A sword
A Sword

The sword and the shield of shooting

Following this year’s Annual General Meeting, BASC Chairman Eoghan Cameron pays tribute to might of the association and its members.

As the sun shone on Saturday morning, we welcomed those who had travelled to BASC’s headquarters near Wrexham for the AGM. Two new members of BASC Council were elected at this year’s AGM and I extend a warm welcome to both Paul Mayfield and John Furbisher.

Before I move on, if you haven’t already, I would urge all reading this to have a flick through our newly published 2022 Annual Review, which is available in hard copy but also on the BASC website.

The review sets out concisely the association’s many major actions and achievements over the past year. It encapsulates what BASC stands for and why BASC continues to be the sword and shield of shooting in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The demonstration of BASC’s power and reach in these pages should serve as a warning to those who’d ban or severely restrict shooting. But it might also serve as a cautionary tale for our own community. If, instead of action and results, the document contained nothing more than indignant commentary, empty fighting talk, offers of bargain basement membership and insurance, imagine what would be at stake.

I make no apology for saying that the future of shooting continues to depend largely on BASC’s might – no one comes close. But none of this is possible without strength in numbers – our members, you.

Make no mistake that BASC is strong, but we can be stronger. There is no prize for second place in this fight. So I would ask you to join me in encouraging the many thousands of non-members out there to find a home with the Best in the Field. Because backing BASC is backing shooting, and backing a proven winner.

Fighting back

Many of you will by now be familiar with BASC’s Act Now and That’s What BASC Stands For campaigns.

Act Now was born out of the need to mobilise our entire community to respond to two equally dangerous consultations: the Welsh Government’s consultation on gamebird release and the Scottish Government’s ‘call for views’ on its Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill.

BASC wasted no time in spelling out the far-reaching consequences for all shooting of these self-defeating, ideologically motivated exercises. They have acted as a rallying call for all who care about shooting and to date, the volume of responses has been incredibly encouraging.

But Act Now doesn’t end here; we will continue to see hostile consultations in future that deserve and demand thousands of responses from our community in reply. In each case, BASC will lead from the front.

That's What BASC Stands For

I also mentioned the That’s What BASC Stands For campaign. Act Now is a paragon of what that is, but it is really far broader and will mean subtly different things to different people.

Let’s put to one side for a moment the huge range of direct member benefits, millions of pounds worth of discounts and first resort insurance exclusively available through BASC.

BASC is home to by far the largest group of subject matter experts in our field. We are the only organisation to genuinely offer interdisciplinary support and expertise on a national and local basis; from firearms to gamekeeping, conservation and training, from head office to our regional and country teams.

Our political lobbying capabilities are without equal. BASC is the only organisation with a Fighting Fund in its armoury. All our teams are passionate about ensuring a bright future for sustainable shooting and the enormous practical conservation efforts underpinned by it.

Thanks to our members, BASC can continue to invest in conservation projects, fight legal battles and deploy the best expertise to develop and deliver the long-term strategy for sustainable shooting in the UK.

Put simply, the future of shooting depends on having something to shoot with, something to shoot at and somewhere to go shooting. BASC is, and with your continued support, will remain the only organisation capable of safeguarding all three of these central components. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we stand for.