Letter: Shots out of bounds

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was a child living in the countryside during the war and many times our diet was supplemented by rabbits, pheasants and partridges. I still live in the country, but shoots of today are very different.

Red-legged partridge and pheasant are reared in very tiny cages and only released for the shoot. The guns are usually wealthy businessmen, rather than the farmers I knew.

Early this year, I came across a gamekeeper with two dogs in the local nature reserve; he was striking the bushes with a stick. Other dogs from the shoot were carrying birds out of the reserve. When I pointed out that not even members of the trust were allowed to take dogs into the reserve, I was told that any shoot is allowed to retrieve birds from any area, nature reserve, field with sheep, or your or my garden. The police agreed.

On another occasion I have walked a public footpath in dense fog and been held against a car by gun dogs that the owner could not even see. I was told I shouldn't be there. The police say that there are no rules against shooting when visibility is only 10 yards.

An even more disreputable shoot killed the ducks at the local picnic area. One fell at the feet of the woman who was feeding them.

The police could do nothing about any of these incidents. Perhaps it is time for changes in the law.

Yours faithfully,



13 August