Many see the appeal of hunting and shooting as a throwback to our ancient hunter-gatherer instincts, where the reward for tracking prey successfully meant a good meal to take home. Even in the middle ages, shooting with a bow and arrow, called perching or sitting a pheasant, was still carried out. Again, this was mainly for food, and shows how deep rooted this activity is in humans.
Guns, or firearms, were first invented in 12th century China, where gunpowder had been available since the 9th century. However, it wasn’t until the late 1400’s that they arrived in Europe, where smaller, hand held firearms became available. It was during the 1500’s that the paper cartridge was developed, and King Henry VIII took an interest in shooting game for fun. It is from this that hunting and shooting became associated with يلا شوت wealth and prestige. As Henry VIII became more involved in the sport, he began managing his own game stocks and banning the public from shooting on his land. Eventually only those with enough land to breed game birds or deer had the privilege of shooting for fun, whenever they liked.
As the 18th and 19th centuries brought the invention of the shotgun, the Victorians became fascinated with romantic visions of days spent rambling about the Scottish Highlands, and shooting became firmly embedded as a popular past time in British culture.
Modern day shooting now often takes place on hunting estates, where people pay good money to shoot in prime locations. As such, breeding and management of game animals is under taken to ensure profitable shooting sessions. Birds such as pheasant and grouse are the most popular, with mallard, pigeon and partridge all taken home. Less common but still popular is deer stalking, where the trophy appeal is apparent.
There are three main kinds of game shooting practised today; Driven Game Shooting, Rough Shooting and Wildfowling. Driven Game Shooting takes place on managed estates, and is often a formal affair. People pay per bird and beaters with their dogs drive the game out to be shot. Ideally, the birds will fly high up, allowing a good sporting shot. Once the bird falls, gun dogs retrieve it. Rough Shooting is a more informal shoot which is becoming more and more popular. Dogs run ahead of the guns and sniff out the birds to disturb them, but they are not driven out in a long line. There is no guarantee which birds or game you will find. Finally, wildfowling is an even more informal sport, and one often practised alone, when night is falling. Here, guns lie in wait for birds or rabbits to emerge from their natural habitat, there is no driving them out with dogs or beaters, and it involves a deep understanding of animals habits, the environment, the weather and most importantly, identification of the quarry itself.