preparing for the new season

How to prepare for the new season

If you haven’t already been busy shooting grouse and still need to get prepared for the forthcoming 2016/17 season, now is the perfect time to do it. What follows is my “hit list” of what to make sure you have covered before you head into battle. Lessons and practice This is the time to iron out…

release pens

How to manage release pens correctly

Time and again as I wander into the depths of a wood in my role as a Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) game adviser, I come across an embarrassment. The combination of tatty fencing, battered feed drums, broken drinkers, bags hanging from branches, and other mess is a dreadful advert for shooting. Add a bit of over-stocking to…

DIY shoot

How to start up your own DIY shoot

Can you recall a time when the roughshoot, that splendid amalgam of sport, offering the odd walked-up pheasant or perhaps a partridge, a snipe, a mallard and a brace of rabbits, was a readily available alternative to the organised driven day? If you can then you have reached a certain…

Biosecurity

How to improve the biosecurity on your shoot

Biosecurity is a set of preventative measures designed to protect a farm or rearing field from the entry and spread of infectious diseases. Disease can be spread a number of ways: through contaminated feed, water, equipment, vehicles or people; contact with other flocks or the wild bird population; via faeces and secretions…

Sir Nicolas Soames game shooting

Sir Nicolas Soames MP for Mid Sussex interview

Sir Nicolas Soames MP was interviewed in the May 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette. Robert Cuthbert: What was last season like? Sir Nicolas Soames: “It was fantastic, a bit patchy, but I did have an amazing grouse season. I was lucky enough to shoot some wild grey partridge, but they…

man shooting over dog

Shooting memories I’d rather forget …

Following a conversation I had with someone at a game fair recently, I realised that despite there being many thousands of gundogs working in the field not many of their owners have shot over their dogs – and I think there are a lot of people missing out on a…

Richard Ali BASC

Richard Ali BASC chief executive interview

Richard Ali was interviewed in the April 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette. Shooting Gazette: What have been BASC’s major achievements over the three years you have been in the hot seat? Richard Ali: “We’ve had a great deal of success but of course there is still a lot to do.…

Col. John Blashford-Snell

Col. John Blashford-Snell OBE interview

Robert Cuthbert: We’re lucky to catch you… you’re away exploring again soon, Colonel. Col. John Blashford-Snell: “I’m going to Colombia soon to work with the Wiwa Indians. They have been severely treated and have never really dealt with anybody from the outside world other than terrorists and paramilitaries. We are…

pheasants in pen

Golden rules for rearing gamebirds

With more than 200 gamefarms and business members, and a history going back to 1908, the Game Farmers’ Association (GFA) is in a unique position to share its wisdom with anyone thinking of going into game rearing. It won’t provide detailed “how to do it” advice; there are almost as many ways to rear…

Researchers show how to breed a fitter, stronger pheasant

Researchers from the University of Exeter have discovered some useful tips for improving the ability of pheasants to flourish out in the wild. Firstly, if poults are given access to raised perches in pens they tend to grow bigger and stronger leg bones, are able to fly higher and can…

game birds

Game birds: What happens to the 35,000,000 released yearly?

When it comes to game birds, for many shoots around the UK, last season was one of mixed results, much influenced by the exceptional weather we experienced or, in many cases, suffered. The GWCT put a figure of approximately 35 per cent as the national average return of released pheasants…

poultry pheasants

Can you feed ordinary poultry layers pellets to pheasants?

Q: Can you feed ordinary poultry layers pellets to pheasants? Will they still lay and hatch the same? We only have a few and don’t really know where to get hold of the proper pheasant layers pellets and can buy the poultry ones locally. A: You can. There is a difference between…

Chris Warren

What does a gamekeeper do on a shooting estate?

I have visited a lot of shoots for Shooting Gazette and interviewed and photographed many a gamekeeper, but I have never spent the entire shooting day with a gamekeeper seeing the shoot day from his point of view. As the gamekeeper is the core around which a shoot rotates that…

British countryside

Whatever happened to the British countryside?

Years ago, if you went from Walsall towards Litchfield on the No.6 bus, crossed the Shire Oak traffic lights and carried on for a couple of miles, you would come to a farm just before the Boat Inn. The man who farmed it was my grandfather’s best friend, a man…

Dwarf sorghum

Getting your covercrops right

The reason that most shoots change their covercrops is because of a failure, but simply changing them will not guarantee success. It is vital to be honest about the reasons for the failure and to include the factors under your control, rather than just blame the weather or bad luck. Creating a…

Cocking shoot West Sussex

Cocking Shoot, West Sussex

Technology is a wonderful thing. I have an app on my iPhone that marries OS maps with GPS, so I can say with absolute certainty that the guns shooting Triangle at Cocking Shoot in West Sussex stand in a ride cut in the woods at a height of 150m above…

Lindsay-Waddell

Lindsay Waddell NGO chairman interview

Robert Cuthbert: Did you find shooting or vice versa? Lindsay Waddell: “I spent a lot of my formative years with my aunt and uncle, a shepherd in the Angus Glens of Scotland, and “attached” myself to the local keeper, Dick Barrett. From the age of seven or eight, I spent…

Grouse moor beaters

How guns can impress the beaters

I have spent a few days on the other side of the hedge this past season and it has been, let me tell you, very instructive indeed. It is easy as a gun on a top-class driven shoot to see only the end result. That steady stream of beautifully presented…