February Newsletter

February Newsletter


I am delighted that this month’s missive is brought to you by one of our Board members Dylan Williams. He outlines possible changes on the horizon,  how they could affect shoots and a call for a collective unified approach to supporting Back British Game.


February 2024


The consensus seems to be that the 2023/4 season was a successful one for most shoots – no major dramas, very limited Avian influenza, and as many shoots did not manage to sell 100% of their planned diary of days,  teams were able to have great shoot days, with keepers having slightly less pressure, right up to the end January.


So now we look forward to next season, during which time we will have a General Election, and some say a guaranteed change of Administration. Recent polls indicate it will not be so much an election of the “Red Wall “ but of the “Rural Wall” in which Labour intimates up to 60 Conservative rural seats may fall to other parties.


Only this week Steve Reed the Shadow Environment Secretary for Labour stated “Labour supports the rights for shooting as long as it is done within the law. Why wouldn’t we?“ However, in the very same article, he goes on to say “People have seen images of packs of hounds getting into private back gardens, killing cats, ripping flocks apart. There is not a majority in part of the country that wants to see that continue”. And he goes on to say Labour will ban hunting entirely.


So, we have the rationale for banning hunting based on images.


I have been fortunate to have been shooting since a boy (a very long time ago) and my working life has been entirely in the world of conservation, farming and shooting. Being a garrulous Welshman which,  many will attest to! I believe I can argue most criticism against shooting  - when shoots are run in a manner that demonstrates best practice at all levels,  and increasingly can prove a positive effect on biodiversity. 


However, as I am sure many readers will agree, the mere talk of birds not entering the food chain, or being used as protein alternatives, makes me the loser in any argument.


One can imagine how the conversation will go when actual  images of birds disposed of by unethical and indeed illegal methods are shown– this will render me admit defeat in any argument and more importantly, will provide Steve Reed, OBE Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA with exactly “the images” with which  Labour  needs to demonstrate that shooting is  “not been done within the law”.


As a community, I still believe that shooting, which provides employment, enjoyment and multiple other benefits, firstly and foremost produces a harvest of game for the table. 


However, failure to succeed in achieving markets and outlets for all shot game,  Fur and Feather - I believe will be the single biggest factor that will adversely affect shooting as we know it today when viewed  - and decided upon  -by the general public 


Since 2018, many guns, supportive individuals and shoots have been incredibly generous to Eat Wild (formerly BGA)  as they hold the same views as above.


By contributing just 50p a bird they have helped secure new dishes for retailers and food outlets, market and educate those outside our community of the benefits of eating nutritious sustainable healthy meat – only last month the successes of 32 School nurseries enjoying game was widely publicised, and has seen some retailers of game enjoy a 20%  increase in demand from those buying  game online in the last month alone


Eat Wild’s Chief Executive, Louisa, supported by the renowned Chef, Leon Challis Davies do an amazing job promoting game both in the media and directly to major caterers and retailers on behalf of the entire shooting community.


We pay a Levy every time we turn on the lights, or book a flight … surely this is the year that everyone that shoots – from larger driven days to the smallest of syndicate days embrace the Back British Game campaign that funds Eat Wild, it’s a donation of 50p a bird – with the average bag size in the UK being 119 birds (Guns on Pegs and Lycetts Game Shooting Census 2023) it represents a contribution of £7.50 per gun. Surely it is good value to ensure that we will never provide Labour with the “images” they need to restrict our sport. 


Kind regards,



Dylan Williams

Eat Wild Board Member

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