pheasant shooter in corn field

Maximising shoot returns

It is all very well saying that shooting is about the day and the size of the bag is almost an irrelevance. I agree that the number of birds in the bag is rarely related directly to how much pleasure we get from being out with our friends. But at…

VW Amarok Highline

VW Amarok Highline reviewed by Shooting Times magazine

Renowned for hot hatches and hip camper vans, VW is one of the most recent manufacturers to add a pickup to its commercial range. Refreshingly, no badge swaps were involved in the making of this vehicle, which is novel in this day and age. First impressions are very smart; almost…

grey partridges

A hopeful future for wild partridges

Grey partridges are an addictive and infuriatingly mercurial benchmark of conservation success — 
or failure. The moment you take an active role in their welfare and the enhancement of their habitat, you have fallen down a rabbit hole. The brief moments of joy when you see a healthy brood in…

Snipe shooting

Want to increase snipe numbers? These habitat improvements make a significant difference

Craigenputtock House has been sitting in the rural splendour of upland Dumfriesshire since the 11th century. Once the home of Thomas Carlyle, one of Scotland’s most influential authors, it has borne witness to much change. Over the years, the landscape has been transformed by afforestation, and continual drainage and tillage,…

beef cattle

How Extinction Rebellion is economical with the truth

London is now culturally another planet as far as this backwoodsman is concerned. Two lots of space cadets were there doing their level best to end life on planet Galloway: our elected representatives in the House of Commons and a bunch of misanthropes calling themselves Extinction Rebellion. I should have…

shoot pigeons with semi-auto

How to mark pricked birds

It’s not always easy to spot a wounded bird — and it may fly on for some distance after being shot — so do keep your eyes peeled, advises Ian Grindy

what guns really want

What do Guns really want?

In a West Country inn on a crisp autumnal evening, Tim Maddams, whom regular readers will recognise from our cookery pages, tells me that he thinks we need to kick the habit. “One thing I’m really trying hard with is to sell my days on an experience, rather than on…

flatcoated retriever

What’s happened to the flatcoat retriever?

Every once in a while, often at a country house owned by people who don’t much like throwing things away, one comes across old copies of Shooting Times. It is always reassuring to note the extent to which our sport is still the same but, of course, things do change…

16-bore shotguns

The revival of the 16-bore shotgun

In any article about 16-bores, one should do one’s best to avoid the standard cliche of using ‘sweet’ and ‘16’ together. Most writers find it impossible. Perhaps the best-known example was penned back in 1995 by American gun writer Michael McIntosh in his book Shotguns and Shooting. A chapter, called…

Greylag geese

Ducks and geese – not such a fine romance

Have you noticed how often ducks coming to a flight pond come in twos, especially later in the season? It’s no accident — by this time of year the breeding pairs have mostly formed. If you are a sentimental old fool like me, you could be distressed about this, and…

Ed Wills after a Macnab

Going for a Macnab

Better luck next time,” the stalker said to me, patting my shoulder, as I watched the winded stags gallop away over the hill. That had been my second attempt at bagging a Macnab and I had failed. The previous occasion had seen me catch a fish before breakfast, grass 
a…

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…

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…