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The Hunters Chronicles - Friday 23rd November 2012

Much time has passed since I last ventured out to the fields with the air rifle, though I have not been left wanting for meat and game. Most fortuitously, my quarry has come to me!
I have not executed all trespassers. Only when the 'hunger' has stricken, have at least three wayward Pheasants who survived the beaters and the lines of guns, fallen to the TX200.

The wonderful Pheasant with its superb camouflaged plumage.
Each feather is collected and stored. Can a pattern be created mimicking that which concealed its former owner so effectively?
Just one pellet is required.
On one rare clear and sunny Saturday, I observed numerous vehicles turn into the driveway of a neighbouring farm. When the gamekeepers 4x4 arrived, up pricked my Predator Radar. With my 16 month old in my arms, I wandered up to the lay-by that overlooks the game crop and farmland where the beaters were flushing out the birds. Baba and I watched as each squadron took off to be greeted by a salute and salvo from the waiting guns. I chastised myself for willing each pilot the best of luck in dodging the gauntlet of lead and death that awaited them. I felt almost as though I were sabotaging the efforts of another hunter.

The naive me stood awestruck at the spectacle that lay before me. The synchronicity and co-operation of the humans working together to effectively and efficiently slay large numbers of food. On this level it was a wonderful sight. A beautiful setting, a fitting last scene for those who were about to die this day. I envisioned the glut of birds, the tables laid with the cooked and prepared meat. The larders to be stocked with hanging poultry. The game dealers soon to be re-supplied. The sights and sounds I was seeing and hearing that have come to epitomise country life and living.

The realist however couldn't help but feel a tinge of sadness, as each of the guns boomed. Now the guns were not a salute as each soul passed from this world. It was the bark of mans collective greed and insanity. The reputed waste generated by these shoots. The numbers of feathered bodies that allegedly are cast into a pit. The profit. The money paid and spent. I cannot, without indulging in a level of hypocrisy, judge the participants for engaging in their chosen 'sport', for I too on a similar level, find release and enjoyment in a similar practice. Though to my morals my choice of sport is rather more....sporting.

When I had seen enough and the beaters moved on, I retired to my little patch of woodland. I found solace in knowing that all who had caught, and would catch, lead from my barrel would not risk dishonour, would not suffer such disrespect as reportedly is wrought upon their brethen by those with reportedly more money than honour. Is this an insight I muse? Is there perhaps a correlation between the increase of wealth and the decrease of decency and honour?
No. The animal known as the Human and Homo Sapien is very sick. The relatively recent though seemingly endless, all consuming pursuit of currency, the lasting, profound fulfilment such wealth falsely promises appears to be just one of the many causes and symptoms of his malady.

I have to stress I did not see any evidence to support the notion of waste etc as mentioned previously. Even if I had I am a firm believer in "each to their own". I also recognise that what others do and how they go about it is of little concern to me. Either way the result is;


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