wildfowling seasons

Wind, wigeon and heritage

At last, the wildfowling season has begun. My jacket steams in the shed, waders are caked in mud, a faint odour of samphire and salt lingers over the computer as I type. Best of all, truly wild birds hang in the garage. The wait has ended. Rain has arrived. A…

hand crafted firearm

The art of hand-crafted firearms

One of the most common statements heard when referring to famous engravers of the past is that they were “ahead of their time”. Engravers such as William Caslon, William Palmer and Henry ‘Harry’ Albert Kell, among others, made a huge impact in developing their craft. But if you were to…

Arthritis in dogs

Are chocolate Labradors poor retrievers?

I was asked recently about my opinion on a dog’s eye colour. The inquirer felt if a Labrador had light-coloured eyes, it was more prone to be skittish and wild. It was something I had never even considered. I have always preferred a Labrador with darker pigment around their eyes…

driven shooting

The origins of driven shooting

Throughout the UK and Europe, driven shooting has become one of the most popular facets of our sport. According to BASC, of the 600,000 people who hold shotgun certificates, more than 55 per cent shoot driven game. The release of game for sporting purposes, involving pheasants and mallard, began in…

spaniel retrieves a pheasant

Gameshooting in Wiltshire – sport as it’s meant to be

Say what you will but I don’t always wear a tie in the field, remember to fill out my game book, nor ever really use my side-by-side. I am not a traditionalist and yet, as I looked down the line at well-dressed Guns, silhouetted against the clear Wiltshire sky with…

Beretta A400 Upland 12-bore

Beretta A400 Upland 12-bore

It seems to be the season 
to review semi-automatics, 
with the latest offering — 
a new A400 Upland 12-bore 
— coming from Beretta. This one is a little sexed up compared with our last two camouflaged offerings, with a wooden stock and nickel-plated action, complete with some pheasant and partridge…

shotgun cartridge history

The evolution of the shotgun cartridge

I am going to concentrate on shotgun cartridge history and how it got to be what it is today — the cheap, waterproof, reliable, effective, safe and consistent item on which we all rely to deliver success, whatever target we engage. After all, a gun, however expensive and sophisticated, is only…

lead shot to steel

Is it time to move away from lead shot to steel?

We were deep in a ditch on the Orkneys. There was a tumbling grey northern sky above us and an icy wind. The peninsula’s greylag goose population was not playing ball. They went to the right 
of us, they went to the left, they landed on the barley 100 yards…

Breda 3.5in Super Magnum

Breda 3.5SM Kyrptek Mandrake

This month’s gun on test is a 12-bore with a pretty impressive name: Breda 3.5in Super Magnum in Kryptek Mandrake camouflage. Researching the camouflage pattern revealed it’s designed for hunting in dark timber or Georgia pines and excels in dark forest surroundings or the jungle. I’m not sure the average…

wild ducks in flight

Lead shot shown to be major cause of bird deaths

Spent lead shot significantly weakens the immune systems of wild birds and is a major cause of death, according to a newly released scientific paper. The paper entitled Immunotoxic effects of lead on birds was published in Science of the Total Environment. The harmful effect of spent lead shot on…

gundog puppies

How to give your gundog puppy the best start in life

Over the coming months, many gundog bitches will cast off the lissom figures they acquired during the shooting season. They will take on a more matronly demeanour of pregnancy as they are given the important job of producing a litter of spring or summer puppies. But how prepared are first-time…

Tips for airgunners

5 tips for airgunners

Mat Manning offers five key tips for airgunners to improve their fieldcraft 1. Go on a reconnaissance mission Reconnaissance around your shooting permissions will help you to target the right places at the right time but all wildlife observation is beneficial — whether in the field, car, park or garden. Observing…

Isuzu D-Max Utal Huntsman Plus

Isuzu D-Max Utah Huntsman Plus reviewed out in the field

I was waiting eagerly for the Isuzu Huntsman to turn up, and at first glance it has the air of a stealth fighter about it, particularly in this colour with black wheels. If Bruce Wayne had a 4×4 in the cave, it would probably have been the Huntsman. The D-Max…

lead ammunition

The EU is moving towards an outright ban on lead shot

The European Union has taken a major step towards a full ban on lead shot. Wetlands The EU has been in the process of implementing a ban on the use of lead over wetlands for some time and a move to restrict the use of lead in other environments has…

Sticky Asian wild boar ribs recipe

Sticky Asian wild boar ribs

If by some turn of unfortunate events, I were to eat my last meal tomorrow and I had a choice 
of what to have, I would most likely go for sticky Asian wild boar ribs. Notoriously destructive, wild boar have always fascinated me. In recent years, their numbers have dropped slightly in…

walked-up shooting

How to tackle common species when walked-up shooting

Successfully walking-up any quarry and making the most of your opportunities is not as as straightforward as people often think. Here I will go into specific details about how 
to tackle commonly encountered species. The most frequently made mistake among would-be rough Shots is to head to the local clay…

young gamekeeping apprentice

What happens when a gamekeeper loses his job?

I would hazard a guess that many 
a captain of industry who also runs a shoot listens as carefully to his gamekeeper as he does to his finance director. Not that he pays them the same. Gamekeepers are an iconic species. An ancient and highly respected profession, keepering is small…

gun stocks

How to choose the wood for your gun stock

When deciding to re-stock a gun with a new piece of walnut, a lot of thought needs to be applied before gun stock (known in the gun trade as a blank) is chosen and any wood gets cut. As with many aspects of gunmaking and repair, a little knowledge can…