What do you think
"Grandma, why do dead birds fall out of the sky at your house?"
"Because people who shoot can hide behind an old law that defies common decency."
is an appeal for an exclusion zone round every home, so families cannot have their lives infringed or sensibilities trampled on by the sport of shooting.
A home is a place for living, not a place for killing. Not according to British law.
Pheasant shooting is a leisure activity.
Ever since 1066...some history.
A creature killed for sport is called game...some law.
My story - an old photograph of the cottage - almost 25 years ago.
I spent years making a garden .
… filling it with flowers.
Ten years later the fields were divided with fences and planted with thousands of trees.
Twenty years later the cottage was thrown into pools of oppressive shade.
The first time I saw people shooting.
A pheasant flying over my home a few seconds before being shot.
Tall poplar trees were planted in front of the cottage to make pheasants fly high in the sky.
Men with dogs and sticks circle the house.
The once green pastures fields were changed for the shoot.
A gun picks up spent cartridge cases in the field beside the garden.
The cottage on a sunny day in deep shade.
The ugly pen constructed at the bottom of my garden.
Being spied on from the close access route.
The people who shoot are called 'guns'.
The land before the shoot ...
and how it was changed.
5 million acres are 'actively managed' for 0.75% of the population to shoot over.
There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest beside the cottage.
Driven pheasant shooting is a planned and orchestrated social event.
The people who drive the pheasants are called 'beaters'.
A beater seen from the study window
Beaters going to the other side of the cottage.
A gun sits, while the pheasants regain their strength.
A waiting gun seen through the kitchen window.
Guns stand still and silent, waiting.
Clutching his gun, just a few metres from me, this man stares.
Moments before the flushing begins - seen from kitchen window .
A flushed pheasant flies high above the trees.
A beater being given instructions.
People take aim and fire...
...and pheasants fall.
...and fire...

they fire at the bottom of the garden...

they fire in the SSSI meadow...
they fill the air with the thunder of gun shot and the smell of cordite...
they fire above the cottage...
they fire and fire and the pheasants fall out of the sky... round my home.
The people who pick up the dead pheasants are called pickers up.
They look for the dead bodies...
...instruct their dogs to pick them up...
...then tie twine round the pheasants necks.
The guns return to the landowner's home...
...while a 'cart' is driven round the fields either side of the cottage collecting the dead bodies.
Understanding pheasant characteristics explains why they are used as living targets.
Pheasants are not native birds. Hundreds of young ones are put at the bottom of my garden.
Approximately 35 million pheasants are released into the British Countryside every year - in the lane.
Young pheasants are called poults - being rounded up beneath a bedroom window.
Pheasants are ground birds, preferring to run than fly.
Camouflage is one form of defense - a hen on a pile of logs ...
...and cocks in a flower bed. Their other form of defense is to 'rocket' into the air.
Hundreds of pheasants surround my home - on the garden fence...
...at the bathroom window.Their proximity can be startling.
Pheasants do not sing, they squawk.
Not all shot pheasants die instantly - a hen lands of its back...
...she tries to get up...
...rolls over and dies.
It can cost £35.00 to shoot one live pheasant which when dead sells at £0.58 trade.
40% of released pheasants perish - 7% become road kill.
37% are shot and 16% survive.
Their rotting bodies are used as bait in a fox trap.
Trees play an important role in pheasant shooting, but sadly their planting is not always positive.
Different species are used for different purposes.
Poplars provide 'high' targets.
Interloping species disfigure the indigenous landscape.
Thousands of Leylandii provide shelter.
Afforestation close to a home can be oppressive.
Trees caste long cold shadows...
and diminish distant views.
Are we being held to ransom by the sport of shooting ?
I had no idea how intrusive a pheasant shoot could be.
The access route round my home.
The pheasant shoot is maintained between February and July, almost daily.
Noisy equipment and machinery is delivered and returned.
An assortment of vehicles come and go repeatedly.
Pheasants are fed from July to February - past the kitchen window.
Seed is scattered over tracks, fields and meadow.
Hoppers and feeders are filled regularly through-out the shooting season.
Relentless close access disturbs and intrudes - beneath my bedroom window
Vehicles drive straight towards the garden door...
close past the kitchen window....
and sitting room door.
People waiting to kill foxes before the pheasants are released in July.
Shooting does not stop at the end of the shooting season.
Native creatures are shot, trapped or poisoned or both.
This arbitrary imposition of gratutious slaughter on other peoples lives defies common decency.
The solution is simple – define an exclusion zone round every domestic dwelling.
"Do you think it should be legal or illegal for a group of armed people to surround another family's home for the sport of shooting?"