British fieldsports

Are British fieldsports the best in the world?

British fieldsports are famous throughout the world. Despite being a small island, we punch well above our weight across an astonishingly wide range of sporting disciplines and there can be few other countries that offer such an exciting combination of fishing, hunting, shooting and stalking. As a community, we’re united…

sporting shooting

Do shooters ‘go soft’ as they age?

Flicking through the dog-eared pages of an old shooting diary is a pleasant way to spend a spare half an hour. The further back the stories go, the better. Only recently I found a small, hardback volume from my youth. Its entries, mostly relating to pigeon shooting exploits, are sporadic…

plastic cartridge wads

Why doesn’t everyone pick up their plastic cartridge cases?

What do you do with your empty plastic cartridge cases? Plastic wads are already verboten on many game shoots. But plastic cartridge cases are another matter. They are still very much the rule rather than the exception. Unlike wads, which are blasted to God only knows where, cases are much…

Black Labrador

Why the Labrador is an endangered breed

Spot the odd one out: grey wolf, Labrador, golden jackal, coyote. All four are members of the genus Caninae, and have scientific names prefixed with the word Canis. However, a big clue is that the Labrador is the only one that can be trained to retrieve pheasants, sniff out drugs…

Fox-red Labrador

Should I get a fox-red Labrador?

I recently received this query from a reader who was wondering how a fox-red Labrador would perform out in the field. Q: My son-in-law is keen to buy a first working dog to train himself. Like many young people, he is influenced by what’s fashionable, so he’s been looking for…

Venison mince recipe

Venison and wild mushroom stuffed squash

Venison mince. I am a terror for saving little packs of venison mince for a rainy day. I pop them in the freezer and then forget about them. It was when one of these decided to tumble out of the freezer on to my foot, while I was searching for…

Audi Q3 Sportback

Audi Q3 Sportback

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I waited for the Audi Q3 Sportback, Audi’s latest Q range model, to arrive. As it pulled down the driveway, the first impression was that it certainly looked smart. The sleek, almost coupe, silhouette is rather pleasing on the eye and the larger…

walked up grouse

Slow down and savour

Leafing through my father’s game book, I particularly enjoy the early pages. The first entry, in a schoolboy’s overly large handwriting, simply reads, “I crept up on the pit. My first rabbit.” Despite his sparse style, I can so easily imagine the shaking nerves of a 10-year-old, as he stealthily…

playtraining gundog puppies

Is gundog boarding school worth it?

Q: A friend recently sent away his young springer bitch for some basic training at a gundog boarding school. It was the first time he has done this —previously he has trained his shooting dogs himself. During the time the bitch was away, he heard little from the trainer and…

Barrel length

Giving the very high birds your best shot

High bird shooting is a specialist subject. Some devote themselves to nothing else, but is there an optimum barrel length for it? It might surprise you to learn that the fashion for long barrels is nothing new. Take a look at any of the fowling 4- and 8-bore shotguns from…

pheasant shooting

How to shoot high pheasants

There aren’t many shortcuts in this game — shooting high pheasants takes practice. The only way to become really good at taking on those tall birds is to spend hours standing underneath them. That said, there are a few tricks of the trade that will set you on the path…

lead-free bullets

The pros and cons of lead-free bullets

There is a growing push towards lead-free bullets. But what are the pros and cons of lead-free bullets? These are the advantages and disadvantages as I see them and of copper bullets. There are serious considerations for both but lead shot is, of course, being phased out over a five-year…

Raw chicken wings for dogs

All about puppies and their teeth

Q: Why are puppy teeth so sharp?  A: Puppies are born without teeth but then develop two sets. A temporary, deciduous set of puppy teeth erupt around three to four weeks of age, which are replaced by 
a second set of permanent teeth that gradually replace the former, starting at…

Lamping foxes

Why you shouldn’t tackle rural crime by yourself

As sure as day follows night, hare coursing and the poaching of gamebirds and deer become more prevalent after harvest. The seasonal increase in poaching and rural crime generally isn’t for any noble reason or observation of a season of any sort, it is simply due to the fact that…

Roast partridge

Roasted partridge with moutabal, watercress and white cabbage salad

Partridges can present an especially awkward grapple. So seam the breast meat off the ‘crown’ of this roast partridge recipe and joint the legs so they can be picked up. This method works well with this partridge recipe, a platter 
of jointed roast partridge, aubergine, sesame and lemon purée and…

shooting organisations

Should shooting organisations merge?

We are always complaining about shooting organisations. Shooters bemoan a lack of effective representation, saying our various bodies seem to settle for managing the decline of our sport. Over a pint, many agree the cause of shooting would be better served if all the existing organisations were merged into a…

Gundog training

Keeping a young gundog steady on a shoot day

A suitable shooting companion should be many things. They should be hard hunting, patient on peg, calm to heel and have reliable recall. These are only a few of the key skills and attributes. The basics in training will pay dividends in the long run and are so often overlooked.…

venison biltong

A recipe for venison biltong

Venison is the perfect ingredient for making this field snack of venison biltong from South Africa. The lean, long grain strands of haunch lend themselves to the cured, bendy brittleness of biltong but, after a couple of challenging chews, it will start to soften, giving a peppery and herbal tang.…

golden retriever

Training a golden retriever

A question about golden retriever training Q: After many years of having Labradors, I have bought a working-bred golden retriever puppy. I know this breed has a reputation for being slow to mature and more challenging to train, but this youngster is a joy to work with. However, he is…

Salt Baked Rabbit

A recipe for salt baked rabbit

A very good way of cooking rabbit This was an experiment that surprisingly turned out to be 
a very good way of cooking rabbit. Traditionally, salt-baking is used for meat such as chicken and even whole fish. It seals in the moisture and steams the meat underneath, leaving 
it moist…