To mark the start of the pheasant shooting season, BASC chairman Eoghan Cameron has spoken of the benefits, versatility and fantastic flavours of game meat.

The pheasant season opens today (1st October) and with it will come the availability of an array of local, natural and sustainably-sourced game meat.

At the start of his first season as BASC chairman, Mr Cameron said he was very much looking forward to introducing people to the autumnal harvest.

“The start of the season is something to be celebrated,” he said.

“It is something we work towards and look forward to all year round. The culmination of conservation and education. With the start of the season comes a harvest of sustainably-sourced game meat which can be used to produce a delicious array of different dishes.

“Game meat will feature on tables across the country – in restaurants, pubs, people’s homes and picnics.

“It is sustainable, inexpensive, delicious and a healthy source of protein. We shoot game because we enjoy eating it. The sporting aspect is actually the enjoyable by-product – not the other way around.

“The social side of a shoot day is secondary but still second to none. The camaraderie and common ground enjoyed on a shoot day cannot, in my experience, be matched.

“As I said when I was elected chairman, where barriers exist, we must seek to remove them. Each of us has a part to play in creating pathways to shooting and to patiently educate those who may not understand it.

“Food is a great leveller and game meat is a good place to start. With more and more focus and emphasis on sustainably-sourced food, we are well ahead of the game – excuse the pun.

“We work year-round to encourage people to try game meat, which is healthy, highly nutritious and, above all, delicious. Low in fat and high in vitamins and minerals game meat is becoming the go to source of protein.”

Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and gundogs, said: “Like many others, the start of the pheasant season is a highlight of my year. Over the coming winter months we will be out enjoying the company of family and friends, working our dogs, shooting and harvesting game in a sporting and sustainable way.

“It is not just those who take part in shooting who benefit from our sport – rural economies and communities are widely supported at a time when other sources of income such as that from tourism are limited. Also there is a huge amount of work undertaken on shoots which benefits the wider environment and conservation of many species much broader than just game, which often goes unseen by the wider public.”

A BASC infographic highlighting the benefits of game shooting can be found here.

For a range of tasty recipes, click here.

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