Is the fieldsports 'community' really a community? Personally, when speaking to others I have always described the people I go out shooting with as the fieldsports community. However, now that I am trying to create my own it has hit me that I was probably mislabelling it. I think this because when I actually consider what the fieldsports 'community' looks like, it is not very communal…
Now, yes I agree that we are a group of people who share a common interest, but when it comes to coming together as a group we are particularly bad. I think this has established itself in the roots of the UK's shooting system for many years now and is mainly to do with the private land ownership in this country. Nearly all of the land is owned by a small number of people and they only allow a small number of people the permission to shoot, fish or hunt. It actually makes people very selfish. This has created generations of people who don’t like to share! And it's not just land/permission that we have stopped sharing, it is knowledge as well.
As we (the fieldsports community) have got more insular, our ability to share stories and knowledge has diminished. My favourite memories from beating as a child were sitting in the lunchroom and hearing the stories from the older guys whilst enjoying a delicious pheasant stew! This lack of communication and sharing has also meant that the knowledge I spoke of earlier does not get passed on to anyone outside of our little circle. This has led to a generation of people who simply do not understand the good we do for the countryside and therefore simply see those of us with a passion for fieldsports as the bad guys!
This should not be the case. If more people outside of our small community understood the good we do day today for the countryside, perhaps we would stop getting a bad rep simply because people do not understand!
Now, I know that all sounds very doom and gloom, but I think there are a lot of things WE can do to make it better. It was my founding vision when creating Smoking Barrels to create a place where EVERYONE from the countryside can come together and share all of the good we do. Through our website, Facebook group and our events, we want to bring socialisation back! We want to encourage people to share what they might be so lucky to have and help those who may have never had the chance. We plan on organizing events for beginners, youngsters and even people who have never considered the sport before. We want to organize discussions based on the important topics happening in the rural world. But mainly we want people to have fun! We want our members to thoroughly enjoy what we are organizing so that more and more people want to get involved.
To do this we need everyone in our community to buy-in. We encourage our members to let others know when they will be out so they can meet up. We would love people to join in on our discussions (all for free) and impart some of their hard-earned knowledge to others. Finally, we want to share our experiences. We aim to show the entire country the good our people do every day for the countryside. So we will film, write and record as much as we can and share it far and wide because we think people should know!
I hope you will join me in my quest to bring the rural community of the UK back together and start showing everyone the good we do. So please share this letter, get your friends involved, tell them to join the groups, and have some fun.
Until Next Time,
Founder, Smoking Barrels Sporting