On Friday morning I shot a Fox at 280yds, it was a good shot, striking just behind the front leg and exiting through the other side, she dropped on the spot. An hour later I spotted the Roebuck that I had been after since April, he was about 200yds away but I decided that I wanted to get in closer before taking the shot, at about 150yds I bumped a Doe and she took him off with her across the meadow and the chance was lost.
So, why did I quite happily take on a Fox at almost 300yds, but wasn't happy taking a Roebuck at just over half that distance?. Do I have less regard for the Fox?, the answer to this is no, I have the up most respect for this cunning and worthy quarry.
This then got me onto shooting ethics in general. Why do I and most shooters think nothing of head-shooting rabbits at 50-60yds with a .22lr but would not entertain the idea of doing likewise to a deer at any range.
Why do some shoots boast that on a high bird day they have a shot to kill ratio of 6,7 or even 8 to 1, and the 65-70 yard shot that only pricked a bird was only put in the bag by a good picker-up with a good dog, deeming this a good shot, when in fact such a shot taken at a duck on a club marsh would see the shooter kicked off the marsh and have his membership terminated if this shooting continued.
I believe that the current popularity of higher and higher pheasants, most of which are only put in the bag by the fore mentioned picker-up and his dog are a bad thing, and that game dealers insisting on head-shots on deer to prevent meat damage (preserving profit) is a bad thing, and encourages stalkers to take shots they are not capable of, (the head is after all, the most mobile part of a deer) some will consider themselves a good shot and can make a clean head shot 99 times out of 100 but is that 1 ghastly wounded deer sentenced to an agonising and lingering death really worth the other 99 clean carcasses?, not in my opinion it isn't.
I am not sure where this is going, but what I do know is this, there are many, many people out there, some who hold a great deal of power and political sway who do not like what we do and will not stop until our sport is finished it is up to us to make sure what we do is ethical so that we may preserve the rights of our children and their children to pursue the sport that we all love so much.