Shooting on a drive

Why ALL shooters should be members of a fieldsports organisation

If you shoot but are not a member 
of any fieldsports organisations, does 
that make you a freeloader? It’s a contentious question. In January 2017, I wrote: “To me, enjoying your shooting without being a member of any fieldsports organisations is short-sighted and perhaps even selfish. Surely there is an…

Sika deer

Why sika deer are posing a threat to our native reds

Sika deer and Coco Chanel When I say ‘invasive non-native species’ the first thing to spring to your mind may be mink, the American signal crayfish or Rhododendron ponticum. It probably isn’t Coco Chanel. A keen angler and worthy of more Shooting Times column space than I can offer, Chanel…

how to make an antler walking stick

How to make an antler stick

The stick. The fact that you’re reading this suggests you probably have one — quite possibly several — and for hundreds of years a stout wooden pole has been the quintessential companion of those who venture into rural parts. Delving yet further into our species’ history, the simple stick has…

Country tweed

Why tweed is the original performance clothing

Ten years ago, I was invited by a Scandinavian clothing brand to cover the launch of a new range of shooting clothing. The grand unveiling would take place at a sporting lodge in Sweden, and there would be an opportunity to trial the clothing during a day’s driven wild boar…

European roe deer

How to hunt down a stalking permission

Some poor souls seem to labour in vain to locate even the smallest and least productive area where 
they might indulge their passion 
for deer stalking. Others, more fortunate, appear to find their permissions almost by accident. Is this no more than pure luck? In some cases, possibly, but with…

partridge shooting

Walk on the wild side

Have you ever discovered that you have become fashionable by accident? Wildfowlers shared this experience a few years ago when metropolitan young men intentionally started sporting beards and looking unkempt. A game shooter’s garb, no longer ancient and malodorous, is now ‘cottagecore’, according to The Guardian’s fashion correspondent Priya Elan,…

using a pigeon hide

How to use a hide for pigeon shooting

Almost all of us, at some point over the course of a season, will end up shooting from a hide of some sort, be it a duck hide, grouse butt or, if you’re lucky, a dove blind. Each quarry species requires differing skills but the principles of shooting from a…

Red stag

The mighty stags of the English lowlands

Lockdown has been a time for daydreaming. Trapped indoors for days on end and confined to barracks during a beautiful spring, thoughts have 
now begun to return towards sporting ambitions. A friend in Yorkshire has nurtured a lifelong ambition to cast a fly into the Hampshire chalkstreams. He has been…

Simulated game day

Just how good is a simulated game day?

I wanted to know whether a simulated game day can ever be as good as a full-on game shoot, or is it just a glorified form of clayshooting? So I booked an afternoon’s sim shoot at Dovey Valley and then went on a driven shoot the next day to give…

clay pigeon shooting grounds near London

Clayshooting grounds just an hour from London

The good news is that many clay grounds have recently reopened after lockdown and more are opening daily. Below we’ve rounded up clay pigeon shooting grounds near London. We’ve marked the ones that are open again at the time of writing. None take longer than an hour to get to…

shooting geese

Should you invest in a wildfowling guide?

A couple of years ago, on a rather grey October afternoon, I was trudging around Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis with my good friend Will Martin, looking for the local goose guru. After knocking on a few wrong doors, we found him. Despite a bottle of Scotch as a…

roe deer bark

What do the different barks of a roe deer mean?

A colleague contacted me last week and told me about a roebuck that had barked at his presence in the wood, only to keep approaching him at a distance of about 30m to take a closer look. On identifying him it ran off, and he then heard the roe deer…