The Guns and Beaters of Norfolk
Hunting is being threatened within contemporary cultures, legislation is encroaching with the impetus of liberal policy moving in the direction of extinguishing this past-time, yet the social norms associated with it are collateral damage as many aspects of hunting are intertwined with particular cultures, especially within the United Kingdom (UK). Since 2004 the UK has relied upon The Hunting Act 2004 legislation so as to restrict certain types of hunting. Yet, those affected by this legislation continue to embrace hunting, to understand their perspective FLINT correspondent, Kieran McMullan hit up Norfolk to meet with the Guns and Beaters, the Beaters are locals and the Guns are the hunters that “pay to play”.
Norfolk is rich in tradition and heritage, with hunting being intertwined in the cultural identity of the region, many believe it’s an ethical source of meat and want to ensure its longevity. Despite the perennial animosity hunters face, I believe there’s an importance embedded within this tradition. And it’s this tradition that goes largely unrecognised in the UK today.
The whole operation whilst on a pheasant shoot feels almost like a performance; the shooting, the attire, the dogs and the raillery in between. I followed the Guns and Beaters on the Hoveton Estate, in Norfolk during the Winter of 2015 to chronicle the very essence of hunting.
The land is maintained by the gamekeeper year round. During the season, game shooters are willing to pay large sums of money to participate — a lot rides on the limited days of the shoots.
This work is an ongoing long form project, something I am passionate about pursuing and covering photographically. The world of hunting is something I think modern culture should be subjected to.