running a shoot

Running a shoot: how to make the numbers add up

It has often been said that the only way to make a small fortune from shooting is to start with a big one. There are so many variables, and so many things that are forgotten and left out of a shoot’s budget, that it is easy to get it wrong.…

Shot pheasants

What constitutes a big bag in shooting? 150, 200, 300

What constitutes a ‘big bag’ in shooting. Is it 150, 200, 300 birds? A big bag in shooting For all the talk, what counts as a big bag in shooting? To some extent, it’s a matter of perception — and that’s not making light of the issue. Some of the…

Roe buck stalking

Tips to improve your rifle shooting and markmanship

So your stalking kit has been cleaned and stowed away, and you’ll likely see more venison on the barbecue than under a cross-hair for the next few months. But the past few months may have given you pause for thought and the desire to improve your rifle shooting. (Read our…

springer spaniel

Phantom pregnancy? Or could our spaniel really be pregnant?

Is it a phantom pregnancy? Q: We have a young springer spaniel bitch that had her first season about six or seven weeks ago. We made sure she kept away from other dogs, but now her milk glands are developing and her nipples are becoming more prominent. Is this normal?…

Why the Scottish roebuck are no less mighty

Scotland epitomises the ultimate sporting getaway. Ask any sportsman across the globe and I imagine Scotland will rank highly on their wish list of go-to locations — and rightly so. Over the decades it has established a reputation for offering a friendly welcome to those sportsmen and women making the…

Battle lines drawn as BASC rejects proposed lead restrictions

The association has set out a mixed position strongly opposing some elements of the proposals and less strongly opposing others. The HSE has proposed a phased withdrawal of lead ammunition over a time period between 18 months and five years. This includes lead used for shooting live quarry and targets,…

In Search Of One Last Song

My study is filled with books on hunting and shooting, beasts and butterflies, flowers and fungi, but mainly books on birds. I’ve never counted, but there are hundreds of them, ranging from David Bannerman’s masterly 12-volume work, The Birds of the British Isles, to my most recent acquisition, Gary Kramer’s…

Braced up pheasants

Why a bit of moderation in shooting right now might not be a bad thing

Could a shortage of imported gamebirds for this coming season signal structural change in driven game shooting? In years to come, will we look back and recognise this season as the turning point — the first time in decades that the inexorable trend of releasing more and more pheasants was…

Muntjac deer

Deer ammunition: does your chosen calibre fit the bill?

Thinking about deer ammunition While driving to the ground on one foggy morning on the A1, I was thinking about a discussion I had with a friend. That discussion was about deer calibres and recent changes in lead-free bullets in the UK deer scene. Before I even got to the…

mown paddock for gundog training

How do I train a gundog to run straight?

When you think of a working gundog, the goals are relatively simple. We need to get the dog to an area and allow it to hunt. This might be hunting at our feet as a beating dog or being sent 180 yards to hunt a specific area. Either way, the…

Gaelic venison steak

Gaelic steak: cook one of HM The Queen’s favourite recipes

Apparently, HM The Queen likes one of her favourite dishes — Gaelic steak — two ways. When at one of her English homes, this incredibly rich, French-style, recipe is made with beef fillet steak. However, when at Balmoral, it is made using venison shot on the estate. I have not…

Why summer is the most important time to control grey squirrels

It is easy to let the control of grey squirrels go off the boil through the summer, but taking the pressure off these invasive opportunists at this time of year can quickly undo previous efforts to keep them in check. Lapses in squirrel control during the warmer months can usually…

Royal Warrant in shop

Royal Warrants: a cartridge fit for The Queen

We were 12 miles north of Moy when the engine went bang. At first, the power started to go, then a gritty groan came from deep within the Jimny’s oily guts. I’m not mechanically minded, but it was clear we wouldn’t be going any further. Up until that point, it…

Why shooting should use the biodiversity net gain rules

The role I play in the countryside is a relatively diverse one. I am a land agent, a farmer’s son and I run a shoot. I am a conservationist, a tree planter, a fisherman and a deerstalker. I am a runner, finding great contentment padding along miles and miles of…

Summer roebuck stalking – why June is a difficult month

A super blood moon had graced the heavens the night before. With so much cosmological excitement and an early sunrise, I decided to aim for mid-morning. It was an unusually warm and muggy day. There is no mistaking it, it’s buck season. Where I was heading to, the cows are…

labrador

Poisoned dogs: the symptoms and the dangers to look out for

Reports of poisoned dogs There was considerable panic in my local dog-owning community last month, when a three-year-old labrador reportedly died from poisoning. The initial Facebook post indicated that the dog had died as a result of eating poison picked up at a popular dog-walking site, a nature reserve where…

Subaru Forester E-Boxer

Subaru Forester E-Boxer – does it lack oomph?

Subaru launched the Forester in 1997. Initially based on the Impreza, it gained a reputation for being a hard-wearing, no-nonsense, go-anywhere vehicle. It soon proved popular with country folk. Subaru Forester E-Boxer I’m trying out the latest eco-friendly incarnation of the Forester, the Subaru Forester E-Boxer XE Premium Lineartronic, a…