PERMISSION TO APPROACH
In part 1 we looked at your first impressions and how important they are, so here in part 2 we are going to move onto the next step, now we may go back and forth re-covering ground we have already covered as we go through each article, you see much of what I am trying to impart to you will also transfer into other parts of your life too.
Now saying you have done all I said in part 1 and you are lucky enough to gain a shooting permission or sporting rights over some land, what comes next? Now keeping those permissions/rights is another thing all together, you see there are many people who are right where you are now wishing wanting those permissions/rights, so keeping a good name and being an asset to the land owner at all times is a vital part too.
Now this next part will be beneficial to the person looking for shooting/hunting permissions as well as those working to keep the ones they have, I was taught and always believed to be a good field sportsman and a true asset to a land owner you must know implicitly how a farm works.
This will always be an ever changing set of knowledge and no two farms are exactly the same either, to be an asset on the farm you need to know the farming practices weather it’s a dairy or beef farm a sheep station a piggery or fowl or just a crop farm, there is a lot to take in and learn with farming practices changing all the time with conservation etc.
Now if someone challenges you saying why are you shooting these poor pigeons etc, just coming out with the well hackneyed fraise oh I am doing it for crop protection is just not good enough in my book, you see what I said there is a bigger picture here like I said learning all the time, for starters there’s the crop rotation of each farm, I sit down each year with my farmers discuss what’s happening and were with a map of each farm, discussing where and when I am needed what pests need controlling etc.
Over the years I have learnt each farms system so now it’s more of a coffee in the parlour a slice of cake and a catch up, but to you the new boy this method is a must, as you can see right from the point of approach and trying to gain a permission you have to be forward thinking this is what I mean by being an asset, you’re not just a person who can shoot a few rabbits or pigeons etc you must stand out from the crowd.
You know over the years I have erected fences and gates drilled the crop myself delivered all sorts from calves to lambs to piglets, dealt with chickens with egg bind milked goats collected eggs and herded and fed cattle and oh so much more, people say to me all the time you’re so lucky you have so much shooting rights etc, luck is only a small part of it there is a lot of hard work been put in too not just shooting etc, as you can see with the picture I am trying to build to help you.
I have spent over 30 years from a boy to man building not only my Fieldsports and conservation knowledge but also my farming knowledge too, So here’s a big tip right from the horse’s mouth take the time to learn all about the farm/estate etc, offer your services, if work needs doing a few hours here and there goes a very long way I telle, even if a farmer says no to shooting to start with offer to do some voluntary work to prove your worth, you will be surprised how doors will open that once were closed.
This also works on my own shoot several village lads were getting in trouble so their parents asked have I got anything they can get involved with as the devil makes work for idle hands, I took them on for a few hours voluntary service you know all of them have turned from little buggers to fine young men and for their services they get to shoot with me, One of the older lads impressed me so much that I helped get him into an college to train for his dream job, in September he starts at a well-known college training to be a game keeper, all the other lads have found jobs as farm hands with glowing references from me too, you see there is so much more to this than just ERR farmer can I shoot some rabbits on your ground, With so many people coming into Fieldsports now YOU must stand out from the crowd show YOU are an asset and one day you could be where I am now with some hard work and dedication.
Think outside the box don’t just rush in stand back and think long and hard what you want, if you can’t be bothered then my thoughts are you will never go the distance to be a lifelong countryman, but if you do put that effort in and keep putting it in then doors will open eventually, I telle the water tastes sweeter when its earned boys.
I said in part 1 how from giving a business card to one chap in a chip shop who turned out to be a farmer’s son got me 6 farms, well it was not quite that simple, indeed the first farm I gained was because they had foxes taking the lambs, I have written about this farm in some of my other articles, the word got out after I dealt with 6 foxes in 3 hours and not a lamb was taken after.
You must also be good at what you do, strive to be the best weather you are using an air rifle/rifle/shot gun/dog ferret or bird of prey, I have spent a life time honing my skills of the countryman so when a farmer calls me in he already knows he is getting the best over the rest, that’s not me being big headed that’s me showing you how hard I work for best practices.
Safety is a paramount above anything else a land owner who calls me in and is entrusting me with his livestock/crops/land/machinery or buildings knows without question my reputation, even as far as when a land owner tells me to fire I won’t if the shot is not 101% safe, That’s also another reason these land owners trust me to police their land and interview anyone asking for permission, for if you do not pass my scrutiny then the farmer knows full well they are not good enough to be let loose on his precious land.
So from 3 hours and 6 foxes farm after farm called me as the word got out from farmer to farmer, they had other folk shoot on their land before and well cause problems, the old saying once bitten twice shy comes to mind, so they shut the door to all shooters etc as a farmer can shoot for himself so why bother having troublesome shooters on the land, one chap even shot a battery with his rifle on a sheep fence as he thought it was a fox in the lamp, again here unless you are a 101% certain what your shooting don’t pull that trigger, I have shot those farms now for almost 20 years, in fact as I am writing this I have just got a text from one of the farmers saying fox attacks up in 20 acre can I cast my eye over.
You see how all this works? How I have become an asset to the farms they know at the drop of a text I will be onto it ASAP, they also know I will deal with any problem and treat the land and livestock as if they were my own, a lot of folk say go and buy farmer a pint? This only really works if you know the farmer but will irritate them if you do not, imagine you going into a pub after a hard day at work and someone bugging you when you are trying to chill out, so think carefully before you start that approach.
Now horse places are a great place to gain permission especially rabbit shooting, rabbits and horses don’t mix well? Why I hear you ask? Well quite simply a rabbit does what it does best apart from breeding more rabbits and that is digging holes, a horse’s hoof fits perfectly down said holes and promptly breaks legs tears tendons and so much more.
One of my own horses once ripped her tendon on her back left leg between her hock and fetlock that took 18 months to sort out from box rest and restricted paddocks and a whole lot of vets bills, so as you can imagine horse places do not want rabbits.
But again here you need to be an asset, make sure you use a moderated air rifle so as to not spook the horses, also where there are horses there are feed/tack rooms so you get rats so some sport to be had there too.
So as you can see I am trying to build up a picture, remember be polite, dress accordingly, have your paper work in order, be an asset when work needs doing, always offer to pitch in, shoot safely at all times as a safe shot is a better shot, and always remember YOU are an ambassador for Fieldsports YOU each and every one of YOU represent each other and represent us all, so strive for best practice and the world is your oyster.
PERMISSION TO APPROACH part 2
By The Ole Hedge Creeper