fox predation control

Why predation control needs an integrated plan

Let’s start by noting the words ‘predation control’, rather than predator. In managing game and wildlife, how many predators you kill is of no great relevance; rather it is the predation that you prevent that matters. As a consequence, shooting odd random predators is of no great moment. What is…

Flying pheasant

What do you do with birds leftover at the season’s end?

With the ever-tightening COVID-19 restrictions in operation in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, there is little hope for those of us longing for a return to driven shooting. It seems pretty certain that most of us will have more leftover pheasants on the ground at the end of this…

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…

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…

Scotland's grouse moors

LACS report slammed by shooting groups

The publication of Calculating Cruelty by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has been blasted by shooting groups, who criticise it for inaccuracy, misreporting and unsound science. The report was timed to coincide with the start of the grouse shooting season. LACS claims that an “independent surveyor” was appointed to…

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…

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…

Pheasant poult in release pen

The skill of caring for pheasant poults successfully

My pheasant poults came yesterday, so by the time you read this they will have been here for a few weeks. The birds look good, all well-feathered and around seven weeks old. They are caught the night before from the rearing sheds and are delivered to me at around 4am,…

how to call a fox

How to keep predators out of your pheasant pen

Wise keepers make life as difficult as possible for those pheasant pen predators intent on finding a tasty meal. Birds are usually lost in two ways: Mass kills of poults caught together on the ground (usually within the pen) by the predator A gradual loss, as one or two birds…

DIY shoot

How to start up your own DIY shoot

Starting a little DIY shoot can be great fun and very rewarding. In fact, it is the DIY shoot that is bringing some ‘fresh air’ to shooting. Why start a DIY shoot? Basically you and your shooting companions should get moderate driven shooting at a reasonable cost. Of course, while…

pheasants in flight

The rules you must follow when rearing gamebirds

Before you take any steps to start on rearing gamebirds yourself you need to be aware of the key factors involved. Rule 1: Think of it as a business You need to think seriously about rearing gamebirds right from the beginning and consider it as a business, whether you’re rearing…

pheasants in countryside

How to hatch and rear your own pheasants

Many DIY shoots are looking at ways of reducing costs, and one way of achieving that is rearing pheasants yourself. There are plenty of benefits. You know where your birds have come from The birds will be the age and strain you want You will be aware of any pheasant…

Suffolk shoot on an autumn day

Shoots press ahead despite uncertainty over COVID-19

The likely effect of COVID-19 on shooting in the UK is becoming clearer as the initial panic starts to subside and more shoots decide how they will approach the coming season. The majority of shoot operators who spoke to Shooting Times said they intended to go ahead with shooting this…

Gamekeeper on moor

Support gamekeeping during these difficult times and you could win a knife worth £500

The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) exists for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to support gamekeepers who have fallen on difficult times. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many shoots are facing an uncertain future and some estates have already cancelled next year’s shooting season. Support gamekeepers…

shooters going to peg

COVID-19 makes shooting season ‘a huge gamble’

Shoots around the country have been wrestling with decisions about how many birds to put down, how many days to offer and whether to shoot at all. One gamekeeper told Shooting Times: “It is an enormous gamble. Potentially we are paying thousands of pounds to buy birds, then paying thousands…

trapping pests

New laws on trapping – keepers must tread carefully

It will soon be illegal to use 
a Fenn trap to catch a stoat, but where are we in our quest for its replacement? The list of traps we now have at our disposal is on the Government website for all to see. These traps have been through rigorous testing…