Regional game councils are worth considering

50 January 6, 1970 Game SM Farm

Country sports, once by tradition only a privilege of the rich, now provide leisure recreation for those with more modest means.

The angler in Northern Ireland can fish vast stretches of well-stocked water for the fee of a few pounds.

The man with gun and dog can find cheap sport, too, but his reward for a hard day’s walking across bog and farmland is often disappointing.

Now the Ministry of Agriculture is setting the pattern to turn this Province into a sportsman’s paradise.

The Northern Ireland Ministry is the only government body in the United Kingdom to undertake preservation of wild life as well as fostering the interests of sportsmen.

Shooting on government owned forest lands, either by long lease or by day permits, is proving to be popular at prices that all can afford.

Annual rents for forests are tending to rise but can start at £20. As they become vacant the shooting rights to many of these forests are usually let by tender in the early part of the year by the Forestry Division. Even £50 and upwards, shared amongst a few friends, is a small price to pay for a shoot of one’s own.

Appealing to sportsmen who have no facilities to rear birds, day permits on well stocked ground are excellent value at 15 guineas. Not only are these pheasant shoots popular with local people, they are a great attraction for visitors from our towns.

The Forestry Division find sportsmen come from all parts of Ireland to their organised grouse shooting and that their driven pheasant shoots, amongst the finest in the country, are usually booked out.

Guns who would like a day at the pheasant should make inquiries at their nearest county agricultural office or to the Forestry Division, Crown Buildings, Omagh.

Visiting sportsmen are a fringe benefit for farm guesthouses and our country hotels. Every gun would, on an average, spend £10 during an overnight stay.

One country hotel advertises a weekly tariff, including shooting, at £70.

Farmers all over Ulster could find, in following the lead set by the Forestry Division, a potential source of new money.

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