Shotgun loaders on shoot

Shotgun loaders – why they are the hidden experts of game shooting

There are two basic ways in which loaders offer their services: either they become involved with a game shooter wherever they travel to shoot, or they contact local shoots and shooting estates to offer their services as a loader to Guns visiting that particular estate. Credibility – particularly in safety…

the woodcock

The woodcock – so elusive

As both a challenge of shooting skill and a delicacy for the table, the woodcock is regarded by many shooters as an elusive and highly prized trophy. It is certainly one of the most mysterious birds among our quarry species. Most encounters with this secretive and interesting wader are of the bird on the wing. Disturbed from its…

keeper's day

Keeping everyone happy on keeper’s day

As the season draws to a close, talk among the beaters and pickers-up is of the end-of-season keeper’s days. For many gamekeepers, it is the only day of the year they get to shoot pheasants. Indeed, for some of them it might be the only day of the year they get to go shooting at all. There…

Game bird

What makes a game bird fly well on shoot days?

What makes our game birds fly well one day only to perform poorly the next? No one wants low birds that present little challenge and result in an inedible carcass along with a feeling of ‘really, what is the point?’ At the opposite end of the scale, the cruelty of excessive-range shooting is not only unacceptable but leaves a similar…

pheasant drive

What’s better? A big last drive or a big first drive?

Big last drive By Ben Samuelson It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that a lot of shooting folk are also worshippers at the gentle church of cricket. Both involve a lot of very civilised waiting around with the soothing balm of a glass or two of something being applied to ease the pain. Both…

game shooting at sunset

How to shoot more driven birds

At this time during the season, I tend to lose count of the number of times I hear Guns saying, “I got off to a really good start with my shooting, but now the wheels have fallen off …”. There are a few factors that cause this. Birds are now strong on the wing, the weather conditions…

Mark Osborne William Powell

Mark Osborne of William Powell in the hot seat

Mark Osborne was interviewed for the October 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette. Have you been out relentlessly since the Twelfth? “I was out on the Twelfth and have been out a fair bit since as we keep going as long as we need. As well as letting days, we also manage quite…

man shooting pheasants in field

Better pheasant shooting tips

The season is well under way and many of you will have no doubt already enjoyed your first outings. I’ve spoken with many gamekeepers and they are all singing from the same hymn sheet: pheasants have done well this year and in many cases have feathered up nicely too. There has been a lot of dogging-in on many…

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…

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…

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…