Most of the hunting news out of the UK these days tends to be of the bad variety. Our British brethren constantly have to fight tooth-and-nail to hold on to what little hunting opportunity and tradition they have left. But every now and then there’s a glimmer of hope, and like the burgeoning locavore movement in this country, this one comes courtesy of Britain’s slow-food movement.
From this (shockingly positive) story in the Independent:
“…So are we ready to go wild? There are signs that we are. According to the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC), sales of game doubled between 2004 and 2006, compared to a 5 per cent rise in sales of red meat and poultry. To prove his point Robert is taking me out to shoot my own dinner in the wet scrubland behind his Suffolk farm. As we forge through the undergrowth, I understand what Robert means when he talks about wild meat’s varied natural diet. Berries and fruits adorn the trees, and an impressive range of grasses, grains and insects are visible under foot. “It’s these foods that give them their wonderful ‘gamey’ flavour and high mineral content,” says Robert. “Like us, they are what they eat. The stronger the food they eat, the more flavoursome their meat.”
_”…A brightly coloured pheasant lifts off from the undergrowth in front of us. As it soars into the air, Robert takes a shot, and it plummets, lead-like to the ground. I feel mixed emotions. On a purely physical level, there’s the satisfaction of having foraged our own dinner ˆ much like the joy of digging up potatoes you’ve grown yourself. Psychologically, there’s unease at taking the life of such a beautiful bird, but at the same time, the feeling that if I eat meat I have to witness this. Robert, who was reared on a farm, feels none of my qualms. He admits he enjoys the shooting that, he says, connects him to the instinctive hunter in him. “But I shoot to eat, not as target practice, or to show off.”