Mobile phones in the field

Do mobile phones have a place in the field?

Crucial phones By Ben Samuelson It was only a couple of generations ago when our late king wouldn’t have seen much use for a mobile phone on a day’s shooting. He took his private train down to his private station, had an excellent morning’s sport, lunch and a quiet hour after before bumbling back to…

Secrets of successful winter pigeon shooting

Due to the mild weather, this year’s autumn drillings went well, the best they have for a few years — it was more like shooting over spring drillings. With the new farming schemes, there have been a lot of over-wintered stubbles, which is encouraging, and mustard has been the crop of choice for the green cover crop schemes in…

man shooting on moor

Good days, bad days

I came off a dawn flight clad top to toe in camouflage, including a baseball cap given to me in the US, with my over-and-under magnum-chambered 12-bore and fowling cartridges in the boot. In the estate yard I joined the beaters for the day’s pheasant shoot, but when the host discovered that a guest Gun had suddenly had…

pigeon in field

The myth of pigeon pattern

As you would expect, I spend a lot of time watching pigeons, from picking up flightlines to trying to find their favourite field at any given time of year. I get plenty of opportunity to watch birds on the ground, and to observe how they cover the ground while feeding. After 50 years of doing this, I can…

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…

gunfitting session

How to really blow £300 on shooting

Game cookery courses With so many shoots now offering an oven ready brace more guns than ever can share the harvest of their sport with others; but what if you want to improve your knowledge of game butchery and your preparation skills? There are day-long courses during the season at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ in Devon…

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…

red legged partridges

Greedy shot or good sport?

I was talking to a fellow picker-up a few years ago about the performance of the team of Guns visiting the shoot that day. My colleague, who liked to give his dogs plenty of work, was mightily impressed by them but I had to partially disagree. Admittedly, they were decent performers but were not particularly discerning, with a couple of…

shoot lunch

How to host a shoot lunch

The perfect shoot lunch depends as much upon the style of shoot as it does upon the lunch itself. Neither cold pork pies at a double gun 400 bird day nor three-course lunch at a rough day wildfowling are likely to go down well. So a perfect shoot lunch can…

ramshackle hut

Bewitchingly beautiful but spooky

From the first moment I saw Cambridgeshire’s Ouse Washes, a bewitching spell was cast over me. I was enchanted by the wildfowl as I peeped over the bank, enthralled by the sight of those semi-flooded  flat lands between the floodbanks, where all sorts of duck could be seen. To stand and stare down the  ooded washes into the…

shooting companion

How to be an excellent companion on a shoot day

Shooters are generally a friendly lot and will welcome a new face. Read up a bit on clayshooting/pheasant shooting and partridge shooting before you go out and learn the difference between driven shooting and rough shooting. For more in-depth knowledge on some of the terms you’ll hear when you’re new…

working spaniel

There’s more to picking-up than meets the eye

The aim of a good picker-up is not just to come back to the gamecart laden with dead birds, but also to find those illusive runners and pricked birds. A good picker-up and their team of dogs will make every effort to sweep an area, not leaving any injured or dead birds behind. It takes dedication and determination, as…