Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Friday, 22 January 2016

I've been here before

My cyber buddy, Derek Faulkner, posted a comment on yesterday's offering with the general vibe being that "anti -hunting/shooting" folk are unaware of (although I think it is more a case of unwilling to accept?) the positive aspects that cultivated game habitat provides our other native wildlife. Very likely true, but not restricted to that single group within modern society.
There are millions of individuals, living in the UK, who have never been fox hunting, pheasant shooting or fishing, never wanted or needed to, yet have an opinion which is extremely negative, on all of these activities, purely because the influence our media providers are able to assert. Never been out on a cold winter morning and seen a "long dog" coursing a hare - but have a firm opinion that it's barbaric and cruel! A David Attenborough T/V program, viewed in the comfort of a warm living room, showing a Cheetah hunting a Thompson's Gazelle - bloody spectacular, nature in the raw!  I sometimes wonder how many of these same people are cat owners? -  "Oh, but it's part of nature!" So is, therefore, a Greyhound chasing hares! Domestic cats kill more native wildlife than cars!!!!! None of this stuff is natural - they're all man-made situations!

It all comes down to perception and personal opinion. I don't shoot, it's not something I wish to do as a hobby, although I would have no qualms about killing in order to feed my family. Luckily, Dewhurst's, and associated butchers, do this on my behalf and I'm able to remain comfortably ignorant of that part of the food chain process. I have, however, no gripe with those who do shoot for sport (?) - it's their conscience, they've got to live with it. Being a totally selfish, and conniving, soul I do try not to make enemies of  other groups who utilise the same countryside that I do. I attempt, for the most part, to live and let live. I try to engage with the majority of those who make an effort to converse and will go that extra mile to ensure that those landowners, whose ground I'm on, are fully aware of my gratitude for being allowed this privilege. So what if I'm a creep? I get to go places that the vast majority of birders and anglers will never be allowed - who's the loser now?

This type of notice is becoming increasingly familiar around our countryside.
Happily, it doesn't apply to me because I find no problem with the guys who are in control.
Instead of griping about how "unfair" it all is and finger pointing - accept the situation and get on
with living your own life - not trying to tell others how to live theirs!
When both my children were growing up I took them on a small syndicated Pheasant shoot, out in the Hertfordshire countryside, near Wheathamstead, purely to allow them to decide for themselves about the cruelty involved in "blood sports". I would like to think that they derived as much wisdom from that experience as any they were taught in school. They now both have opinions based upon knowledge, not hearsay and/or paper talk. They are able to see a bigger picture, understand the wider issues involved with country pursuits, without needing the "smoke and mirrors" of some political spin doctor to steer their thoughts.

If you're going to eat meat, hasn't this pheasant had a better life than the chicken that
provides the meat for a KFC?
The birding community are subjected to, and misled by, huge amounts of negative stuff posted by various "conservation" sources. Obviously, some of the stuff is very worrying and of concern to us all, some of the trivia that get dolled out is mind-numbing and belittles much of the good work done by this group of like-minded people. Anglers are no better - the "anti Otter" stuff is, quite simply, bollocks! Otters belong in all our river systems, they are native, indigenous, mammals who have suffered from decades of persecution and pollution. That they are now making a, man assisted, recovery is to be welcomed. Not by barbel anglers it ain't! These fish, as much as I enjoy catching them, are only native to five river systems in the UK, yet present in 82! We, as anglers, are now in much the same situation as the Pheasant shooters are with Common Buzzards. Alien v's Predator - a great title for a film? The crazy thing about both these scenarios is that our natural species are being viewed as the villains!

Me with "The Long Fish" - my PB barbel from The Kentish Stour.
They are not native to the river - I'd get a whole lot more pleasure seeing an Otter in Kent.
Happily, I can sit on the outside, looking in, because I play no active role in either of these pastimes, I just go out and please myself. I am an individual who has made choices which have gotten me to where I am now. An individual, to me a hugely important part of my being - I'm not easily bought or mislead. I see many situations where media hype and political spin have distorted facts to the point that any semblance of reality has been lost. Next time you see an E-petition, have a think about what, and why, you are supporting. Does the loss of a duck pond in Birmingham really impact on your own life - with all this modern technology, how many times can we cry "wolf" before the political goal posts are moved?


