It being that time of year we spent the morning shooting turkeys. To get a clean kill you need to aim for the eyes, but more of that later.
I’m with my youngest daughter Sara who, at 13, is one of the junior members of the gun club. It’s perishing today, but there’s a glimmer of warmth in our hide from the wood burning stove and we are sustained by bacon barm-cakes (this is Blackburn) cooked on a brazier under a canvas shelter outside. Sara has asked for a gun for Christmas, which suits her image as a gangsta rapper (see – http://www.slow-life.co.uk/2011/10/30/with-red-blaze-at-britains-got-talent/) and is getting in some target practice.
I think I’m doing well hitting a two inch target from 30 yards but to Sara that’s child’s play – her target is half an inch at 35 yards. We are shooting across a valley, with a roaring stream below and a waterfall to one side. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, but a cloud is hanging over the club – a dark bureaucratic cloud. Even though the club operates (and has done for 16 years) on private farmland up a private lane, far away from any habitation and doesn’t create any noise or disturbance (the guns are .22’s with silencers) it’s under threat of closure by the local planners. Of the 160 members the oldest is 90, but the club is of greatest value to the youngsters who, I would say, are far better off practicing a sport in woodland than playing Call of Duty indoors.
As for the turkeys, they are drawn onto paper targets – we have to get our Christmas turkey at the butchers like everyone else.