Finding order in the chaos

Shooting Times & Country|July 01, 2020

Finding order in the chaos
As lockdown eases, Megan Rowland gets back out on the hill to be greeted by a thriving world, and a happy, unexpected sight
Megan Rowland

WELL, SINCE I WROTE my last column in February, it seems the entire world has fallen apart a little bit. You think you’ve got all the pieces on the board, then a tiny little virus from the other side of the planet enters the game.

It is incredibly difficult right now to gauge which way things will go over the next year and onwards from there. COVID-19 — I know, we’re all sick of hearing about it — has given everything a very thorough shakeup and the traditional rhythms and patterns of years gone by have been well and truly disrupted.

As well as the usual bureaucratic processes we have to deal with in the world of land management, as I write, the ban on open culling of mountain hares in Scotland has just slipped through parliament.

We now have to work out how and when clients will return to the hills in line with nationwide lockdowns and quarantines, how long venison prices will be painfully low, which deer to cull and when to do it, whether we’ll see a second wave and another shutdown of our game dealers. There are lots of new variables that will shape the way we work this year.

Personally, I don’t see us having clients for the 2020 season. At best, we may have a few of our English guests up for the hind cull. Having spoken to other keepers and stalkers, I don’t think we’re alone in making this judgement call either.

With many of Scotland’s stag stalking clientele coming from mainland Europe and the Scandinavian countries, a 14-day quarantine before we even meet them is completely unworkable for all of us.

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July 01, 2020