I hate killing wildlife, but sometimes there is no choice. Now that the cold weather has arrived we've put up the bird table, and a large rat hole appeared below it within days. I shot the first one yesterday, leaning out of an upstairs window. It's tricky as the window faces the lane and my reputation is probably bad enough without being considered a crazed gunman.
In the past few weeks we've trapped about a dozen mice. I also put down two rabbits which had myxomytosis. More heart-breakingly, I had to trap a mole which was wreaking havoc in the garden.
At least there was a reason for all of these, and the deeds quick and absolute. As I sat at my desk a few days ago the shoot was in action. I watched wounded pheasants tumble out of the sky, then leap and flutter, broken-winged on the ground, waiting for the dogs to arrive. One made it to the garden, and a ruddy-faced shooter asked to come in and get it. As he approached the bird managed to get airborne and escape into the nearby shaw so it was left there, presumably to die a slow and painful death.
I still don't understand what joy or entertainment there is in shooting birds. They should go off into the woods and shoot at each other. Now that would be sport.