loaders on a shoot

What is expected of a loader on a shoot?

The loader standing by his master, deftly handing him a loaded gun while swiftly reloading the empty one, as the birds pour over in a never-ending stream, is probably the picture that will come to mind when talking of loaders on a shoot day. What is the role of the loader in…

White Swan Inn Pickering

White Swan Inn Pickering review

Generally speaking, a close proximity to the shoot, gun storage, drying room, kennels, good fare and a comfortable bed are the first things I look for when reviewing sporting hotels. I’d now like to throw another one into the ring: the ability to remain undisturbed. There’s nothing sinister in that…

gamekeeper on horse

Meet Dragon – the last horse on the beating line?

A horse moving with a line of beaters isn’t a sight you’re going to see much these days. In fact Frank Shellard says he is probably the last person riding on the beating line in the UK. (If you know anybody else, please get in touch.) I asked him what…

pheasant shoots

Top 10 pheasant shoots

1. Bowhill, The Borders The name Black Andrew strikes fear into shooting men and women the length and breadth of the nation (and further afield) and so it should. But this notorious high bird drive is just one of many on offer at this stunning Borders shoot, less than an hour’s…

Dogs hunting rabbits

Roughshooting – point and shoot

Is there ever a good time to try to “squeeze in” a little sport? I suppose it is all dependent on the outcome. If it turns out favourably, then yes. If not, the domestic repercussions can, on occasions, be great! On this particular day, with strong gusting winds on the…

walked-up woodcock

The right way to walk-up woodcock

For many people in this country, walked-up shooting or roughshooting is how we started. It is the grass roots of our sport and, until driven gameshooting became more accessible, it was the only form of shooting that many Guns would experience. I remember as a Young Shot walking in a line with…

Turkey hunting in Michigan

Turkey hunting on Beaver Island

With another quiet chirrup, Al drew the two large turkey toms ever closer. We’d got into position before dawn, in the dark and, having slouched against the tree for a few hours with the shotgun perched on my knee, I watched spellbound as these huge creatures strutted their way towards us. The larger of the two was in range,…

Off-road driving tips

Off-road driving: Tips for shooting parties

For a large number of those who go shooting, whether to beat, pick-up or actually point a gun, one of the great joys of our sport is that we get to use our 4x4s for off-road driving, the purpose for which they were designed. For 300 and something days a…

roughshooting

The wonder of rough-shooting

Nobody doubts shooting is more popular than it ever has been. It contributes a mind-blowing £2billion to the UK economy annually. And more than 600,000 people use their gun on a regular basis. That equates to one per cent of the country’s entire population. However, independent researchers believe the actual number…

Phil Spencer game shooting

Phil Spencer talks game shooting firsts, mentors and heroes

Shooting Gazette: What was your first shotgun? Phil Spencer: “My first gun was an AYA 28 bore which was my reward for passing my Common Entrance exam aged 13.” SG: Where was your first shoot day? PS: “Two years later, on our family farm near Canterbury in Kent. The bag…

woodcock

Call for restraint shooting woodcock

In an effort to protect the woodcock population, several countryside organisations, including the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, are following the recommendation of conservationists by asking shoots to schedule any shooting until at least after November’s full moon, which falls on Wednesday 25th November. This will allow the declining resident woodcock population…

pheasant selfie

Pheasant takes a selfie

Flytipping is a scourge of the countryside. To crack down on the illegal dumping of waste in County Durham, the council installed hidden CCTV at known hotspots. But when they checked the cameras they discovered a culprit unlikely to be brought in front of the beak. A curious pheasant had…

pheasant

Sixty pheasants slaughtered in gruesome attack

The birds were decapitated and their heads impaled on fence posts at the Wasing Estate on October 10 after the attackers used catapults to knock the pheasants from their perches in the middle of the night. The estate belongs to documentary maker Joshua Dugdale, who is Prime Minister David Cameron’s cousin.…

Shooting insurance cover

Shooting insurance: what are your options?

Game shots have a unique relationship with the weather. While others cower inside, a line of guns will happily stand in the pouring rain, the familiar smell of damp tweed curling into their nostrils as they wait for the birds to fly over. Yet fortitude is not always enough, and…

New gamebird figures challenge RSPB claims

New BASC research has challenged RSPB claims that the shooting industry releases 50million birds into the wild each year. Real figure closer to 34.9million The paper, Impacts of gamebird release, says the real figure lies closer to 34.9million birds and describes the significantly higher estimate as being “based on unreliable…

grouse butt

Government comes out in favour of grouse shooting

Dr Avery’s petition is founded on his premise that: “Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which damages protected wildlife sites, increases water pollution, increases flood risk, increases greenhouse gas emissions and too often leads to the illegal killing of protected wildlife such as hen harriers.” The shooting…

The world’s smallest shoot?

Back in the 1970s I made a couple of life-changing decisions. I resigned from a secure job in banking to become a full-time writer, sold my house in suburbia and moved with my wife and four children to live in a remote area of the Shropshire-Welsh border hills. Friends told…

beaters and pickers up

Cancelled grouse shooting “will hit rural businesses”

Many rural workers could be out of a job this season as up to 70 per cent of grouse shooting days face cancellation in some regions of the country, suggested the Moorland Association (MA) last week. Prolonged extreme weather conditions, described by the MA as “the worst breeding conditions in…

Glen Clova

Local grouse communities caught in the crossfire

The grouse shooting season is now in full swing – following the annual war of words between the anti-shooting lobby and country sports enthusiasts that it always ignites. However Scottish locals who live and work alongside the grouse moors and depend upon the sport for their livelihoods take a more…