BASC Chairman Eoghan Cameron reflects on a year full of challenges matched with success, and encourages all of shooting’s people to give something back during the new year…
For many, 2021 was a year of mixed fortunes and getting things back on track. At BASC, we can reflect on a great deal of hard work and many challenges – but also significant successes and conspicuous unity with our partner organisations.
The opportunity to remind ourselves of all that we fight for has been something of a blessing in disguise. Since spring, days in the field with gun or rifle have been largely unhindered by restrictions.
And so, with renewed vigour, we have returned to the sanctuary of our cherished landscapes and rediscovered all that makes our way of life so very precious. Knowing that our members have been able to do so is an enormous source of motivation to the BASC staff, who have worked tirelessly over the past year to address a truly awesome array of issues.
We have beaten off legal challenges to areas from prescribed burning on moorland, to general licences and gamebird release near protected sites.
Our wealth of expertise and dedicated Fighting Fund continue to give responsible countryside management a powerful voice.
We have contributed to numerous consultations, informing ministers and civil servants on firearms licensing, pet theft, gamekeeper abuse, airgun proposals – the list goes on.
New visions for pivotal areas such as deer management have been developed, and we have funded ground-breaking conservation projects, research and educational initiatives.
In parallel, work continues on issues such as the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, wildfowling consents, the transition to sustainable ammunition, and the health of the game meat market.
It has been a particularly demanding year, but this is the tough environment in which your association comes into its own. It has been immensely encouraging to see BASC’s country and regional teams return to hosting a full roster of courses and events across the country. From pop-up advice stands, shoot briefings and sustainable ammunition days, to game dinners, Young Shots experiences and police training days – we are out on the ground again.
You will notice the ‘S’ word cropping up regularly throughout our communications to members and the wider public. For that, I make no apology. Sustainability must sit at the heart of everything we do as a community – there are no exceptions.
And you can rest assured that it will always be central to the often difficult, strategic decisions we must make for the long-term prosperity of shooting and all that goes with it.
As ever, BASC will continue to represent and fight for sustainable shooting relentlessly in 2022, both at national and regional level. Membership of this great association is a vital and obvious first step sportsmen and women can take towards ensuring success in this realm.
Of course, a great many in our community also go to enormous personal lengths to defend, promote and improve understanding of fieldsports on a more local basis.
In truth, though, we all know that most of us could do more. I would therefore urge all members of our community to put something back into shooting in the new year. Get active, engage with the issues and contemplate what you can do personally to help safeguard sustainable shooting, not just for the next three seasons, but for the next three decades.
From all at BASC, I wish you a happy, healthy and sporting 2022.