Woodcock Club Dinner 2023
Woodcock Club members, old and new, will be meeting again this year
After a short hiatus due to covid, the Shooting Times’ Woodcock Club is back. This year, just like in 2019, we will be holding the dinner at the Savile Club in Mayfair. It will be a chance for members, new and longstanding, to get together to celebrate one of the world’s greatest birds.
Who can join?
Membership is restricted to those who have shot a right and left woodcock and in recent years, the club has become a champion of woodcock conservation. This year, as well as hosting an auction with some wonderful lots given by Shooting Times’ friends and contributors, from ferreting with Simon Whitehead to muntjac stalking, we will be hearing from Andrew Hoodless, the Head of Wetlands Research at the GWCT, about woodcock conservation and what more can be done to create woodcock habitat.
We are also very much looking forward to hearing from the great Will Garfit, pigeon Shot and painter, on his life as a sporting artist. He will be in conversation with the Editor. In addition, we are looking forward to announcing the launch of the Club awards for woodcock conservation.
How to book
History of the Woodcock Club
Much respected, the Shooting Times Woodcock Club is a unique institution. It can be joined only through a rare and skilful 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 the then editor of Shooting Times obtained permission to acquire the rights to the club, and the transference of former members to the new institution.
Membership of this much sought-after club retained its former stringency – a gun, for instance, must not be lowered between shots and the confirmation of two witnesses was still essential. It was also to be a club with some style: the first annual Shooting Times Woodcock Club 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 it was associated with J&B Rare whisky, a bottle of which was sent to each new member and then sponsorship transferred to the Balvenie Distillery.