The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Come Dawn, Come Dusk

A couple days ago I finished reading "COME DAWN, COME DUSK - 50 Years a Gamekeeper" by Norman Mursell which are personal memories of his work from apprentice to head gamekeeper for several Dukes of Westminster, mainly at the Eaton Estate, from the 1930's to the 1980's.

Mr. Mursell probably could be describred as a true "pomp and circumstance" Englishman, and if Non-Comissioned Officers are the true keepers of regimental history, then gamekeepers have the same mission when it comes to the many forms of "shooting" (meaning the taking of fowl by means of a shotgun) in Great Britain in general and England in particular.

"Come Dawn, Come Dusk" presents in a unique way the various aspects of animal husbandry and game management that were and are required to rear the large amount of game birds including pheasants, partridges and mallards in order to have the numbers that make driven shoots possible, as well as forestry and vermin control activities to go hand in hand with the blood sports.

I believe that it is hard for most of us to imagine the real cost and effort to maintian extensive estates, gamekeepers, foresters and all other sort of manpower in order to create entertainment for selected guests of the likes of Winston Churchill and the Prince of Wales for a handfull of days a year.

Even if "shooting" at Eaton or other high-end driven shoots is quite different from the bird hunting that I am used to, which I believe is called rough shooting in the UK,  and most of game pursued ends up in high scale restaurants both in London and the continent instead of my Big Green Egg, I would like to try that extravaganza some time in my life.

1 comment:

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