  1. Absolutely spot on Dylan and you raise many points that I have touched on in previous blogs of mine. You missed off the fact that cormorants are now being culled because of their increasing habit of fishing at such things as trout fisheries. Well it ain't their bloody fault, these money-making fisheries have sprung up all over the place in recent years and hungry cormorants see them as well stocked tables from which to eat from, what do people expect them to do.
    Westbere lakes have become very popular in recent years with Odonata chasers because the habitat there has been so improved and managed by the owners the Kent Wildfowling and Conservation Association to a really good standard for wildlife. Try and get a non-shooting type to publicly congratulate the KWCA on their efforts and it sticks in their craw too much and doesn't get said.
    Like you say, there are far too many people out there that haven't actually experienced some of these other sports but consider themselves experts on what should and shouldn't be allowed in the countryside. Turn off Countryfile, get out of the armchair and experience everything that the countryside has to offer I say, before opinions are offered.

    1. Derek - it might just be that we are the last of our kind? Guys who grew to appreciate natural history through various stages of our youth; egg collecting, fishing and carrying a catapult/air gun. The countryside was our playground and, as such, we were able to develop an understanding of how it all fitted together. Modern society, with all of its' PC twaddle and liability lawyers, doesn't encourage parents to allow their kids the freedoms we took, so much, for granted?
      The cormorant thing is a little complex (to say the least) - I am onside with fishery owners protecting their businesses from these avian plunderers, but am also aware of the massive role that "climate change" is having on the distribution of "sinensis" cormorants - the European freshwater counterparts to our own maritime "carbo" race which has now been pushed further north (assisted by the total rape of the marine habitat around our coastline - supported by political clout from all sides of the spectrum)
      As for the individuals right to offer an opinion? I do it all the time - doesn't mean I'm right; just that I have a view upon whatever subject. Yes I do think it would be beneficial if more individuals went outside and actually experienced the other side of the coin - only by doing so will a greater understanding of where conservation efforts can be best focused to become a reality? Is it likely to happen? No, I don't think so! Modern life, with instant access to information and all that this allows, will never be able to back track to a time where enjoyment was more important than gratification - an era, it seems, where we are both stuck?

  2. From my day to day contact with the general public, I find their ignorance of the natural world surrounding them quite unsettling. Back in the day, there was a great play on Mute Swans dying from ingesting lead. Anglers were blamed and that was that. The fact that shotgun cartridges played some part, and vegetation coated with the lead from boat exhausts (eaten by Swans) was almost all of it, was ignored. In the meantime we (anglers) had to put up with, "You're an angler, you kill Swans".
    Ignorance is maybe the biggest danger to wildlife there is.

    1. Rich, I was serving on the NASA executive committee at this time! We had a meeting in London, at The Fisherman's Guild, on London Bridge, where the subject of lead and dead swans was discussed. Despite the fact that Bruno Broughton. Dr. Barry Rickards, and Allen Edwards were present, angling didn't have the scientific nous to refute, or even question, the wisdom of the day! By lunch-time, Roy Westward (the editor of Angler's Mail) stormed out - such was the disunity of opinion at that stage.
      Ignorance is a fact of life - I know jack shit about the internal combustion engine and computers - I own machinery which contain both! That we, as naturalists (?) see the world from a certain perspective doesn't mean that we're right - with all the other shit going on around the globe, there are a great many more pressing issues than worrying about Beddington SF or the plight of UK Hen Harriers, as immotive as these subjects are. Whatever we believe, there are always two sides to a coin? - Dyl

  3. Yes, Dyl, Ignorance is certainly a fact of life.
    I guess I'm a bit too sensitive, but when I found myself having to somehow justify my fishing habits to people in general, that's when; for all intents and purposes, I gave up. Birding was ok but twitching wasn't really my thing. Then I took up running; which is my main activity and has been since late 1987.
    Never forget sitting in a hide on the Isle of Sheppey talking running to a fellow birding runner called Geoff Pittock. The views of the White-Tailed Eagle standing on a tussock 50 yards away were epic.

    1. Rich - we've so much in common I'll e-mail you - Just cooking dinner at the moment! Should be some time after 20.00 hrs! - Dyl