Disturbing in every sense: a local’s shocking portrait of a pheasant shoot

Yesterday evening we were sent a link via Twitter to the following website: Seven Years On

The website name didn’t mean anything, nor did the byline, ‘Snared by a driven pheasant shoot: a story of dishonour and arbitrary power in the British countryside‘.

[Photographed through the cottage window, by @SevenYearsOn1]

It took a while to understand what it was all about but gradually, flicking through the various sub-headings, a story emerges that will resonate with many others – indeed it already is doing on Twitter.

The author of the website (@SevenYearsOn1) is calling for a statutory right to know the proximity of driven pheasant shoots in relation to domestic dwellings. When you read about what she’s had to put up with over the years, it’s hard to disagree.

16 Responses to “Disturbing in every sense: a local’s shocking portrait of a pheasant shoot”

  1. 1 Simon Tucker
    November 17, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Entirely predictable: the arrogance and entitlement of the shooting industry knows no bounds – because they are protected by a government that governs for the landowners and their minions. Money trumps all.

  2. 2 TOBornotTOB?
    November 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Absolutely outrageous! Can you imagine what would happen if a bunch of young kids from the local council estate stood in front of someone’s home firing off air rifles. I can; the police would be called, the youths arrested, local councillors would be indignant, letters would be written to the local press calling for tougher laws. Grrrrrrr how it makes my blood boil!!!!

    Some years ago I was bird watching when a woman with children started to talk to me about what birds I had seen. Without any prompting from me she then started to relate the problems she had experienced in her current rented accommodation. Basically she said that ‘the Guns’ from pheasant shoots actually came into her garden to shoot and the shooters left cartridges on the floor and on her children’s play equipment. Unbelievable!

    I refuse to resort to foul language but I can tell you that I am really, really, really, annoyed. Time for these so called ‘country gentlemen’ to get a new life and for us to get some new strict laws.

  3. 3 SilverBirch
    November 17, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    This is appalling and unacceptable behaviour.

    The decibel level from a shoot can be terrifying but such close proximity to a home is harassment. The guns are capable of firing quite a distance and a strict law should be put into place that the distance from homes is fifty times the power of discharge. Or just ban shooting.

    These shoots can bring several months of misery and hell to rural home dwellers, the ‘guns’ can be menacing if not downright aggressive especially if they have had alcohol.
    We Rural dwellers are supposed to acknowledge ‘country sports’ by the certain arrogant, entitled shooting fraternity yet it is a one way street. Trying to get them to be reasonable in their behaviour often results in bullying and there is little an individual can do in those circumstances.
    The author of that blog is entitled to a peaceful enjoyment of her own property and I admire her bravery for speaking out.

    There are better uses of the countryside which are safer, environmentally friendlier, cheaper to the tax payer given we subsidise gun licences, etc.

    These bloodsports have had their day.

  4. 5 WTF
    November 17, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    How many of those involved in creating the nuisance involved in this case would stand for the visitation of similar levels of disturbance in the vicinity of their own homes? Sheer common decency should ensure that the participants here do not cause nuisance or distress to the occupiers of the cottage. To ignore their plight in their pursuit of perverse enjoyment, involving the deliberate killing and injuring of fellow sentient creatures which have lived barely long enough to reach maturity, speaks reams about the widespread selfish malaise which afflicts society today.

  5. 6 George Murdo
    November 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    A damned disgrace which is replicated around the whole of the UK. Like the Baron’s of old these contemporary Country Squires/Lairds do as they please knowing fine well that the hierarchy of the local police is more than likely in their pockets as they look for a gong at the end of their career. The rural councils, and community councils, .appear to be in their pockets too. Many receive over local support only by knowledge of the harassment they will receive should they decline to support them is widespread. The self same squires/lairds seed the advisory bodies with their sympathisers so, even when outnumbered which only happens very rarely, they have the justification of the highly biased and often error strewn documents of these compromised bodies. They use these to over rule any decision they see as being against their interests.
    Local democracy? It’s a joke.

  6. 7 Bob Jones
    November 17, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    I know the property owner and the local shoot. The owner is trying to sell the property (it’s in the current Country Life mag) and to be fair the owner of the shoot has offered to buy the property at full market value. Yes there is a driven shoot 6 times a year past this property, but there are two side to this and we’re seeing just one here. I’ve no time for commercial shoots but there has to be honesty on both sides of this argument.

    • 8 Keith Dancey
      November 17, 2019 at 9:07 pm

      “I’ve no time for commercial shoots but there has to be honesty on both sides of this argument.” Who says there hasn’t been honesty? And what is the ‘other’ side of the argument: that the ‘shoot’ wants to drive the owner out of a property, but YOU think that is OK so long as they offer the ‘market price’?

