Common snipe in flight

The common snipe – or, as the Finnish call it, the ‘sky ram’

Facts about the common snipe Distribution: Most worldwide populations are highly migratory, breeding in Iceland and across much of Europe, Russia and northern Asia. Overwinters in Africa and southern Asia.UK distribution: British populations are largely resident or only partially migratory. Can be found across the country but more numerous in…

Waiting by a flight pond

How to create or rejuvenate a pond

Whenever I attend a farm walk organised by the GWCT, I do so with a mixture of emotions. Positive sentiments such as wonderment, revelation and inspiration jostle with less attractive feelings. Frustration and envy largely. This unwarranted green-eyed state is not due to my begrudging the success of others. Far…

wildfowling calling

What you need to know about wildfowling calls

For as long as we humans have hunted wild duck and geese, we have used decoys and calls to attract them within range of a gun, bow or sling, or to lure them into waiting nets. Most species of wildfowl are intensely social birds. They will naturally congregate in large…

grouse shooting

How LOUD should your shooting tweeds be?

Shooting tweeds should shout for joy, says Ben Samuelson There are a few fibs that we allow ourselves in shooting. The first is that we need big 4x4s. I spent many years driving to shoots in a TVR that only ever went off-road when I slid into a ditch. We…

Shooting pigeons

How pigeon feeding habits change with the seasons

Wood pigeon feeding habits We should have a mental picture of the different crops grown on our pigeon shooting permissions. But at what time of the year should we be checking them? Woodies are catholic in their choice of food, which is just as well as it is not all…

Fallow deer

How to create your own deer management plan

Deer management in 
any landscape requires 
a coordinated and well-thought-out plan. When it comes up in conversation, as it does more regularly than one would imagine, the viewpoint of those unfamiliar with deer management is more often than not, “Isn’t the aim simply to shoot as many as possible?” While…

Testing shooting jackets

Testing, testing shooting jackets

Testing shooting jackets The four shooting coats 
I was sent to trial are all so totally different from one another that to judge them in comparison is unfair and ultimately pointless. Therefore, when I was set the task of testing shooting jackets, I shifted my mindset to the one with…

first focal plane

What you need to know about focal planes

Many rifle shooters don’t really understand the difference between focal planes and it’s an aspect of rifle scopes that is often confusing to many. Basically, the difference between a first and second focal plane scope is where the reticule is positioned within the rifle scope. This affects the image seen…

keeping pheasants

How to keep your pheasants close to home

Very often, it is the little things that make a difference and will keep your pheasants closer.  This is never more accurate than when said in relation to the management of poults inside a release pen, and the area immediately outside. Attention to detail is so important, and little tweaks…

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…