Lindsay-Waddell

Lindsay Waddell NGO chairman interview

Robert Cuthbert: Did you find shooting or vice versa? Lindsay Waddell: “I spent a lot of my formative years with my aunt and uncle, a shepherd in the Angus Glens of Scotland, and “attached” myself to the local keeper, Dick Barrett. From the age of seven or eight, I spent…

Bird flu warnings

How to hatch and rear your own pheasants

Hatching and rearing your own birds isn’t as hard as you might imagine. It takes time and there will be the inevitable ups and downs, but rearing your own has its advantages: you can save money, you can guarantee the birds will be the age and strain you want, and…

gamekeeping

Furious backlash to Countryfile feature on gamekeepers

Presenter Matt Baker spent time with students training as gamekeepers. As part of the study, students were taught to shoot deer and butcher the quarry afterwards. The point of the feature was to address some of the misconceptions the public holds about gamekeepers and the voiceover made clear that deer…

Beaters' day shooting

Beaters’ days at the end of the season

The end of the season brings the long-awaited beaters’ days. Traditionally, it was the day that the estate owner gave to his gamekeeper to invite his friends along to shoot. It has changed over the years and the keepers’ day is now more often referred to as the beaters’ day. An…

hen pheasant

How to look after birds left at the season’s end

Regardless of the number of birds you shot on your last day, it is probable that you saw or flushed three or four times as many. What happens to the birds that survive the shooting season, and how they are looked after when it has finished, is important. It would be morally wrong for us…

Roguish poacher

Modern poachers are not the affable rogues of old

Thirty-odd years ago, poachers were still poaching game for their own pot, or flogging it at the backdoors of country pubs and hotels, where it would get converted into tasty game, or more accurately, poacher’s pies. There was still an element of “old country romanticism” involved. The culprits were roguish but…

gamekeeper on horse

Meet Dragon – the last horse on the beating line?

A horse moving with a line of beaters isn’t a sight you’re going to see much these days. In fact Frank Shellard says he is probably the last person riding on the beating line in the UK. (If you know anybody else, please get in touch.) I asked him what…

Dunlin

Endangered birds thriving on Scottish grouse moors

There are 81 species of bird — many red-listed as being of conservation concern — thriving on Scottish grouse moors, according to a new report, published last month by the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association. Many species of bird faring better on managed moors The study conducted wildlife audits on three “key”…

RSPB

“Birds are no longer enough for the RSPB”

Three cheers for Sir Ian Botham for having the balls to take on the RSPB, a charity rightly accused of “forgetting the birds”. Founded in 1889 as the ‘Plumage League’ by ladies with concerns about the enormity of the feather trade, where birds suffered persecution in the name of fashion, the RSPB is now the largest wildlife charity in Europe,…

pheasants feeding

Drawing birds into drives – and keeping them there

We shoot a few boundary days in October, but to me, October is more about getting ready for the shooting season proper — when the weather is cold and the leaves are off the trees — than it is about serious shooting. Strange though it may seem, one of the…

grouse shooting

Rural communities highlight importance of grouse shooting

A new report published today shows the importance of grouse shooting and moorland management in supporting fragile rural communities. Created by Scotland’s Rural College and the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College it focuses on two areas of Scotland – the Angus Glens…

young shot

Teaching young Shots – six tips for getting started

I started shooting at the age of eight. I’m lucky to come from a farming background, so there were opportunities to be involved in and around shooting from an early age. I followed my father’s lead and learned as many aspects as I could, whether tagging along with keepers, going beating,…

grouse butt

It won’t be a vintage year for red grouse

Grouse moor keepers and sporting agents across England and Scotland are warning that this year’s grouse shooting season will be a disappointing one thanks to the bad weather that hit the first half of the hatching period earlier in the year. Keepers are reporting reduced covey sizes — in some…

grouse shooting infographic

BASC highlights “Glorious Twelve” benefits of grouse shooting

BASC has released an infographic pictured here to illustrate the benefits of grouse shooting. Chairman of BASC’s Gameshooting and Gamekeeping Committee Ian Grindy said heather moorland managed for grouse benefits conservation and wildlife. He said “BASC is highlighting the 12 benefits of grouse shooting so that people can make their…

Jonathan Airey

Ever thought of setting up your own shoot?

I have often thought about running my own shoot. Many years ago I did, in fact, have a small shoot of my own where, with the help of a few friends and paying guests, we enjoyed some great days out in the field, even if the bag at times was…

DOC trap

DOC trap

The DOC trap was designed by the New Zealand Department Of Conservation (DOC) for trapping non native species such as possums. The traps are available in the UK but have to be purchased with, and fitted into the trap box. The DOC 100 is ideal for smaller ground predators like stoats, squirrels…