What does Boxing Day mean to you?

Everyone has their own Boxing Day traditions and the shooting community is no different, as BASC regional officer Murray Woodward reveals. 

For some people, it means cold turkey and stuffing sandwiches, dog walks with family members, watching a game of football or a wonderfully tacky Christmas film on the TV, or perhaps even going for a swim in the ice-cold sea to work off all those mince pies. Good luck and well done I say, but you won’t see me there.

To me, Boxing Day means the traditional Boxing Day shoot. On 26 December, up and down the country, the shooting community will be getting together. A chance to enjoy the fresh air, a stretching of legs for us and our canine companions, and an opportunity for friends and family to mingle and try out those new shooting-related Christmas presents.

When I was a young lad growing up in rural Staffordshire, it was tradition in our household to go rabbiting on Boxing Day morning. My dad, brother and I would spend several freezing hours with a gaggle of enthusiastic ferrets to bolt rabbits from their warrens, before returning home to sit in front of a warming fire with a hearty bowl of Mum’s rabbit and leek stew.

When I was a teenager, I started beating on a local pheasant shoot and became absorbed in the world of live quarry shooting.

Since then, my Boxing Day has consisted of going out with family and friends, and my dog, to see if we can bag a few pheasants for dinner on New Year’s Day.

This Boxing Day, I’ll be on a small shoot in the Peak District with my family and a friendly bunch of folks representing a cross-section of society. 

Many different types of shoots will be taking place on the same day, from the small DIY farm shoot through to the full formal driven days. What they all have in common is a chance to be a part of nature, a sense of cheerful camaraderie among people from all walks of life, and an opportunity to put some game meat on the festive table. 

I wholeheartedly encourage you to incorporate game meat into your Christmas holiday menu for a delicious, locally sourced and healthy meal, and whatever your Boxing Day looks like, I wish you and yours a wonderful festive time and all the best for 2023.