Terry Behan
Terry Behan

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Gareth Dockerty discusses the work of BASC’s regional and country teams, and what difference they make to the members they represent.

Working with BASC’s regional and country teams is sometimes a bit like the famous Monty Python sketch, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?‘.

Picture the scene… a BASC member greets one of our team at a game fair, meeting or event and asks them, “What have you and your colleagues ever done for me?”

This question is not only common, but also essential, because it’s imperative that members know how BASC represent their interests.

The personal challenge is making sure that each time this question is asked, we answer with the level of passion and detail it warrants, regardless of the frequency or the time of day. Personally, I reckon I must have been asked this hundreds of times during my seven years at BASC.

As we gear up for our busiest part of the year in terms of events and engagements, it is worth considering how the question is answered on weekdays, evenings, and weekends across the UK by BASC staff.

Answering the question

The answer I give to the question of what BASC delivers to its members has evolved over time. I do my best to understand what their shooting passions or concerns are, and then aim that they leave reassured that we have these aspects covered, as well as the bigger picture when it comes to the future of shooting. 

If you like your game shooting.

BASC provides free shoot briefings to our members, offering bespoke guidance and advice on a variety of subjects that are important to you. Our regional and country teams have undertaken more 1,000 briefings to date, so you may want to find out what you are missing out on.

Alternatively, it may be that your shoot was caught up in the Special Protection Area gamebird release debacle. We supported hundreds of shoots through this process, taking MPs out to see the impact the government decision was having, while BASC took legal action against the government to resolve the situation.

If you are concerned about the next generation of shooters.

Education and outreach is important to us, much of which is delivered through our BASC to School project. To give you a sense of the scale of it, in 2023 we reached 45,141 children and young people across the UK, with nearly 12,000 of these being introduced to game as an exciting, ethical and healthy food source. 

We also encourage would-be shooters of all ages to come along to BASC events which provide opportunities for people to try their hand at a range of disciplines. 

At bigger shows and game fairs, we also point people in the direction of our clay line, fully loaded with an enthusiastic gang of skilled BASC coaches ready to help people break that first clay in a safe and enjoyable lesson. In just three days at the Game Fair last year, we delivered 470 shotgun lessons and 461 airgun experiences. 

rifle shooting

Perhaps deer are your passion.

BASC runs deer management events by the catchy name of ‘Talking Stalking’ all over the country, allowing us to provide advice and answer questions face-to-face. 

From an educational perspective, we are the largest provider of deer management training in the sector. And if you’re looking for shooting, we also run three stalking schemes, which provide an accessible route into stalking.

You would like to know how we represent you and influence policy makers.

We have worked on countless consultations and campaigns to date, all with the aim of influencing policy and change. These include last year’s Act Now movement concerning gamebird release in Wales, or our current Police Crime Commissioner campaign. You may be interested to know that we engaged with more than 427 key stakeholders last year.

To add to the depth of expertise present within BASC, we have employed two legal experts within our Conservation team who are constantly working on your behalf. 

You may have concerns about firearms legislation.

BASC has a dedicated team of firearms specialists who have built up relationships with the local firearms police forces. We know how challenging backlogs and poor service can be, and our firearms team are here to help improved the service delivered to certificate holders. Last year we hosted 354 formal engagements with firearms licensing departments, as well as 183 engagements on police training events.

The firearms team are also a key resource for members questions, be it a technical query, or regarding firearms law and licensing.

You may believe the conservation message is not being heard.

Conservation and sustainable land management is weaved through all our work, from duck nest tube and bird box projects to large scale habitat improvement schemes funded by the BASC Wildlife Fund. Ultimately, we believe that shooters are the custodians of the countryside, and we continue to assist our members in delivering for conservation alongside their shooting, wherever that may be. 

Most importantly we are here to listen to our members and fight for sustainable shooting, so please continue to contact us and ask the question of what BASC and our people have done for you. 

We are proud of the work we undertake across the UK and always look forward to meeting you at shows or events. And we always want to do better, so we want to hear how we can improve.

For more information about BASC your area please visit our website here, or follow your local team via social media.