The Coronavirus Covid-19 has hit us with a vengeance in most parts of the UK and with a government requested lock down many of us have not been able to get outdoors like we normally do at this time of year. So what does it mean for us at Fieldsports Scotland?
It has been a hard few months for all in the shooting industry, Boris Johnson announces before Christmas that he wants to ban import and export of trophies and condemns trophy hunting full stop, this in return affecting the hunting tourism that many from the UK and abroad benefit from, whether you travel outside the UK to do your Hunting or for those travelling to the UK to hunt it has dealt a blow for the industry. This time last year the Hunting press was awash with the “General License” fiasco that Natural England caused and there are STILL repercussions of that sweeping across the industry and now we have the Coronavirus stopping all non essential travel.
As many of you know I manage a large deer syndicate over various forests in the Highlands and North-East of Scotland, and many of our members have been on the phone wondering what this means for their investments into their sport and, like the governments, I know just as much as everyone else on what is going on so I have no answers for them at the moment.
Years gone by this time of year it would be the start of the majestic Roe Buck season and lambing, I am normally posting 100’s of pictures of all the farms lambs as they are bouncing across the fields and with that posting articles about my long nights protecting them, Thankfully in that regards lamb protection is still gathered as essential travel so I am still in the process of that, but stalking is not.
Stalking for me is my income and this virus has been a great loss in income for me as you can imagine, I am in no way writing this article to look for sympathy as there are far worse off in the country at the moment than myself, so please do not think I am trying to look for sympathy as we are all in the same boat.
The Spring is flourishing and the flowers are already popping out after their winter hibernation, trees are starting to show leaf and soon the Cherry Blossom and the Bluebells will be signalling all that is majestic about the start of the Roe Bucks but unfortunately none of us can shoot them or even go out to see them.
Deer management as a whole has to stop, majority of the deer licences finish on the 31st March signalling a complete end to female deer culling and with this starts the recreational season and because of this it is classed as non essential travel unless it is for work but even then it is advised not to take the risk.
this makes life for hunters extremely hard, specially when most of us look forward to this time of the year to be able to get out and about. Normally at this time of year the Stalking pages on social media and the various forums would be showing everyones first Buck of the year, but not this year.
All our representative bodies have issued statements advising what their thoughts are on the virus and they are all saying Stay at Home.
I understand the reason for the Lockdown and support it, with the free movement of people across the country then there will be free movement of this virus and that cannot happen, so I fully understand also the frustration that many shooters are going through right now. I have seen many a post complaining and asking why they are not allowed to go shooting when shooting, specially stalking, tends to a be solitary activity and you never come in contact with people, but, whether you like it or not what we do as hunters is dangerous and in this time of crisis putting strain on essential services such as Search and Rescue and the NHS if by chance you do have even a minor accident is just not fair.
Coronavirus like every industry has caused the whole World to turn upside down for everyone and at the moment we have to live as best as we can and stay safe. Use this time to sort through your gear, spend time with your family, catch up with some reading, start planning for when the lockdown is over as it won’t be forever if we all play our part.
I can see a break in hunting being a very good thing for the industry and we can start looking at the positive outcomes of this and forget about what your missing for now.
We will all get through this if we stick together, we will all get through this if we work together and we will all get through this if we take this time to reflect and re-evaluate. But mostly STAY SAFE