rough shooting permission

How to bag rough shooting

On my desk as I write this is a rather yellowed and crumpled letter from the Forestry Commission offering an annual shooting lease over 1,003 acres at West Tofts, Norfolk, for the princely sum of £50. The letter is dated November 1971, a time when my father and a group…

Bergara B-14R .22 rimfire

Bergara B-14R .22 rimfire

I really appreciate an accurate .22 rimfire. A popular rifle for vermin control, it deserves to have a bit of thought and money spent on it. Bergara makes superb barrels as well as complete rifles, and has recently branched out into the rimfire market. The Spanish firm is usually known…

guinea fowl recipe

A recipe for Italian-style guinea fowl

This guinea fowl recipe originated from northern Italy. It is a sweet-sour concoction of sautéed chicken livers to serve with gamebirds, including guinea fowl. I found the guinea fowl recipe in a book by a fellow Dorset cookery writer, Anna Del Conte. I have admired Anna since I met her…

cleaning a semi-auto

Can my brother leave his semi-auto at my house for cleaning?

I own a three-shot semi-automatic on my shotgun certificate. My brother owns the same model and make of semi-automatic, but it is a five-shot and it’s on his firearm certificate. The only difference between the guns is my magazine has been restricted to two cartridges by a gunsmith. My brother…

Shooting in woods

Is British shooting in danger of selling itself short?

The television series Jack’s Game was first screened on Channel 4 in 1983. In one episode, the cameras follow Jack Charlton, two of his friends and their dogs as they walk-up some wild and wonderful land on their rough shoot. Jack ruefully points out that the money they spend on…

Edwardian shooting party

Are today’s Shots less accomplished?

Driven shooting has been an established sport in the British Isles since it was introduced by the mid-Victorians. The sport of shooting had previously been largely a matter of a gentleman walking-up game over his dogs. His firearm of choice was a muzzle-loading shotgun, until the advent of breechloading pinfires…

venison cheesesteak sandwich

The essential recipe for a venison cheesesteak sandwich

I will always remember my first proper cheesesteak sandwich. It wasn’t in Philadelphia, however, it was in New York, which is close enough. I have always been a big lover of steak. In fact, if you were to ask me what my last meal on earth would be, I would…

cock pheasant

Estates should act to limit the number of dead poults

Too much pheasant roadkill In the early years of my shooting career, pheasants were far too valuable to use for retrieving practice. I didn’t shoot many and those that I did bag were destined for dinner. This became second nature and, even today, I don’t like to use a shot…

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…