Commercial shoots

Poor drives on commercial shoots: poor excuse or unfair demand?

In the world of commercial shooting, is it good enough to explain a poor drive by saying it was the first time through? The Paying Gun, by Matthew Alexander As shooting has become more expensive it’s only fair to the paying customer that the offering also improves. Guns are more intolerant –…

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…

fox in field

Keeping livestock safe

On a Friday in February, I waited at my burger van for Tony Jones to arrive from Yorkshire for what would hopefully be another enjoyable weekend of foxing. As usual, the weather was absolutely rotten: cold and raining, with high winds. I usually finish work at 1pm but, with the…

shooting flightline

How to get the right line for roost shooting

The local pigeon population has been patchy; some areas are holding massive numbers and others very few. Many of the larger farms and estates have drawn birds away from certain areas. This is common here and is mainly due to the large draw of gamecrops. Once they finish, birds tend to…

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…

Gamekeeper record keeping

Why gamekeepers should keep detailed records of a shoot

For gamekeepers, record keeping is so much more than five columns in a gamebook. Records, which can be as complicated or uncomplicated as you like, are key to the long-term management of a shoot. If you struggle to remember what happened last week, last month or even last year, then there…

Beaters and pickers-up

Guns, beaters and pickers-up. All on an equal footing

Whether we like it or not, most shoots have a distinct social order. It’s Guns first, then loaders (if there are any), pickers-up and finally beaters. It is a natural order, because (if you will excuse the pun) it’s usually the Guns that call the shots. However, it is always refreshing to…

Pig Hotel Brockenhurst

What is it about a Pig hotel that makes shooters feel at home?

There is a real buzz about the Pig hotel collection, started only five years ago, which stems from it doing things differently. Its commitment to growing its own food and sourcing produce locally — within 25 miles to be precise — is at the forefront of the business and runs through…

British countryside

Whatever happened to the British countryside?

Years ago, if you went from Walsall towards Litchfield on the No.6 bus, crossed the Shire Oak traffic lights and carried on for a couple of miles, you would come to a farm just before the Boat Inn. The man who farmed it was my grandfather’s best friend, a man…

man shooting .17HMR

Why the CZ 452.17 HMR is still the best for bagging bunnies

I spend a lot of time with my rifles to complement my ferreting and trapping — especially at this time of year. Not all rabbit problems are the same so I have to be adaptable, which is why my gun cabinet contains a wide variety of firearms. I certainly couldn’t operate…

pigeon dish

Where to sell your woodpigeon

A gamedealer Gamedealers will be more than happy to buy woodpigeon and, depending on the time of year and numbers available, will pay a fair price for birds in feather. You can expect about 30p to 50p for a bird in feather. It may not seem much but if you…

airgun to control woodies

How to handle woodpigeons after you’ve shot them

Once pigeons have been successfully shot and picked-up, they must be treated with respect; they are a food source and should be handled as such. At different times of year you’ve have to handle the birds differently before hanging woodpigeon in the chiller without spoiling. It is wrong to shoot a good…

Dwarf sorghum

Getting your covercrops right

The reason that most shoots change their covercrops is because of a failure, but simply changing them will not guarantee success. It is vital to be honest about the reasons for the failure and to include the factors under your control, rather than just blame the weather or bad luck. Creating a…

Cocking shoot West Sussex

Cocking Shoot, West Sussex

Technology is a wonderful thing. I have an app on my iPhone that marries OS maps with GPS, so I can say with absolute certainty that the guns shooting Triangle at Cocking Shoot in West Sussex stand in a ride cut in the woods at a height of 150m above…

wildfowling

Wildfowling ban looms for Findhorn Bay

On 8 March, Moray Council will debate a call by Friends of Findhorn Bay to ban all shooting of geese and duck on the nature reserve. Earlier this year the group presented a petition signed by locals who do not want wildfowling to continue. However the Findhorn Bay Local Nature…

Lindsay-Waddell

Lindsay Waddell NGO chairman interview

Robert Cuthbert: Did you find shooting or vice versa? Lindsay Waddell: “I spent a lot of my formative years with my aunt and uncle, a shepherd in the Angus Glens of Scotland, and “attached” myself to the local keeper, Dick Barrett. From the age of seven or eight, I spent…

Grouse moor beaters

How guns can impress the beaters

I have spent a few days on the other side of the hedge this past season and it has been, let me tell you, very instructive indeed. It is easy as a gun on a top-class driven shoot to see only the end result. That steady stream of beautifully presented…

Pigeon shooting kit

What you need to know about guided pigeon shooting

If you are new to pigeon shooting, do not have permission or simply want a hassle-free day out on the woodies, hiring a professional pigeon-shooting guide is an inexpensive way to experience shooting one of Britain’s biggest agricultural pests. But what’s in store for you and what should you expect…