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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Firearms and Bushcraft

Due to sometimes complex UK firearms legislation firearms other than air-rifles are rarely discussed in the context of bushcraft. In other countries this is not always the case perhaps particularly in the United States where firearms are much more a part of every day life than they are in the UK.
In my day job as a countryside management lecturer specialising in game and deer management I regularly teach students to use firearms as a vital part of their studies. Many of them will go on to be the game keepers, deer stalkers, pest controllers and park rangers of the future so a good understanding of the practical use of firearms as well as a theoretical knowledge of legislation, codes of practice and ballistics is going to be vital for them.
Yesterday for instance I was demonstrating the effectiveness of various types of shotgun ammunition using a pattern board to illustrate the spread of different shot types at different ranges before going on to coach students who were shooting at clay pigeons, some for the first time.

Here I have culled two reeves muntjac as part of a deer management plan to reduce numbers of deer in and near two woodlands which harbor vulnerable plant communities and on the surrounding agricultural land where the attention of too many Chinese water deer is damaging crops.
The rifle I am using here is a Tikka T3 Hunter chambered in .243 winchester with a T4 moderator and a 6*40 leopould scope.

One of the major skills associated with bushcraft is the collection of food whether that's plant food or food in the form of meat. There are a similar number of laws and codes of practice in the UK related to the use of traps as there are regarding the use of firearms so maybe it's time to look at the possibilities of introducing some firearms training courses for people interested in the use of firearms for gathering food in the context of bushcraft. Who would be interested?

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