Sponsored once again by Seeland, the Shooting Times Woodcock Club has a long history. Are you eligible to join?

Seeland the Danish clothing brand has agreed to continue its sponsorship of the Shooting Times Woodcock Club Dinner that takes place in London in March.

This prestigious event is an opportunity for members of this challenging achievement to get together to enjoy a highly sociable evening, and to raise valuable funds for the GWCT Woodcock Research.

Seeland is well known for making practical, smart shooting attire for the field and is excited to showcase a sneak peek at the newest additions of its Woodcock Advanced range exclusively to the members on the night. There will also be an opportunity for members of the Woodcock Club to buy the jacket at special “club price” when the products are launched in July 2020. You can find more information about the Seeland Woodcock range here. 

The 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.

Shooting Times Woodcock Club badge

Members of the Woodcock Club get to sport this badge

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. Today the Woodcock Club is sponsored by Seeland and thus the name The Seeland Woodcock Club Dinner .

Become a member of the Shooting Times Woodcock Club

Each year, members of the club are invited to a dinner held at a prestigious venue. 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).

Past members who attended dinners recall that a feature of the occasion was a table centrepiece, consisting of a pair of cased woodcock, mounted specifically for Shooting Times. 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?

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@ti-media.com