Fallow deer

How to create your own deer management plan

Deer management in 
any landscape requires 
a coordinated and well-thought-out plan. When it comes up in conversation, as it does more regularly than one would imagine, the viewpoint of those unfamiliar with deer management is more often than not, “Isn’t the aim simply to shoot as many as possible?” While…

Keeping gundogs safe

What can you do to keep your gundogs safe from being stolen?

It was a sobering experience. The grinder buzzed, sparks flew and in a few seconds the padlocks parted. A friend knocked on my door one morning. He had lost his workshop keys. He had started on one hardened steel lock with a hacksaw and after a lot of cutting had…

Testing shooting jackets

Testing, testing shooting jackets

Testing shooting jackets The four shooting coats 
I was sent to trial are all so totally different from one another that to judge them in comparison is unfair and ultimately pointless. Therefore, when I was set the task of testing shooting jackets, I shifted my mindset to the one with…

Rock ptarmigan

The elusive ptarmigan – Britain’s wildest quarry

Of all the gamebirds on the quarry list, there’s none so little known nor seldom shot as the ptarmigan. 
It may have the same open season as its more familiar cousin, the red grouse, but its favoured terrain — the high tops of Scotland’s tallest mountains — ensure that ptarmigan…

gun-shy puppy

Is a gun-shy dog a lost cause?

There’s probably no greater disaster that can 
befall the gundog trainer than to discover that their talented new puppy is gun-shy. Is being gun-shy inherited? Many breeders maintain that 
gun-shyness is hereditary, which 
I’m not convinced about, but 
I certainly wouldn’t take the risk of breeding from a seriously gun-shy…

keeping pheasants

How to keep your pheasants close to home

Very often, it is the little things that make a difference and will keep your pheasants closer.  This is never more accurate than when said in relation to the management of poults inside a release pen, and the area immediately outside. Attention to detail is so important, and little tweaks…

Shooting on a drive

Why ALL shooters should be members of a fieldsports organisation

If you shoot but are not a member 
of any fieldsports organisations, does 
that make you a freeloader? It’s a contentious question. In January 2017, I wrote: “To me, enjoying your shooting without being a member of any fieldsports organisations is short-sighted and perhaps even selfish. Surely there is an…

European roe deer

Demand for venison is crashing

Tree-
planting targets and good woodland management is being put at risk as the demand for venison crashes. Game dealers in the south and east of England have begun to refuse to take venison because their cold stores are full and they are unable to find buyers for the meat. The…

Game shooting

How does your shot measure up?

Like much in game shooting, our choice of shot size has evolved. The era before international corporations dominated the UK shooting market, and US-style marketeers brought professional persuasion to an unsuspecting public, was quite different. But not necessarily bad. There is much in modern game shooting to be proud of,…

Grouse moor

The man-made idyll of grouse moors

Coming from the soft south, 
I didn’t see a live grouse until I was 19. That was in the summer of 1974, when I took off to the Cairngorms for a couple of weeks to go youth hostelling with a friend. There were new sights around every corner, with dotterel,…

black Labrador puppy

How can I find the right Labrador puppy these days?

Q: I have been struggling to find a Labrador puppy because there seems to have been a big demand for them as pets during lockdown. 
 I have been advised to wait a while because it’s expected that a lot of young dogs will need to be rehomed in the…

Sika deer

Why sika deer are posing a threat to our native reds

Sika deer and Coco Chanel When I say ‘invasive non-native species’ the first thing to spring to your mind may be mink, the American signal crayfish or Rhododendron ponticum. It probably isn’t Coco Chanel. A keen angler and worthy of more Shooting Times column space than I can offer, Chanel…

domestic cats killers of songbirds

Just how many songbirds do domestic cats kill every year?

At Flea Barn, I have developed a now cherished routine. First, I check the grey partridges nesting in their pens and then the traps. After that, I take a stroll around the margins, trying to do my best impression of a keeper, peering at tracks and studying feathers I find…

Audi SQ8

Audi SQ8

I was eagerly awaiting delivery 
of the Audi SQ8, not least because it was the sporty version that was being dropped off. Black, sleek bodywork, blacked-out windows and 22in wheels are certainly a statement. I think its silhouette is rather pretty. I imagine if Batman and Knight Rider teamed up,…

bacon wrapped venison parcels

Bacon-wrapped venison parcels – a perfect dinner party recipe

These bacon-wrapped venison parcels probably make my all-time favourite venison recipe — it’s a great one to keep up your sleeve for a small dinner party. I know I always say that all recipes are my favourites but, rest assured, this one really sits at the top of the tree.…

gamekeeper with dogs

New underkeeper apprenticeship launched

A new apprenticeship scheme for underkeepers has been given the green light. Unveiling details of the scheme, Adrian Blackmore, director of shooting for the Countryside Alliance, said: “We seized the opportunity in 2016 to support estates in developing a gamekeeper standard, when it was announced that the existing courses would…

rifle shooting

Sako S20 Hunter 
in .308 Win

Our verdict Every now and then a rifle is developed that really is something different. Judging by the huge demand for its new Sako S20 Hunter rifle, manufacturer Sako has an absolute winner on its hands. We have all seen guns with interchangeable barrels, two-piece stocks, adjustable parts and so…

Fly-fishing

How to tie fishing flies with dog hair

The Roman author and teacher Claudius Aelianus is credited with being the first to record the use of artificial flies in angling. Writing towards the end of the second century, he described the practices of Macedonian anglers on the Astraeus River comprehensively: “They have planned a snare for the fish,…