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Hunting

La chasse est la traque d'animaux dans le but de les capturer ou de les abattre, les manger ou les détruires, en respectant une réglementation très stricte. De plus, il existe plusieurs disciplines concernant la chasse.
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    • Neither estate nor hot-hatch, the French manufacturer's small SUV offers crossover appeal, says Charlie Flindt - for those at home in an i-Cabin

      The exterior is pleasant on the eye.The crossover market is a tricky one to stand out in. So the Peugeot 3008 GT has gone full gadget and gizmo. It’s a rather clever package, says Charlie Flindt – as long as one is comfortable in an i-Cockpit.

      For more motoring reviews, find out what Charlie Flindt thought of Skoda’s latest offering in Skoda Octavia Scout.

      PEUGEOT 3008 GT
      Peugeot has never really recreated its glory days of the 1970s and ’80s, when huge estate cars ferried vast families around the country. Those magnificent 504/5 estates could soak up massive punishment in the harshest of environments – everything from the terror and mayhem of a primary school taxi run to the relative civility of rutted tracks in central Africa. And the French manufacturer never matched its reign as hot-hatch champion, when the 205GTi ruled the boy-racer roost. God knows, it’s tried, with “worthy successors” being launched every few years but none has recreated that 205 magic.

      The Peugeot 3008 GT has a tiny steering wheel.

      Perhaps Peugeot will make its mark with the new 3008, one of the company’s new “crossovers”. But the crossover car market is a mighty busy one and getting more crowded by the week. So Peugeot has decided – rightly or wrongly – that the best way to stand out in that market is to go full wacky gadget and gizmo.

      Mind you, you wouldn’t guess it from the outside. Yes, the front looks as though it has been designed by committee but the rest is pleasant on the eye, especially the rear with its clever light arrangement and snazzy exhaust pipes.

      Inside is where the surfeit of gizmos begins. The traditional dashboard has gone and an LCD screen sits cleverly above the top rim of the scaled-down and not particularly round steering wheel. The whole driving environment has gone “cockpit”, with the central tunnel wrapping around you. To ensure its appeal to Millennials, Peugeot has called it (probably after much research and focus groups) the i-Cockpit.

      We shouldn’t mock the Millennials; for all the stick we give them, they’re the only ones qualified to break into the options menu and somehow restore something normal to the LCD dashboard.

      Having road speed and rpm displayed on fancy rotating virtual reels is all very well (and perhaps a nod back to the early Citroën GS) but I still like a nice dial and a needle – especially an anticlockwise tacho that can be found on the 3008 screen, if, of course, you find the right settings. Which I didn’t.

      Committee-designed front end.

      The 3008’s best tricks are hidden away under the bonnet. If you were to jump straight in and drive it without any homework, you wouldn’t believe that the 3008 has only a 1.2 litre, three-cylinder engine. It feels lively and quite powerful enough for what is not a small car; it even makes fantastic rorty noises at about 4,000rpm. Performance isn’t stunning and economy is fine but the fun factor is certainly there. It rides and corners with great confidence.

      In fact, the whole 3008 package is rather clever. There’s an inner car, almost like a go-cart – or (dare one say it) a GTi – with a fantastic buzzy engine and tiny steering wheel, fun and satisfying to drive. The outer car is a roomy and versatile people carrier –not as roomy as the legendary 504/5 estates of old, but spacious nonetheless.

      The 3008 will undoubtedly do very well for Peugeot over here but I’d hate to see that fancy i-Cockpit once Saharan sand has blown into it.

      PEUGEOT 3008 GT Line PT 130
      ♦ Engine: 1,199cc petrol
      ♦ Power: 131hp
      ♦ Max speed: 117mph
      ♦ Performance, 0 to 62: 10.8 sec
      ♦ Combined fuel economy: 52.3mpg
      ♦ Insurance group (0-20): 13E
      ♦ Price: £26,195
      Neither estate nor hot-hatch, the French manufacturer's small SUV offers crossover appeal, says Charlie Flindt - for those at home in an i-Cabin

      The exterior is pleasant on the eye.The crossover market is a tricky one to stand out in. So the Peugeot 3008 GT has gone full gadget and gizmo. It’s a rather clever package, says Charlie Flindt – as long as one is comfortable in an i-Cockpit.

      For more motoring reviews, find out what Charlie Flindt thought of Skoda’s ... See more
      See more on line
      Peugeot 3008 GT. A rather clever crossover
    • An ambitious new conservation project will spend the next 25 years creating a vast woodland habitat, stretching from coast to coast in the north of England.

      Pic credit: REX/ShutterstockThe Government has announced plans to create a new Northern Forest spanning more than 120 miles between Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

      With backing from Defra secretary Michael Gove, the Woodland Trust and Community Forest Trust propose to plant more than 50 million trees along the M62 corridor from Liverpool to Hull, over the next 25 years.

      Northern Forest will connect community forests
      This will connect the five community forests in the north of England — the Mersey Forest, Manchester City of Trees, South Yorkshire Community Forest, the Leeds White Rose Forest and the HEYwoods Project.

      Mr Gove said that the forest would create “a vast ribbon of woodland cover in northern England stretching from coast to coast” and provide “a rich habitat for wildlife to thrive, as well as being a natural environment for millions of people to enjoy” which he said would help to deliver a “green Brexit”.

      The Government has provided almost £6million to help launch the project and the proposed new forest will create new habitats for woodland birds and bats, as well as a hoped-for boost to the endangered red squirrel population, and provide a “tranquil space for millions of people” living in the area.

      Shooting benefits woodland conservation
      The conservation work carried out in woodland by shooters has been highlighted in the Country Land & Business Association’s (CLA)…

      25-Year Environment Plan
      The announcement came as part of the Government’s upcoming 25 Year Environment Plan, which will set out “how we can be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it in”.

