Find out more about the history of the Shooting Times Woodcock Club.

Much respected, the Shooting Times Woodcock Club is a unique institution. Worldwide, there are few others that carry as prestigious a reputation, or can be joined only through a rare and skillful feat of sportsmanship under demanding conditions.

Established in 1949 as a promotional vehicle for the Dutch Bols Liquer company, the club was originally known as the Bols Snippen Club (BSC). Such was its instant appeal that, by 1970, it had more than 2,000 members, many of them from Great Britain and Ireland. In 1966, from a total of 52 new members, 22 were recruited from England, five from Ireland and nine from Northern Ireland. It was also the intention of the BSC to further knowledge of woodcock through grants and financial assistance to researchers.

Right-and-left at woodcock before two witnesses

The privilege of membership through the achievement of a right-and-left at woodcock before two witnesses is still the entrance pass to the club. Members proudly sport their club tie and the badge, with its four pin feathers.

In 1983, as Editor of Shooting Times, my attention was drawn to the fact that the Bols Liquer Company had decided not to continue with the club. I obtained permission to acquire the rights to the club, and the transference of former members to the new institution.

I was determined to ensure that the terms of membership of this much sought-after club would retain their former stringency – a gun, for instance, must not be lowered between shots and the confirmation of two witnesses is still essential. It was also to be a club with some style: our first annual dinner, a black-tie affair, took place in the Guildhall at Windsor, accompanied by a Scottish piper and speeches.

The club has always enjoyed the benefits of sponsorship: in the early years we were delighted to be associated with J&B Rare whisky, a bottle of which was sent to each new member; subsequently, sponsorship transferred to the Balvenie Distillery, an association that continued until 2004.

Become a member of the Shooting Times Woodcock Club

Each year, members of the club, of which there are now 1,410, are invited to a dinner held at a prestigious site countrywide. These occasions provide an opportunity for members to meet, exchange news, discover aspects of the latest woodcock research and also to contribute to the important research into woodcock carried out by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

Until a decade or so ago, members who attended dinners may recall that a feature of the occasion was a table centrepiece, consisting of a pair of cased woodcock, superbly mounted specifically for Shooting Times and the club by talented taxidermist Sean Connell. For some curious and unexplained reason, however, the case disappeared and has not been seen or heard of since. Maybe a reader has knowledge of its whereabouts as the magazine is eager to rediscover the case for future dinners.

Looking back to 2008

The 2008 Shooting Times Woodcock Club dinner was held on 26 April in the elegant surroundings of the Founder’s Dining Room at Royal Holloway University, in Egham, Surrey. During the night members and guests raised over £4,000 pounds to fund Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust research into the woodcock by bidding on auction lots given by various supporters. Bidding was strong on fishing lots from Roxtons, woodcock shooting and stalking lots from The Gearach Estate on Islay and sporting clothing from James Lock and Co, Barbour and Musto. One of the highest prices paid on the night was for an original painting of a woodcock in flight produced by artist Owen Williams especially for the evening.

In a departure from the normal format, guests also raised £1,000 for a second important cause, Help for Heroes. The charity, founded last year by sporting cartoonist Bryn Parry, has so far raised £4.5million in order to fund rehabilitation projects for soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a dedicated swimming pool at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court, just down the road from Royal Holloway in Surrey. In a moving after dinner speech, Mr Parry told his audience of the story behind the remarkable success of the charity, as well as the support that has been especially forthcoming from the fieldsports community.

If you have shot a right-and-left at woodcock and would like to become a member of the Shooting Times Woodcock Club, or if you require details and tickets for this year’s club dinner, please contact Sarah Pratley, the club secretary on 01252 555 220 or email sarah.pratley@timeinc.com. 

  • Pete The Perv

    I shot the neighbour’s wife a glance that said “I’ll see you right” and left as I had got wood (my cock was hard)

    What do I win?

  • Peter Glover

    Hi, could you please mail me the details on how to claim a tie for shooting a left and right on woodcock please. Many thanks Peter Glover.

  • Donnie mac neill

    JAN 2011
    John Pateman shot his second left and right and leslie frost shot his first left and right at callumkill Islay

  • Geoffrey Templeton

    Would you be so kind as to let me know at what time we should arrive at Castle Howard in order to enjoy the tour before the champagne reception ? I need to make sure my host, myself and our wives set out from North Wales in good time !

    Diolch yn fawr iawn !

  • RICHARD GEOFFREY PASCOE

    I shot two woodcock with a left & right on 18/01/2010. This event was witnessed by my shooting partners. Could you please forward me an application form so I may register this event.
    Many thanks yours sincerely

    Mr R G Pascoe

  • harry partridge

    i have just shot 2 woodcock wilst out with my dad
    i am 13 years old and my dad is anoyed because he ha not shot a right and left before shortely after
    i shot another 1 so i had a good time

  • steve mueller

    Dear Sir/Madam
    I shot two Woodcock with a right & left on 18/12/2009. This event was witnessed by my shooting partner. Could you tell me how to acquire a tie and badge for this achievement.

    Regards,
    Steve Mueller.

  • Ivan Pick

    Dear Sir / Madam,
    One of our syndicate members shot two woodcock with a right and left on Saturday 21st November. I witnessed the event as did another gun next in the line. Could you be so kind as to send an application form so we can nominate Mr Simms the fellow concerned for inclusion in your prestigious club.

    Kind rgds
    Ivan Pick
    Shoot Captain The Shortwood Shoot.

  • Elizabeth Jeffery

    Hello
    Would you let me know the location of the 2010 Woodcock dinner is.
    Thank you
    Liz Jeffery

  • Peter Cook

    Dear Sir
    I became a member of STWC on 17th Jan 2004 – my membership number is STWC 5087. I received my certificate and bought my tie but have never had a badge. Can you please let me have details of how I can purchase a new tie and a badge?

    Thanking you in anticipation

    Kind regards

    Peter Cook

  • sharon dennis

    my husband joined the bols club in aprox yr 1980
    by shooting a right and left woodcock.
    the club sent him a silver and enamel badge.
    can you tell us any more about this club and its members up to this date

  • Paul Rossi

    Dear sirs as enquired in previous listed comments I too received a badge and certificate earlier this year but no tie or tipple .I am curious if these are available.Regards Paul Rossi.

  • PETER SMITH

    asmy daughter jioned this prestigous club earlier this year and has recieved her beautiful badge and certificate but has not yet recieved any tiple as mentioned in these articals I wonder if this has now ceased
    regards Pete Smith

  • Freddie Tunnard

    Dear Sir, this season i gained a certificate and badge for shooting a right and left of woodcock. I have seen people wearing a woodcock tie, please may you give me any information about obtaining one. look forward to hearing from you.
    Regards Freddie Tunnard