The opportunity to spend a day in the company of one of the leading pigeon shooters of our era does not come round too often. So it was hardly surprising willing course attendants travelled from far and wide to descend on Long Acres Shooting Ground in Cambridgeshire to spend the day in the company of Will Garfit, a man who has shot more pigeons than most of us have ever seen.

This Shooting UK Event was scheduled to start at 9.45am but almost all the 23 participants arrived well before that, evidently keen to meet the man and perhaps let just some of his pigeon shooting genius rub off on them.

Long Acres is owned and run by Sam Grice, author of shooting instruction masterpiece Ahead of the Game, and a former schoolteacher who manages to pass on useful advice without patronising his clients. So with two doyennes of the East Anglian shooting scene in charge this Masterclass was always likely to be a success, and so it proved.

“I had all the gear and no idea – not any more. Best investment I have made in pigeon shooting in 27 years” said participant David Summerland.

Up your game

The first session allowed Will to assess the pigeon shooting experience of those present and let’s be honest it was never going to match his extraordinary level, garnered during 50 years of knocking woodies out of the skies.

TripleWill

Will emphasised the importance of reconnaissance and made some very clear points about getting everything right. If you can improve everything you do by 10 or 20 per cent you will see big improvements in your average bags.

Things to consider:

  • Careful reconnaissance is vital and this means not just trusting the farmer but actually spending time watching the field using binoculars.
  • Intelligent hide placement means not just sticking it in the obvious section of the hedgerow.
  • Will went on to demonstrate the most effective hide can and often will be situated right out in the middle of the field.
  • Thoughtful hide structure, giving priority to camouflage and ease of use.
  • Good use of decoys and rotary devices.
  • Perhaps most importantly, accurate shooting. You should be looking to shoot better than one in two.

Read Will Garfit’s Top 10 pigeon shooting tips

A clay-busting afternoon

Following the theory in the morning and a leisurely lunch on a hot July day, the afternoon was spent shooting a testing round of 100 clays, all designed to mimic every possible angle of pigeon shooting. The group split into three teams to enjoy shooting at different parts of the ground.

Tripleshoot

And with Will Garfit personally managing the stand where every gun shot from a sitting position each person in attendance benefited individually from the master’s incredibly detailed observations about shooting angles and how to make every shot that little bit easier.

Meanwhile Sam Grice was testing out instinctive shooting skills on three stands where guns were given few if any clues about where the clays were coming from – quite a challenge for some! And on the third stand roost guns got to test their skills against incomers and roost shooting targets with shooting coach Angie Watts.

Also read Which are the best chokes for pigeon shooting by Edward Watson.

This unique day offered attendants a special insight into the brain of a real life pigeon shooting legend and allowed them to spend time learning from him and, just occasionally, even suggesting a few new ideas.

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Here are another couple of quotes from enthusiastic participants:

“Very informative and enjoyable day spent with a great bunch of fellow shooters. New to the sport and learned an enormous amount from the expertise of Will Garfit. Would recommend the Masterclass day to all enthusiasts!” Rev. S.Thornton

“I would like to express my thanks for a fantastic day … and of course the great Will Garfit for also making the day such a great success!” J. Wadley

Look out for more great Shooting UK Events coming up in the near future. If you have any particular interests or tops that you would like to run an event on, please email shootingukevents@timeinc.com with your suggestions.