    • 9 BanCommercialShooting
      November 17, 2019 at 11:09 pm

      By virtue of saying “there has to be honesty”, you’re directly inferring that the author of the piece is being dishonest. What a ridiculous point to make, that it’s ‘fair’ for a person to be forced out of their own home due to demonstrably antisocial behaviour, as long as they’re receiving a good price. I’d suggest you climb off the fence and use some common sense.

    • 10 Anon
      November 18, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      The arrogance of your comment is alarming.

      You feel that it is acceptable by the landowner to throw a few quid to get her out? I have made contact with this lady a while ago and I found her situation to be appalling , yet never once did I doubt her honesty or integrity. I will add, if she forgives me for saying this, that the woman is not in her first flush of youth.
      Why should an older woman be driven from the home she loved just to satisfy a selfish landowner?
      Are you aware that there are people who live on or near shooting estates who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of shooting beside their homes? This condition is normally seen in service persons who have come from war zones.

      What gives shooters the right to impose their environmentally damaging ‘sport’ on rural dwellers?

      The author of the blog has had her life ruined, faces upheaval in a house move and deserves better treatment than this.
      The woman has spoken out against the shameful, hidden secret truth of what really happens to non-shooters who dwell in the countryside.

    • 11 Lizzybusy
      November 18, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Where I live, there’s a similar farm shoot and, nearby, a major estate pheasant shoot.

      The land, to the uninitiated, looks lovely with trees, hedgerows, cover crops of maize and wild flower and cereal mixes. There are the other usual tell-tale signs of feeders, ‘Keep out’ ‘Private land’ signs, pig wire fences and deep ditches to keep people out of the woods and pheasant pens hidden in the bigger woods. Spring traps, snares, bird traps and drop traps are all used on a massive scale to kill ‘vermin’ which have the audacity to live in the same area! Cats owned by people living close to the snared and trapped woods have gone missing.

      The landowner never tells people when shoots are due to take place. There are loads of public footpaths criss-crossing the land and, obviously, lots of locals use the paths to walk their dogs. When shooting takes place the shooters are quickly driven in convoys along the rough bridal way to the fields where they spread out and wait for the birds to be driven by dogs or beaters over the guns. Dog walker’s and their pets are terrified as they try to scoot back down the lane or along footpaths directly adjacent to the fields where the shooters are taking aim! The shooters don’t even have the decency to allow people to get out of harms way before they start shooting!

      None of the villagers I know welcome the shooters or their game keeper employees. They frighten and intimidate people and the sound of the blasting of the birds is a very depressing sound to listen to since nothing can be done to save the poor souls being blasted out of the skies.

      It’s cruel, selfish, disgusting!

  7. 12 Keith Dancey
    November 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Please send the link https://www.sevenyearson.com/ to EVERY parliamentary candidate, and to EVERY local newspaper!

  8. 13 Paul V Irving
    November 18, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Appalling, we live here in mid Wales in the middle of a large commercial shoot, however we are lucky in that they shoot well away from us and the immediate fields are not part of the shoot. however we are often inundated with hundreds of bloody pheasants, eating the fallen apples in the orchard, left for the thrushes, eating our winter veg if we don’t net it. On the two or three days a week they shoot when out it sounds like a re-enactment of some battle and is definitely noise pollution. When I lived in North Yorkshire it was often impossible in the ” shooting season” to get away from said noise pollution except on a Sunday and even then some areas had Clay pigeon shoots! Time the whole lot was rigorously controlled and in some places banned.

  9. 14 AlanTwo
    November 18, 2019 at 9:45 am

    This is a classic, but by no means extreme, example of the intimidatory and often downright thuggish behaviour shown by the shooting fraternity towards anyone who doesn’t endlessly kowtow to them. And you can add a whole extra layer to it all if you happen to live close to somewhere frequented by a foxhunt.
    The reality of life in much of the countryside is totally at odds with the image presented to the public. For many years I have never bought anything, from Christmas cards to shortbread to alcohol, with an image of a pheasant, grouse or stag on the label.
    It’s high time these attitudes and behaviours were purged from the countryside.

  10. 15 Calendula
    November 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    I have every sympathy, as I too used to live close to a pheasant shoot. It’s awful having idiots pointing guns at your house. Walks near the woods were ruined (public footpaths!); the noise was horrendous. Luckily I have moved now, although not directly as a result of the shoot. I am further away from the action but I still get pheasants galore in my garden, damaging the plants etc. Neighbours tell me pheasants have been spied eating slow worms.
    These people lose all common sense once they have a gun in their hands. I wish they could have more respect for residents.

  11. November 18, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    In the 1970s, I grew up in a home where the landlord used to do this deliberately to intimidate my parents. Him and his oafish friends would park right outside the house, then let their dogs out in the garden and start shooting from there – often at daybreak, when my Mother was getting me ready for school. I was around 7 at the time, and a child never forgets seeing a parent scared. It was the complete arrogance of privilege, and helped form opinions which sadly have only been reinforced throughout my life.

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