I used to be a wildfowler but I will not go into
the details of how it was finally banned and how ALL the marshland
areas were bought up by the bird protection societies from the
massive income obtained from renting the marshes to windfarming.
Now that there are 100,000 wind generators on the marshes the sport
would be impossible in any case. Can I however encourage any
ex-wildfowler to give target shooting a try? It’s all there is now.
I have described a typical day last week:-
I picked up the titanium box. It was the only
permissible official pattern. It was strengthened with steel bars
and covered with a bright red material with the words “NOT FOR
UN-ESCORTED TRANSPORTATION” on one side and the national ‘Public
to Police’ report line
on the other.
I parked in the supervised car park adjacent to
the main police station and asked the guard for the APO; the
‘Accompanying Police Officer’. While waiting I wrote out the cheque
for his services and signed the declaration for my gun. When the APO
arrived he checked my paperwork, against the form
I had filled in 30 days in advance. We went to the civil arsenal set
up in 2006 after President Blair returned to power. He banned all
home storage of firearms after an animal liberationist
outcry when a farmer shot a 'domesticated' wolf that had worried 47
of his sheep to death.
The BBC filmed the shooting and put out on the six o’ clock news.
Nothing was said of the sheep.
They were not filmed lest their eviscerated bodies cause a legal
offence under the Vegetarian (Banning Meat on Display) Act of 2005
At the arsenal my gun was placed in the box and
the APO locked it with my keys that he kept. He passed the box to
me to carry and we walked to the car where I locked the box in the
We drove towards the Sealand Ranges, held up only
by a flock of about 12,000 pigeons, which blocked the light for 15
minutes. I scraped the windscreen and we continued.
The Range was still MOD approved but now with the additional
civilian tunnel as all above surface shooting was curtailed on
“collateral environmental grounds” The APO unlocked the case and
attached the weapon to the firing point chain by the obligatory butt
ring. This by law had to be installed, by an approved police
blacksmith, to all civilian firearms. I noticed the splinters in the
walnut around the ring had been crudely smoothed with a circular
The APO checked with the MOD warden that the fans
were on and that the filters were within usage dates. He then
removed a small box from his briefcase, which contained my
ammunition. He handed me 20 rounds and my usage form, which had
spaces for the maximum of 100 rounds I was licensed to fire that
year. I had 20 left. The target was a simple grey circle. The black
and white target was now defunct and term ‘bull’s eye’ had been
banned as both politically incorrect and inadmissible due to the
animal killing connotations.
I fired my 20 shots to complete the years’ allocation. The cartridge
cases were put into a stand. Three of them were bagged by the APO
for the forensic library. The gun was put back into the case and
locked in the range safe till departure. I completed the paperwork
for each round fired then walked to the backstop with my sand sieve
and recovered all the bullets. Back at the firing point they were
counted and together with the cases they were bagged, labelled and
signed by the APO and the range warden. Three of the bullets were
added to the forensic envelope. I paid the range fees, the
environmental damage fee and the metal recycling levy. I was not
permitted to keep the target.
When the gun was returned to the police station I
drove home and considered my future as a shooter. I had to stop
while a pair of buzzards swooped on an emaciated robin and tore it
apart in front of me on the road – it didn’t delay me more than a
few seconds. The whole business of target shooting was becoming just
too bureaucratic and expensive. My firearms certificate cost as much
as a family car. My gun was almost an antique, a First World War Lee
Enfield with some sentimental value but without a firearms license I
would have to pay the fee for it to be destroyed at the approved
facility. Deactivation was not an option as this had been made
illegal the previous year.
I was also getting a rash from scratching the improved implant
tracker chip we shooters had to submit to (for our own safety) and
have checked annually after the police had shot someone carrying a
red box without receiving a signal from an old pattern unit. It had
been surgically implanted
in the soft skin under my right ear lobe. It would be a pleasure to
be rid of it. After a “Post Shooting Society Integration Course” I
could legally apply for its removal.
At my drive a flock of magpies was picking over
the tipped out rubbish from my bin which had been ransacked by the
pack of foxes that lived in the nearby park since the last law of
I parked the car and as I walked to my front door I noticed the
police detector van pull away from the kerb, having checked my
return. Inside the house my wife told me the checker squad (the ACPO
“Enhanced Firearms and Explosives Directorate”) had called while I
was out and searched the house; checking as they were empowered to
do at any time without notice. I noted on the sideboard a receipt
for all my shooting books that I’d boxed for collection the previous
day. Such books were now illegal in private homes to protect the
young. Even my son’s book of ‘Robin Hood’ was on the banned list.
Hopalong Cassidy (and the like) had been re-written long ago for
children with the hero an environmentalist and heroic behavioural
counsellor to children who had been reported by their nursery school
teachers for building toy guns out of LEGO.
So it was over. The marches of millions of
‘incorrect’ minorities made little difference to a government that
bought votes from the majority groups; the telepizza generation that
never left home.
They interacted by voting on all matters through the TV Cable link.
Minorities disappeared with the exception of “politically correct”
minorities as registered by the government. They had legal right to
airtime on the BBC equal to any major national organisation.
I was beaten. I sat down at the desk to complete
the so called “Voluntary Reformation Forms” which were delivered
with every ‘Application to Shoot’ form’ They took two hours to
complete and I was disturbed only by passers by screaming as a freed
waddled down the road to the ornamental pond in the park and the
armed robbery next door. Illegal guns were available in every public
house. The Police didn’t arrive for two hours then burst in on me
as the most likely suspect.
I completed the forms in the cells.
I know it’s too late for us to do anything now
about wildfowling, but perhaps there is still just a chance for us
on the target ranges. If enough of us get together I think we may be
able to lobby for the use of shotguns again on the MOD approved
ranges and get a repeal of the ‘Target Image Act’ to let us shoot at
paper targets with the faint outline of a wigeon.
Since the 2006 driving acts had made motorist officially
antisocial criminals licensed to travel only on alternate weeks
to a maximum of 8 days per month and 4 days in any week