It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about that bloated excuse for a holiday called Christmas, which is only wonderful if someone buys you some new shooting gear, or a new piece of tweed, which rarely seems to happen nowadays, or at least not to me. I am, of course, talking about October 1st, the greatest sporting date in the annual calendar. The day that most beautiful of species, Phasianus colchicus, becomes fair game across the British Isles – in other words: pheasant season is upon us!
Okay, so we’ve had the Glorious 12th and the start of the partridge and wildfowl season, and all are great days for British shooting and shooters. But for most sporting ladies and gents is it October 1st that holds a special place in their hearts, for that is when the season starts proper. It is the time when old friends, who haven’t set eyes upon each other all summer, meet up for the first day on their syndicate, and when new friendships are forged over high birds dropped, or not as the case maybe, on unfamiliar drives on the many of the country’s excellent commercial game shoots.
It is often said that the best PR for shooting is a roast pheasant dinner with all the trimmings, shared with friends, especially non-shooting friends. I can’t help but believe this is true, and it brings me on to another reason why October 1st is the greatest date in the calendar. The promise of fresh, ethically sourced, seasonal, regional, delicious food. Shooting, above everything, is about putting food on the table and it must always stay true to these roots to thrive. In a country where the vast majority of people are meat eaters, knowing that one of the primary purposes of shooting is to provide meat sets it in a context non-shooters understand and are often sympathetic to. Shooting will always have its opponents, but moderate, sensible people can usually be swayed by a slap up game dinner and a glass or two of Bordeaux!
It is all these components – the people, the countryside, the food – that make the start of the pheasant season, for me at least, the most wonderful time of the year. And with only days to go before it finally gets underway, the excitement is building. What do you like most about this time of the year? Leave a comment to let us know. And wherever you are, if you’re looking forward to October 1 half as much as we are, all of us at Red Stag Media wish you a happy and successful season. Good shooting!