Shooting Wildlife

We’re driving through the Limousin countryside on a Sunday morning. I become aware of strange goings-on.  A man is sat on a chair on his own on the edge of a field. A car is parked in a field entry. A man is striding along with a shotgun. Two men are in a raised wooden platform in the middle of a field. All men. All with guns.

Yes I’ve heard that shooting anything that moves is a French country pastime, this is the real thing.

Now, as far as I can see, there is no great preponderance of wildlife in this part of France. It’s much like the rest of Europe, over-cultivated and lacking in the huge biodiversity of some other parts of our planet. Even perceptibly over a lifetime, nature’s abundance has been reducing, notably with declining populations of insects and birds.

Yet still many thousands of country dwellers continue their ‘traditional’ pastime, once essential for feeding the family. Some of it is no doubt to keep down exploding populations of wild boar, due to lack of top predators. But I cannot see that this requires so many shooters, and suspect that they shoot anything that moves, rather than just what the authorities approve.

Other countries face similar problems from this apparent male bloodlust – migrating birds shot in Malta, hunting and nature conservation are almost synonymous in the US, imported birds systematically shot by ‘traditional’ grouse shooters in the UK, and on and on.

You could say it’s in our blood, the old hunter-gatherers – that is how we once survived. But now, it seems perverse to increase the stress on natural populations already struggling. There are surely now too many people on our planet for these old ways to be sustainable.

If only more people would abandon the gun for the camera. Similar skills can be deployed to ‘shoot’ the wildlife, while leaving natural populations relatively undisturbed.

Featured image of hunters by FOTO:FORTEPAN / Ebner, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51244418

4 thoughts on “Shooting Wildlife

  1. Absolutely … Shooting wildlife photos requires exactly the same skills and gives the same buzz when successful unless you are sadistic. Even Prince Harry managed to shoot down a rare bird of prey in his youth. I’m sure he learned from that and would never repeat it, but it does show how ingrained this is in our culture. Maybe the extinction movement will finally make people more aware of the importance of animals and wildlife to the survival of the planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Eyes in the back of my Head and commented:
    Important to ask WHY? Why do people still do these out-dated, so-called “traditional” pursuits of killing wildlife. For fun? Our wildlife needs all the help it can get, so exposure of all kinds pointing out the weird futility of killing for “sport” get a bit shout out from me, hence the reblog. Please read on….

    Liked by 1 person

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