UK Guardian: Shooting Pheasant Should Be Less Unpleasant

 Marc Cocker- Look at the grouse! Look at the grouse! (courtesy

Marc Cocker of the‘s Country Diary [above] finds modern day pheasant hunting most disagreeable. “The perpetual fusillade of guns from across the other side of the Yare sounded like the Somme. One wonders if that audible violence, which is surely peculiar to the killing inflicted by industrial societies, also measures our alienation from the natural landscape? One thinks, by contrast, of the silence and stealth that must always have surrounded hunters from the Paleolithic until the middle ages.” One forgets the fact that much of the hunting in human history involved driving animals over cliffs or into pits, which was probably not what you’d call quiet either. Anyway, Marc’s not one to trifle over facts. For example, he believes the development of the modern shotguns led to the massacre at Columbine . . .

The innovation that unleashed this form of arithmetical ritual was the 1847 invention of the breech-loading shotgun. One is tempted to speculate that there is a psychological continuum that stretches from that moment to the high slaughter of modern video games and even perhaps unto Columbine: a view of killing as entertainment with numbers. Yet in real hunting should the hunter not savour death sparingly, ringfencing it with meaning and significance so that there is a genuine transaction between predator and prey.

Is that a trick question? Marc’s nostalgia for the Paleolithic era indicates that his antipathy towards blood sports is a matter of style rather than ethics. One of his commentators sums it up very nicely indeed.

For many of the participants, the shoot is a façade. The guns are there to show off; the cars, the antique shotguns, the ill gotten lucre…many a deal is wrapped up over lunch. The newly recruited beaters, women, dressed immaculately in the appropriate attire and their children, like miniature keepers, waistcoat and plus fours. Lurking underneath this showy exterior however, the terrier boys, the baiters, for whom the killing is the key, a year round addiction to slaughter just to give the pheasant free reign. The bullying, the threats, illegal firearms and poaching, all underpin this excuse for sport practiced by the vulgar nouveau riche.

Someday the English will not see the world through the lens of class warfare. Meanwhile, thank God we’re not them.


  1. avatar ST says:

    The good news:England will once again respect the power of arms inside of a decade, if not two.

    The bad news:That’s because in 20 years England will be a Muslim nation.

    1. avatar gs650g says:

      The Union Jack will be green with an AK and Arabic writing blazed across.

      1. avatar DisThunder says:

        I’d like to think we can at least pull one last daring Dunkirk-style rescue operation before that happens.
        There’s good folks across the pond, especially the ones that sport the ‘jack on their arms. The problem is, twits like this guy have gone to such great lengths to leave them defenseless, both in terms of the literal GUNZ!!! and in the societal sense, that they will have little they can do to hold on to their country.

        I’m constantly amazed at how little danger people actually see in things like extremist Islam. What, is it just because they don’t have snappy uniforms and mean looking fighter planes? The last time the UK faced invasion, they tooled up and prepared to fight to the last man. These days, it’s more important to silence those last dozen shotguns in the country, so people don’t get offended.

        1. avatar IdahoPete says:

          And the last time they faced invasion, they begged Americans to send them guns to arm their citizens against a German invasion – because they had just spent the last 20 years banning guns and disarming their citizens. And when WWII ended, they collected all of those donated guns and scrapped them, dumped them at sea, or buried them in concrete foundations. If the Brits ever want us to send them any guns to fight off a future invasion, they can pony up hard cash in the form of gold Swiss francs. No more freebies.

        2. avatar Adam says:

          The Edmonton Police department, in a stupid show of political correctness, is trying to get hijabs as part of the police uniform:

          Thankfully, Canada isn’t that far along the dhimmi road as Britain…yet. You can read about Mark Steyn and Macleans, and Ezra Levant’s struggles with ‘Human Rights’ commissions up here. Western countries, including the U.S., are facing this problem not because of the ‘cultural Marxism’ bogeyman that the Tea Party types complain about, but because of powerful business lobbies that push mass immigration in order to fuel endless growth (mostly housing demand). Northeast Calgary, for example, looks like a South Asian city. And Brooks (small Alberta town, now infamous for E-coli infected beef) looks like Mogadishu, thanks to the meat processing lobby that brought in planeloads of low-wage East African labour. People worried about where these immigration trends are taking their countries need to throw away their Ayn Rand books, and admit that certain business lobbies and good old capitalism are taking us there.

