Morgan was invited to photograph the last game-bird shoot of the season, in Hartshorne, Derbyshire, where free range Mallards and Pheasants are reared from April to November in acres of conserved woodland and ancient monastic carp ponds.
The shoot is categorised as ‘driven game shooting’ and the party comprises the host, the guns, a team of beaters and the picker-ups with their retriever dogs.
‘The kids appeared noticeably calm and grown up for their age and I’m pleased to say I didn’t see one tantrum, squabble or even a mobile phone all day!
Though I didn’t particularly enjoy seeing birds shot out of the sky, I appreciate this is a traditional country pursuit and way of life for many people living in rural Britain and I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the good things that come from it. All of the quarry or ‘bag’ was to be eaten and I’m feeling that although this is a sport, it is is arguably more humane than most of the approved poultry farming methods that provide meat for our supermarkets.
Happy to say I didn’t see any prolonged suffering or cruelty and a good number definitely escaped to fly another day.
We have a pheasant who visits our garden from time to time. I’ve named him ‘Lucky’.”