cocker spaniel puppy

How to teach a spaniel puppy to retrieve

Spaniels have been bred for generations to hunt out game from stick piles, patches of bramble and thick bracken banks, and a well-bred puppy should be pre-programmed to get its nose down. However, if you do too much early hunt training with a young spaniel this can become the most…

polydipsia in dogs

Why is my dog so thirsty? Is she ill?

Excessive thirst (referred to as polydipsia or PD on veterinary case notes) is not in itself a diagnosis, but it may be indicative of disease. There are, of course, some “innocent causes”, such as hot weather, prolonged exercise, change to a dry diet or increased salt in diet. Sometimes, all…

firstgundog

Buying your first gundog – what you need to know

Q: “I’m about to embark on acquiring my first gundog and I would like some advice as to what breed to buy and whether to get a puppy or a part or even fully-trained dog. Also, I’m not sure whether to keep it indoors or outside in a kennel and…

Hungarian vizsla

My Hungarian vizsla won’t hold a point. What can I do?

“I have a two-year-old Hungarian vizsla that I have been training for rough shooting and although she hunts really well she will not hold a point and will run in on the birds, which makes it difficult for me to take a safe shot. She is also sometimes reluctant to…

Break the gun down into component parts so you don't miss anything

What you need to know about buying a gun second-hand

Last year I was on the BASC stand at the Game Fair at Hatfield House. A young chap came up to me and said that he had been given my name by one of the clay coaches who thought I might be able to help him buying a gun second-hand.…

Easter holiday activities for Young Shots

What’s the best first gun for a youngster? A .410 or a 28-bore?

Which is the best first gun? My son, who is 12, is keen 
to start shooting and I am considering buying a light side-by-side .410. However, one 
of my shooting friends thinks a 28-bore might be more suitable. Which of the two is the best first gun? Many experienced shooters…

Yildiz Wildfowler Extreme

Yildiz Wildfowler Extreme reviewed by Sporting Gun

I have to say I’ve been looking forward to reviewing the Yildiz Wildfower Extreme for quite a while. I first met Mike Mogilnicki and the Entwistle gun team at the British Shooting Show in 2015, where they were promoting the side-by-side Wildfowler from Yildiz. I was impressed by the build…

Mistamina clothing

Lady Melissa Percy on why shooting is her favourite fieldsport

How important is it to get more women involved in shooting? It is great that so many more women are getting involved in shooting. It promotes the sport and is slowly taking away preconceived ideas that it’s a man’s 
sport. I love shooting and while I am a competitive girl, it’s…

what to wear clay pigeon shooting

Starting out clayshooting? Learn correctly from the start.

If you’re just starting out as a new shooter, try and steer away from being taken around a clayground with a friend. You are far better off when starting out clayshooting taking several lessons with a qualified instructor in a quiet part of a ground without spectators, where the instructor…

Working dogs

All-round gundogs – do they exist?

Most of my friends have more than one dog, they may have a spaniel or two for beating, a retriever for shooting at a peg or picking-up and a few of them even have a “terrorist” (terrier) to keep the rodent population in check. But, just imagine that you could…

pheasants on game cart

What you need to know about picking-up on a shoot

In my view, game shooting is only defensible if every bird that is shot ends up on the table. Without a decent picking-up team the chance of that happening is slight. What makes a good picking-up team and how do you get to be part of one? You need a…

ATA Sporter Action

ATA Sporter

As my search continues for a sensibly priced over-and-under for me to use at the end of the season, as well as into the spring “clay season”, I have been asked to take a look at the ATA Sporter. I looked at their semi-automatic earlier this season and was very…

teaching dog left or right

Teaching a gundog to go left and right. Should you?

This is not an uncommon question and, in my humble view, gundog handling is an important aspect of a gundog’s training and should not be discounted as simply being a “trick” or clever. If you plan to shoot over your dog, in any form, you will find it an invaluable…

Labrador

Hypothyroidism in dogs. What owners need to know

Underactive thyroid – known as hypothyroidism Let me list your dog’s clinical signs: Lethargy Weight gain Bilaterally symmetrical alopecia Skin changes Itchy skin It would seem most likely that your dog has an underactive thyroid, referred to as hypothyroidism. In very large breeds, the condition 
occurs between two and three…

bloat in dogs

What you should know about dog bloat

Risk and factors of bloat in dogs A recent study by the Royal Veterinary College’s Veterinary Companion Animal Surveillance System, which looked into the frequency, risk factors and survival of dogs that had bloat, found that of the dogs that underwent surgical treatment, 80% survived. (It should be borne in…

.22 long rifle

Is the rimfire .22 long rifle cartridge the top seller in the UK?

However an intelligent guess is that the rimfire .22 Long Rifle is leading the way. And, to do a bit more guessing, subsonic variations on the Long Rifle theme must be the most popular. The reason? Subsonic ammo for competition is more accurate than supersonic, and pinpoint accuracy is desirable…

gundog training with dummy

Gundog training – marking a dummy

The causes for problems marking a dummy Some young dogs can develop this quirk and, although it tends to disappear as time passes and they get experience of the real thing, it can be frustrating for the trainer. Eye contact is something that, as gundog trainers, we work hard to…

proof marks

Proof marks and re-proofing a gun

(Q) I read that a sportsman had to have his gun re-proofed. However, I always thought that unless a gun was being repaired or was very old, this was not necessary. What are the conditions and requirements that demand a gun should be re-proofed? C. WILD By email

clayshooting grounds

Three of the best second-hand clayshooting guns for beginners

Buyer’s brief:  “I have been shooting clays for the past six months with guns hired from the shooting ground. Most of these have been various versions of Beretta Silver Pigeons, which I do like, though I have no experience of other guns. I have a budget of £1,000 to £1,500,…