        3. avatar Jus Bill says:

          Why bother? They’ll just screw themselves over again later.

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          It’s those capitalist wreckers and saboteurs destroying the socialist utopia again.

      2. avatar LSUTigersFan says:


  2. avatar Alex Peters says:

    The comments after that article show exactly why the UK is doomed. May they reap what they sow.

  3. avatar dph says:

    I don’t know if it should be less “unpleasant”, but the standard English pheasant hunt should be somewhat less unsporting. It’s more like shooting clays than anything else, rich “hunters” standing in a line while the beaters drive farm raised, half tame birds towards them.

  4. avatar DrVino says:

    Looking at the “hunting” link at the top of the article, it seems these people just hate hunting.

  5. avatar IdahoPete says:

    His nostalgia for “Paleolithic hunting” would necessarily include snaring animals, netting birds, setting up fish weirs to trap fish in shallow water, driving animals over cliffs, burning forests to create new browse, setting out poison baits, and a host of other fun Paleolithic ways to maximize your take and minimize your effort. What an idiot – he apparently thinks that a hunting and gathering society was wonderful, clearly never having experienced it himself. The real problem with modern civilization is that it provides so much food/shelter/clothing with so little hard, dangerous physical effort on the part of most people – and we are therefore saddled with the luxury of idiotic “intellectuals” such as this twit.

    For modern-day “Paleolithic” hunting techniques, see “Survival Poaching” by Ragnar Benson.

  6. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Less unpleasant than say, oppressing peasants?

    “Are you oppressing me? Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!”

    1. avatar TheDabbo says:

      “Come see the repression inherent in the system!”

  7. avatar DisThunder says:

    It’s strange. Whenever I read any comments below any UK or European article even remotely involving guns, they always end up with a few cats that talk about “I love NYC or LA, but everything between those two cities is a mess!” like the rest of the country is the damn Thunderdome or something. What, with our guns and our big empty stretches of land, and cowboys and indians and pick-up trucks and Big Macs and shit….”They have these crazy gun death rates, and low rates of passports! The don’t understand the world, they don’t want to be a part of society!”
    Which I guess there might be a little validity to, seeing as I don’t give a damn what they think of me, or where I live. But the part that galls me is that flyover country’s desire just to live their lives and be left alone is seen as such an affront to these people, and is somehow the most dangerous thing in the world to them.
    Silly Britons! My guns can’t possibly hurt you from here. Quit worrying about them, you got yer own problems.

    1. avatar Bill says:

      I don’t necessarily want to be part of the greater world society myself, I wish gas/diesel were cheaper so I could drive a big old pick-up truck, we do have lots of open land in some places, a few cowboys, some indians, though they’re kinda disappointing when you meet them, but in most of ‘flyover’ country, we’ve got pretty low rates of crime, outside of St. Louis, Dallas, Memphis, Chicago, Toledo, etc.

  8. avatar Jim Barrett says:

    Ah, just pass around some suppressors and everyone will be happy. ‘course you gotta figure out how to suppress a shotgun first. Maybe give the boys down at Red Jacket a call – they seem to be able to build a suppressor for just about anything.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Definitely been done be-foah!

      1. avatar DisThunder says:

        Ring ring!
        Will, this is destiny calling, from the United Kingdom. Will you accept the call?

  9. avatar NickTX says:

    Sounds like another Piers Morgan wannabe looking for some followers

  10. avatar Salty Bear says:

    Beaters and keepers. What is this, Quidditch?

    1. avatar JaxD says:

      More like Pacino’s “Cruising”.

  11. avatar Guy says:

    So, silenced shotguns should take care of that. No more scary dreams for the bed-wetter.

    I’m sure those hillbillies over at Red Jacket can whip something up to fit a Purdey.


    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      F for plagiarism, see me after class.

  12. avatar Taylor Tx says:

    Me thinks those limeys should be a little more in touch with where their food comes from.

