Monday, 2 August 2010
A poaching we will go.
When hunt saboteurs and animal rightists talk about the class nature of field sports they have a point. Hunting with hounds, game shooting and fly fishing have all tended to be the preserve of the wealthy. One obvious reason for this is the cost involved but the ownership of land was and is a far more important factor in keeping the hunting of game very much an upper class pursuit. However the thrill of the hunt is universal and wherever the ruling elite have sought to restrict hunting for themselves, frequently on pain of death, there has existed that curse of the toffs and their lickspittle gamekeepers, the poacher. There is nothing very romantic about having to risk your life in order to put food on the table but the poacher has always been driven, not only by necessity, but also by a desire to cock a snook at authority and do what they shouldn't oughta. There has long existed a tradition of working class blokes mooching about the lanes and byways of the countryside with terriers and lurchers and generally getting up to no good. Long may that tradition continue. You can take it from me that the pheasant knocked of it's perch with a stick in a moonlit wood where you have no right to be tastes every bit as good as the one driven to the Purdeys by beaters.