shooting close to footpath

Why funding the GWCT is vital

Scientists are riding to the rescue of humankind. The UK’s scientific community is playing a globally recognised role in developing vaccines to combat the pandemic. Public and private money is being poured into research and manufacturing facilities. So why are we in the shooting community leaving the GWCT short of…

Gamekeepers

What makes a good gamekeeper?

For those of us who shoot, it is the nature of the sport that you come into contact with that unique and special brand of individual, the gamekeeper. But what do we really know about the men or women who have devoted themselves to the job? With the increase in…

Common quail

Quarry guide – quail

We don’t shoot quail in the UK and the only reason that this elusive little bird appears in this quarry guide series is that it is classified as a gamebird, even though it has no open season. Before the modern game laws, our forefathers might have added the odd one…

American hunters

How American hunters embrace respect for the quarry

Tom was showing a video to the group of people huddled around his phone screen. Someone in Texas, wearing a camouflage-print shirt and red bandana, was talking with an incomprehensible Southern twang about ‘huntin’ hogs’ and holding a military-looking rifle. The group laughed, either at the Texan’s unsophisticated zeal or…

Jay in flight

All about the jay. Garrulus glandarius

The Eurasian jay – the jay –  is a common bird with a wide distribution within Europe and Asia. It can also be found as far south as parts of northern Africa and Iran, and across to the islands of Japan. The jay – member of the crow family About…

hunt

Why do you hunt?

  I start this article with a request. We all need to engage more with defining what the future looks like. Do more than sit and critique, all too quick to suggest that someone else should be doing more. Doing more of what should be the first question. So my…

hunted by a bloodhound

What’s it like being hunted by a bloodhound?

I have lost count of the times random and faceless animal rights devotees have, on social media, offered a challenge for me to “get shot at and see how I like it” or “imagine I was the one being chased by a pack of ‘dogs’ for miles across country”. To…

salmon fishing

Why was the 2020 salmon season so good?

We’ll probably still be talking about the 2020 salmon season when we’re no longer able to get into our waders without some help from the gillie. “Aye, it was like the Ponoi, son. There were more salmon in the rivers than you could shake a stick at.” Certainly, fishermen tell…

British fieldsports

Are British fieldsports the best in the world?

British fieldsports are famous throughout the world. Despite being a small island, we punch well above our weight across an astonishingly wide range of sporting disciplines and there can be few other countries that offer such an exciting combination of fishing, hunting, shooting and stalking. As a community, we’re united…

walked up grouse

Slow down and savour

Leafing through my father’s game book, I particularly enjoy the early pages. The first entry, in a schoolboy’s overly large handwriting, simply reads, “I crept up on the pit. My first rabbit.” Despite his sparse style, I can so easily imagine the shaking nerves of a 10-year-old, as he stealthily…

shooting organisations

Should shooting organisations merge?

We are always complaining about shooting organisations. Shooters bemoan a lack of effective representation, saying our various bodies seem to settle for managing the decline of our sport. Over a pint, many agree the cause of shooting would be better served if all the existing organisations were merged into a…

A coastal brown bear (grizzly bear)

When are bears more likely to attack hunters?

Fatal bear attacks are mercifully a rare occurrence, even in the US, but high-profile deaths in recent years underline the dangers for hunters. Sometimes, imagination is all you need. It can clothe the terse words of an official report to convey a sense of the utter desperation of a situation.…

Rock ptarmigan

The elusive ptarmigan – Britain’s wildest quarry

Of all the gamebirds on the quarry list, there’s none so little known nor seldom shot as the ptarmigan. 
It may have the same open season as its more familiar cousin, the red grouse, but its favoured terrain — the high tops of Scotland’s tallest mountains — ensure that ptarmigan…

Pine martens are thriving – which poses some interesting dilemmas

Pine martens are making a comeback in Galloway. Driven to extinction in the 19th century, these enthusiastic predators were released into the Galloway Forest Park as part of a reintroduction project in the mid-1980s. The success of the project seemed uncertain at first, largely because the Forest Park sprawls across…