  13. avatar DaveL says:

    Yet in real hunting should the hunter not savour death sparingly, ringfencing it with meaning and significance so that there is a genuine transaction between predator and prey.

    I wonder if he thinks a “genuine transaction between predator and prey” exists at the slaughterhouse. Only the indolent who are well-fed by the efforts of others can afford to take seriously such overwrought poetry about their food sources.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    This is what happens when a small island nation sends its best and toughest men off to die in too many wars. The males who are left home to breed produce one generation of pantywaists after another.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Indeed. Reverse evolution in action.

    2. avatar Anonymous says:

      Haha. It’s funny and so true. All thats left are bureaucratic red tape pansies to afraid to hold a gun – much less allow anyone else around them to hold one.

    3. avatar RockOnHellChild says:


      And, inbreeding, as not to dilute the wealth of the aristocratic class.

  15. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    “The perpetual fusillade of guns from across the other side of the Yare sounded like the Somme.”

    a) This is hyperbole of the highest order. The bulk of the killing in WWI was done by tube arty and belt-fed machine guns. The sound of shotgun hunting is nothing like the sound of industrial-grade battle.

    b) This man is a pussy. Plain and simple. If we really believed in evolution, we’d be able to remove his lot from the gene pool.

    1. avatar MothaLova says:

      You beat me to it. I was going to make that same comment about the Somme.

      Every time some gungrabber tries to make an historical analogy, he only reveals further his tremendous ignorance.

  16. avatar Independent George says:

    Not that it applies to shotguns, but does this mean he advocates the use of suppressors, then? Because I would support that.

  17. avatar Hannibal says:

    Wonder what he eats at dinner, and how it sounds when killed.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      It’s very hard to describe the death cry of the wild tofu.

      1. avatar Chip in Florida says:

        Snick Glurble blub blop.

        (hint, its the sound of the little cellophane wrapper being pulled back and the packaged being dumped out on a plate)

    2. avatar MothaLova says:

      Or whether that animal wouldn’t have preferred – had it the choice – to live in the wild and suffer death by bullet wound rather than to live in close confinement and suffer death by throat-slitting via circular blade.

  18. avatar Jus Bill says:

    “Marc Cocker of the‘s Country Diary finds modern day pheasant hunting most disagreeable.”
    Luckily he doesn’t have to participate. And fsck him anyway. Sissy subject!

  19. avatar William Burke says:

    Guardian staff are just pissed they can’t afford Pheasant-Under-Glass in restaurants. They think hunters are “cheating the system”.

  20. avatar TheYetti says:

    Over the years I’ve come to have a certain disdain for the British.

  21. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

    I swear these idiots think that guns are the root of violence. Guns are a symptom of a deep flaw in human nature. But that flaw has been there since Cain killed Able. There is an aspect of humanity that is a drive to commit violence more completely and efficiently upon victims and the shotgun is nothing more than another link in the long chain from the first rock used to crush a skull, to the club, to the sword, the grenade, the cluster bomb and all the way on up to whatever is the cutting edge of human demise.

    The ONLY thing that makes guns special is they sit in the sweet spot of effectiveness to training ratios that allows a stay at home wife of 100 lbs to be as efficiently and brutally violent as the 200 lb, drug addled rapist who just smashed in her sliding glass door and entered the living room. The sweet spot that gave a group of fed up civilians a fighting chance against a royal government that would rather shoot them all than allow them to choose for themselves what to pay taxes on. (we may have only won the revolutionary war because the french helped us out, but they only helped us out because we were doing as well as we were).

    Fore firearms to be a detriment to society as a whole it would require us as a people to be so universally ruthless and violent that we would not care one iota about a school full of kids massacred at the hands of a sad, pathetic, lone psychopath.

    The fact that we do feel empathy for the victims of such events and have an emotional desire to prevent such tragedies means we as a species can be trusted to keep our guns in reserve as our last resort against criminal violence far more often than we use them to commit that violence in the first place. Which is why so many guns will go their entire existence never being so much as pointed at another human being.

    The face that we care about the families affected by Sandy Hook means gun control can only do more harm than good. For gun control to have a positive effect would require us to be so comfortable with casual violence that we would never care to stop it in the first place.

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