Can this be legal?

I was out for a walk along the Tarka Trail at Instow on Saturday.

To my disbelief, at the point where there is a sign reading “public footpath” – which points to a field which leads on to the beach (and where there are picnic tables and chairs – there were some 10 balaclava-clad brave men in full “battledress” carrying shotguns, which they were firing off across the fields (which were full of cattle)!

I could hardly believe what I was seeing – and neither could other walkers with children, who were horrified.

I am unsure what type of wildlife they were out to kill on a sunny Saturday morning – on a public footpath right of way and in full view of the public.

When I was actually on the beach, others who had heard the commotion suggested that they were encircling a fox. Ten against one seemed just about the right odds for these brave men.

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I telephoned the police to enquire whether a possible criminal act had taken place. It appeared there was nothing to investigate as I hadn’t reported it whilst it was actually taking place!

When I made it known that I was not satisfied with the response I was getting, an alternative was suggested to me – which I have carried out to the letter – and am now awaiting a telephone call.

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Surely whether they had the permission of the farmer concerned is not the issue? Can anyone actually on a public footpath or adjacent to it simply start letting off firearms?

I do not want anyone telling me that accidents don’t happen. If this is not against the law then it jolly well ought to be!

With the appalling incident which has just occurred in the USA, one might have expected these shooters/farmers or whoever, to have just been a little more sensitive before spoiling what was to many a lovely morning stroll with their families.

Incidentally, I recall with some pleasure (and now sadness) the mother fox and two cubs I saw in that field, one very early bright morning.

I do just wonder what message we are sending out to our children?

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