose, social support networks, physical exercise, spending time in the natural environment, as well as maintaining enduring ties with rural and cultural heritage.
The findings were linked to age, with older generations deriving the greatest benefit from the physical and social side of shooting.
The authors also concluded that shooting produces wider benefits to society, with those in better physical and mental health being less likely to place strain on public health services.
Of course, those involved with shooting were already instinctively aware of these factors – we return to the field time and time again because of them.
But having this confirmed within a peer-reviewed journal further enhances the body of evidence BASC can deploy at policymaking level to protect shooting.
The success of this year’s Game Fair at Ragley Hall and other shows across the country demonstrated that the pandemic has not dented our enthusiasm for shooting and country pursuits.
So, let’s take advantage of our freedom and get back out into the field with renewed confidence and energy. BASC will be with you every step of the way.