gamekeeper's apprenticeship

The gamekeeper’s apprentice

The countryside is a wonderful place to work, and the men and women who toil away at forestry, farming and gamekeeping play a vital role in its upkeep and the diversity of wildlife that lives in it. Countryside-based jobs are thought to give you greater satisfaction and feelings of well-being…

keepering abroad

Shooting job opportunities abroad

Last summer I was discussing the releasing of duck in Hungarian. Speaking through a translator, my host asked me whether we in England reared and released duck for shooting. I confirmed that we did indeed, and went on to explain that on the college shoot that my students run we…

Best shooting instructors in the UK

Best shooting instructors in the UK

Whether based at West London Shooting School, E.J. Churchill, Royal Berkshire Shooting Ground or Barbury Shooting School, the UK is home to some of the world’s best shooting instructors. Many of the top 10 shooting instructors listed below have been at the top of their game for almost as long…

Getting the pheasant pen ready

Neil Baldock is a gamekeeper working on a low-ground shoot in Wiltshire. The farm comprises of 600 acres of mixed arable and small woodlands that were planted specifically for shooting. There is a large duck pond and the topography can only be described as rolling. The shoot has been running for…

buzzards

Our sport has a reputation to uphold

The line in the email subject box said: “Watch this, NOW!” The sender was a shooting colleague and he’d sent me a link to a YouTube clip. Curiosity got the better of me so I opened the link. I wish I hadn’t! No, it wasn’t a computer virus — it…

spot tb in deer

How to spot TB in deer

The first recorded instance of tuberculosis having been transferred from a cat to a human was reported recently. I wonder if this surprised any of us whose work involves animals. I have to say, it didn’t surprise me. TB, or to be exact, bovine TB, is what is classed as…

harris tweed being woven

Harris Tweed

“It’s not all old. Brand new in 1970,” Donald John Mackay replied when I asked him whether his loom is an old one. “This’ll be it for me. I bought it in 1984, but I won’t need another.” Coincidentally, 1970 is when Donald started weaving. “My aunty set me up…

Changing attitudes to firearms

“A great deal, of late, has been said and has been written against shooting. It has been denounced as unnatural, cruel, useless, and absurd.” I like that, but the words are not mine. They were written in 1876 by Wildfowler, the nom de plume of Lewis Clement, who was to…

Avocet

Gamekeepers’ conservation evidence is valid

When the "conservation" community dismisses the evidence of those with direct experience of the natural world, it is, effectively masking the truth, writes Lindsay Waddell, chairman of the National Gamekeepers' Organisation

fieldsports scotland

What Scottish independence means for fieldsports

I can honestly say not one person has asked me about independence,” says Robert Rattray, hand dramatically over his heart. As the head of CKD Galbraith’s sporting lets agency in Perth, Robert is someone you’d expect to be asked about the future for Scotland’s £360million fieldsports industry, should the nation…

boar led

Old-school, slower bullets contaminate less meat

Research has shown that though deer shot with lead-cored jacketed bullets do show increased levels of lead, even as far away as the haunches, though it is still less than is found in farmed domestic meat and less than in mussels and other seafood. But there is a way to…

CAP reforms could mean more peas for pigeon

Reforms to farm funding announced by environment secretary Owen Paterson could mean a boost for pollinators and pigeon shooters, but have been greeted with dismay by a number of wildlife and conservation groups. The minister’s announcement set out how the £15billion of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds would be distributed…

Partridge and pheasant shooting at Bowhill, Scottish Borders

Partridge and pheasant shooting at Bowhill, Scottish Borders

Shortly before the first drive started, a sparrowhawk emerged from the highest cluster of oak trees and twinkled her wings in the bright sunlight. Against a cloudless blue sky, the little hunter passed directly over my head at a fantastic height, pausing once to wheel and turn before vanishing behind…

lady gun

Ladies-only shooting: Girls with guns want more than fun

The outlook for women in the shooting world is looking reasonably rosy these days. It’s not merely a matter of there being more patronisingly pink skeet vests, fuschia-trimmed tweeds and shotguns with flouncy flowery engraving on sale in shooting shops, nor is it simply the case that there is an…

blind decoying

Using a Blind for crow decoying

A layout blind is an incredibly versatile bit of kit when it comes to deployment in the field. The blind itself is made from waterproof camouflage sheeting similar to a ground sheet. My blind has a mossy oak shadow grass pattern printed on it, which is a good base colour…

Shot Gun Certificate appeals

The recent announcements by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association (CPSA) about their standard members’ insurance can only be welcome news to shooters. They will shortly extend their coverage to include costs incurred appealing police decisions in respect to the refusal or…

Queen’s Head Hotel Berwick review

Queen’s Head Hotel Berwick review

Tucked away in the centre of Berwick, the Grade II listed six-bedroom Queen’s Head Hotel has been under the stewardship of Garry and Jo-Anne Greenaway for the past 14 years. We found the hotel easily enough after a pleasant three-and-a-half hour drive from Nottinghamshire, the fact the road running immediately…