Mick’s post on Tail End Charlie, (5th August 2011) got me thinking about the seasonal visits we get from Geese, either going North or South. According to where they rest for any given period, fields can be carpeted in them as the geese stop to rest and feed on their long journeys. The signal defining feature of these birds, (apart from the tremendous and distinctive sound they make) is their pattern of flight. If you see a large number of birds flying in a ‘V’ formation, (and it can be quite a flock following leader birds)you are probably looking at geese in flight. They are not quiet, they will call in their inimitable manner.

Every year sportsmen arrive near where I live, about August-September time, mostly from abroad, in particular, from Italy and France for their hunting and shooting trips. The few that do not go fishing spend their time shooting geese and other birds. It has been true to say that the French shoot anything with feathers, which is why, very few birds have been seen in flight in parts of France. The Italians did not do much for their sporting reputations either. One year there was a general outcry at what can only be described as indiscriminate bird shooting. Many geese were found dead where they fell. While sporting activities in general are supported in rural parts of the UK, there are rules to follow, like not killing more livestock than can be bagged and used.

Whatever your views are about hunting sports, it is a thriving affair, but, not to the exclusion of appropriate regulations. Complaints were submitted to legal authorities about the amount of indiscriminate shooting, and the complaints were investigated. It was probably hard to deliver particular culprits to answer for their actions, however, the organisers of the events were taken to task. The incident that sparked off the complaints occurred many years ago. Since then, there has evidently been better control of hunting activities as no more complaints have been generated. I can assure you, they would be if the situation repeated itself.



  1. I am not against hunting, but it’s important to regulate it, especially in a society where we no longer need to hunt in order to live, but merely as a leisure activity. What are your views?

  2. The Italians and French love their shooting holidays Im afraid to say but as long as they are regulated so birds do not suffer from people who are poor shots and dont kill outright it will go on 😦

  3. Indeed it is, the Twelfth will no doubt bring out lots of sporting fashion as well as the guns. Fishing is a quieter hobby and apart from the controls on salmon fishing, there is little visibility of fishermen who do fish for many months, either line fishing or less prolifically and not so long a time, deep sea fishing.

  4. I knew someone would ask me my views. We have a lone fisherman in the family, not unusual here. We stock up and pass fish onto family and neighbours.

    There is much displeasure and disquiet at the quota system which distorts fishing and which, at last is getting some attention. While you could say that throwing dead fish back into the sea is circulating food to sea life, in the quantities it happens, it is obscene. It aids the hike in prices of fish and sea food produce, ergo, adds to inflationary pressures.

  5. The issue seems to be better controlled here after the one year of slaughter. It wasn’t so much bad shots Lilian1, or about people who left injured birds to their fate, it was plain and unnecessary gratuitous hunting behaviour that required dealing with. I don’t what happens in their own lands, but those sorts of hunting visitors are not encouraged here.

  6. I agree – it is shocking, watching the fishermen throw back perfectly good fish. But some regulation is needed. What is the opinion of your family fisherman? (and why don’t governments ever seem to ask the people who are most experienced in any area, and listen to their views instead of imposing those of bureaucrats? It’s the same with the NHS, education, etc etc …)

  7. I guess the family fisherman is resigned though not tolerant of the unintended consequences, and the intended consequences. It takes a high profile campaign that fires up the population at large to obtain change. What change occurs, can be a fudge that fools no-one, but that plays for time. This formula applies to the major areas of our lives, some that you mention.

    Over the years we have seen hardship as fisher folk have been thrown out of work by the regulations meant to conserve fish stock. Meantime, other fishermen buy their quota licenses and export to the Mediterranean, which they have fished out by profligate methods. Given the opportunity, they would do the same to British coastal waters. It’s these manipulations that should be regulated properly. Many people do not realise that the majority of the fish and shell-fish eaten in Spain, for example, comes from the North Atlantic.

  8. Interesting post. When I first went to Fuerty near Roscommon, it was was and still is very rural and the fishing was wild and had to be sought not bought as it was in Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh areas. There was little control over the fisheries because of their remoteness and as a consequence the Germans, French and Belgians took many small pike out of the system, 3 to 4lb fish. Some going as far as to bring their own freezers over, adapted and plugged into the car’s 12v electrical system. These 4 and 5 pound fish were in turn eaten by the larger 30 or 40 pound pike. I witnessed the catching of a 35lb and a 41lb pike from the river. As the food supply for the large fish diminished, so did the larger fish and the river Suck system now is infested with 7 or 8 pound pike which eat all the roach, rudd and bream leaving a fishery full of small predatory fish and nothing else, all the same size because the fish stocks can’t support fish any larger. That is how over fishing works, a bit different to the shooting scene where man simply breeds a few more birds for the rich brainless bastards of society to blast out of the sky.

  9. Hi Mick,

    I’ve been having a discussion with GillyK on this post, about the fishing system, quotas, and so on, with deep sea fishing.

    There have been some really myopic and selfish behaviours regarding fishing, fish stocks, and so on, be they river stocks or sea fish.

    The bureaucrats have no real idea how to husband anything and are swayed by the extreme views of single-issue groups, who are unremitting in their zeal to completely switch off supplies to obtain ‘conservation’. Does this suggest that we have to experience complete denial of something in order for conservation to succeed? If it were so, success is coming at a price, see the unintended consequences, so much good fish, not the type wanted by the fisher boats, thrown back because it would take boats over quota on the fish they do want. It distorts life in the coastal communities and the cost to the consumer in the market place. Where are the checks and balances in that skewed situation?

  10. Interesting article Gillyk. I feel negative about the content of it as I recognise much of the language and the so-called new ideas. I don’t know which fisheries are subsidised, but as far as I am aware, the UK ones are not, which is why they have drastically reduced. Selling on of quotas has been done before and led to skewing of fishing. There is no quote sought from a fishermen’s representative, why?

    I like the acknowledgement that top down centralised management has not worked.

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