Among the lucky shooters who have shot both grouse and pigeon, there is a long-standing debate about which of these birds takes the more skill to shoot and provides the most testing sport.

During a conversation with a friend at The CLA Game Fair, I came up with a fairly adventurous idea to see if this debate could be laid to rest. Having been lucky enough to have shot grouse in most months of their season and in some very testing weather conditions, I find it difficult to decide between the two. However, decoying pigeon is very different from standing in a grouse butt, keeping a 360° watch on what’s going on, making sure you are alert and that you cover your safe angles of fire from both the front and back of the butt at all times. Yes, pigeon offer speed, angles and an ability to flare like no other bird, but I needed a more robust way to compare them to decide for myself which of the two is the more sporting bird. Would one come out the winner in my view? This is how, in the first week of the 2013 grouse season, I did something very different. I turned a field of rape stubble into a grouse moor.