Beaters out in the field

Letter from a fed-up beater

The driven shoot day is a team effort and by no means the least important team consists of the beaters. These men, women, boys and girls turn out in all weathers mostly not for the money but because they enjoy what they do. Beaters not given due consideration However on some shoots it would…

dog sleeping by aga

Should gundogs live in the kitchen or a kennel?

Across the dog-owning fraternity there is one debate that always brings out a strong difference of opinion. Where should the dog(s) live? In the house or in a kennel? And there is usually no fence to sit on. Camps seem pretty divided on the issue and opinions run high as a kite. Google it and you get 11,700,000 results…

Gundog picking up a scent

Gundogs and scent

Scent is truly an act of God. We have no direct access to it, still less any ability to influence it: and yet nothing is more critical to the way our dogs work and the way we choose to handle them. For we see, time and again, how challenges that are almost effortlessly overcome can, in other circumstances, present…

Perazzi Ribless Game

Perazzi Ribless Game

You might be forgiven for heaving a sigh at the sight of yet another Italian over-under on these review pages. But it is rather difficult to ignore the fact our European cousins are responsible for much of the new hardware unleashed upon the sporting world. Unusually, however, this particular Italian over-under owes a significant debt of gratitude to some decidedly British influence.…

Man shooting in rain

Struggling on long crossers – what should I do?

Shooting instructor Adam Calvert replies: A: The walking gun brief can be one of my favourite roles but equally it is a tricky one, and the addition of long crossers can be an extra challenge. When you are given a brief as a walking gun the most important thing is to remember the associated safety that actually surrounds walking…

A selection of books for shooting families this Christmas

BARKING MAD Two Centuries of Great Dog Stories By Tom Quinn In the shooting world we pride ourselves on the way we enable gundogs to utilise all their natural instincts to help us find, flush, shoot and collect our game. You will never see a happier animal than these working dogs, which have been…

Mobile phones in the field

Do mobile phones have a place in the field?

Crucial phones By Ben Samuelson It was only a couple of generations ago when our late king wouldn’t have seen much use for a mobile phone on a day’s shooting. He took his private train down to his private station, had an excellent morning’s sport, lunch and a quiet hour after before bumbling back to…

shooting at dusk

Is it legal for me and my friends to swap guns?

Peter Glenser replies: A: In short, yes absolutely. Assuming you both have valid shotgun certificates there is no reason at all why you shouldn’t do as you ask. The law allows a certificate holder to borrow a shotgun from another certificate holder for up to 72 hours without needing to…

hitting high birds

Trouble hitting high birds?

A: If there is one question I get asked time again, it’s about hitting high birds. The first thing is to know your range; I often see people shooting at things that are out of range. We have a duty to only shoot at what we think is killable. The second thing is to be realistic about your…

Harry Meade

Harry Meade

Things get quieter around mid-October for you what with the end of the eventing season – presumably you chose this career to fit in with the shooting season? “Ha ha… quite right. Optimistically, we think of eventing as a summer sport but realistically we start training again in December and then we get busier the further…

William Asprey of William & Son

5 minutes with… William Asprey of William & Son

How were you introduced to shooting? By my paternal grandfather shooting fir cones in his garden. I really can’t remember what it felt like and I don’t think that I hit anything! At that time it really didn’t make that much of a conscious impression. Where was your first shoot day and do you remember…

Fausti Italyco SLX

Fausti Italyco SLX

In terms of exotic exports of luxury goods, it would be fair to say Italy has something of a stranglehold on the global consciousness. From the ultimate in sports cars from the likes of Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini to the fashion houses of Milan, Italian products have an unshakable air of desirability. This is no different in the world of…

springer spaniel dream gundog

The dream gundog team

I’ll tell you what I want to see behind me when I am standing in a line of guns outside a likely looking covert. I want to see a bunch of pickers-up with sundry teams of likely looking dogs. I want them a good gunshot distance and where I can see them. I don’t want to…

over and under shotgun

The rise of the over-and-under

On a shoot day in October I had a fascinating conversation with a fellow gun about his switch from a side-by-side to an over-under. After more than 30 extremely successful years of game shooting with the former, he decided the time had come to seek out even greater consistency, particularly on the high birds, and make the switch.…

sunrise in countryside

20 of the best UK pheasant shoots

TREGOYD, POWYS This stunning shoot just to the south of Hay-on-Wye is run by the ambitious team of Ben Brown and headkeeper Clive Hussell, and recent years have seen significant investment in the infrastructure of the shoot. But what has not changed is the quality of the shooting. The terrain takes care of itself but Ben’s attention…

Mark Osborne William Powell

Mark Osborne of William Powell in the hot seat

Mark Osborne was interviewed for the October 2016 issue of Shooting Gazette. Have you been out relentlessly since the Twelfth? “I was out on the Twelfth and have been out a fair bit since as we keep going as long as we need. As well as letting days, we also manage quite…

Poorly poults

The gamekeeper’s constant fight against game bird disease

Travel back far enough and the major components you’d find in a keeper’s arsenal were gin traps, snares and a bottle of strychnine. Over time the gins were replaced by fen traps, strychnine removed altogether, and snares modified so they are no longer self-locking. It is true that Larsen traps have been a godsend and of course a shotgun and…

Browning B725

Browning B725 Hunter G3

The B725 from Browning has been out in the wild for some time now. The range has been steadily expanding since 2012 with a variety of finishes and weights in order to compete in seemingly every conceivable section of the over-under market. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, given the ongoing trend towards long guns designed for serious game shooting, that this is…

gunfitting session

How to really blow £300 on shooting

Game cookery courses With so many shoots now offering an oven ready brace more guns than ever can share the harvest of their sport with others; but what if you want to improve your knowledge of game butchery and your preparation skills? There are day-long courses during the season at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ in Devon…

red legged partridges

Greedy shot or good sport?

I was talking to a fellow picker-up a few years ago about the performance of the team of Guns visiting the shoot that day. My colleague, who liked to give his dogs plenty of work, was mightily impressed by them but I had to partially disagree. Admittedly, they were decent performers but were not particularly discerning, with a couple of…