      Prime Minister Theresa May said: “It is vital that we leave our planet in a better state than we found it, with cleaner air, stronger protections for animal welfare and greener spaces for everyone to enjoy.

      “Progress is being made. We’re investing more than £3billion in improving air quality, tackling marine pollution by banning harmful microbeads and increasing sentences for animal cruelty to five years. But to create an environment fit for the future we can’t stop there. That is why we are supporting the creation of this new Northern Forest and will shortly be setting out our ambitious vision to further support the environment and protect its good health for generations to come.”

      The first planting will begin in March at the Woodland Trust’s 680-hectare Northern Forest flagship site at Smithills, Bolton. Austin Brady, director of conservation at the Woodland Trust, commented: “Planting many more trees, woods and forests will deliver a better environment for all — locking up carbon on a large scale, boosting wildlife habitat and greening our towns and cities.”
      An ambitious new conservation project will spend the next 25 years creating a vast woodland habitat, stretching from coast to coast in the north of England.

      Pic credit: REX/ShutterstockThe Government has announced plans to create a new Northern Forest spanning more than 120 miles between Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

      With backing from Defra secretary ... See more
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      New Northern Forest to be planted
    • It's never been easier to join shooting lessons designed specifically for ladies. Whether you are an experienced shot or picking up a gun for the first time, follow The Field's guide to the best ladies shooting courses

      Getting proper, expert instruction is vital whether you are an experienced shot or a complete novice.Whether you are an experienced shot looking to brush up on your technique, or a complete novice picking up a gun for the first time – getting lessons and expert instruction is vital. And it’s never been easier to sign up for lessons and courses designed specifically for lady guns. Follow The Field’s guide to the best ladies shooting courses.

      There are many to choose from now but when Holland & Holland launched their Feathers courses for ladies in 1995 they were ahead of the curve. The Deputy Editor discovers how this popular course has encouraged over 1000 lady guns to go shooting, read ladies shooting: fun on the Feathers course at Holland & Holland.

      BEST LADIES SHOOTING COURSES
      BASC Ladies: Dedicated to encouraging more women into shooting by organising events and courses for all ages, disciplines and abilities. Events include ladies game days for experienced and novice shots, introduction to wildfowling and deer-stalking assessments.
      Tel: 01244 573000; basc.org.uk/ladies

      Bisley Shooting Ground: Ladies days started here 12 years ago to offer ladies at all levels the chance to enjoy an afternoon with likeminded sorts, free from alpha-male pressure. Shotguns are provided and the range will suit all ages, shapes and sizes. There is a fantastic lunch and beautiful Victorian clubhouse, too. The next ladies days will run on 22 January and 5 March, £108 members, £127 non-members. Pre-booking required at least a week in advance.
      Tel: 01483 797017; bisleyshooting.co.uk

      Bywell Shooting Ground: Many ladies have entered shooting through the ground’s tuition. Provides coaching specifically tailored to ladies, with suitable targets, coaching guns and cartridges. Individual lessons from £71.50 and group lessons from £49.
      Tel: 01670 787827; www.bywellshootingground.co.uk

      EJ Churchill: The Hellfire Ladies Club at EJ Churchill is far more than meets the eye. Select days throughout the year give exclusive access to all that the world of shooting has to offer. All ages and abilities welcome. Contact Antonia Southwell.
      Tel: 01494 883227; antonia.southwell@ejchurchill.com

      Ian Coley: Hosts Ladies Days with the Femme Fatales (next one in April). Beginner, intermediate and advanced groups. The day includes 25 practice shots and 25 for a competition, followed by lunch. Individual and group lessons available.
      Tel: 01242 870391; www.iancoley.co.uk 

      Femmes Fatales: Like-minded shooters, styled as “shewolves”, gather for fun and firing at clay events countrywide. These range from basic learn-to-shoot days to competitions and most things in between.
      www.femmes-fatales.co.uk

      Holland & Holland Feathers Courses: Founded in 1995, Holland & Holland’s Green and Silver Feathers Courses are designed specifically for ladies – and have introduced over 1000 lady guns to shooting over the years. The Green Feathers course is aimed at women who are new to shooting, while the Silver Feathers course is for more experienced ladies and those who have completed the Green Feathers course. Courses cost £295, each comprising of three one-hour lessons (or three two-hour lessons if you are shooting with a friend) and a competition at the end. Find out how the Deputy Editor fared on the Silver Feathers course in ladies shooting: fun on the Feathers course at Holland & Holland. The next Feathers course at Holland & Holland begins in February 2018.
      Tel: 01923 825349; hollandandholland.com/shooting-grounds

      Honesberie Shooting Ground: Nick Hollick has some stalwart female fans at his base on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border. Hosts Femmes Fatales and S&CB Club events. Lessons from £85 per hour.
      Tel: 01327 262922; www.honesberieshooting.co.uk

      Ladies Shooting Society: East Anglian-based ladies shooting group with an emphasis on practice and improving your clay day. Game dinners, shooting clinics and jolly company come as standard. Membership £60 per year.
      www.ladiesshootingsociety.co.uk

      Lady’s Wood Shooting School: Set in 55 acres of natural woodland in South Gloucestershire, with a Cotswold stone lodge and well-stocked gunroom (Sportarm at Lady’s Wood). Lessons start from £85 per hour with courses of three and six lessons available with a 10% discount. Lady’s Wood hosts S&CB Club and Femmes Fatales events.
      Tel: 01454 294546; www.ladyswood.co.uk

      Ling Shooting School: A team of dedicated female coaches is on hand to teach clay shooting at every level. Runs special women’s clay shooting events and also offers coaching for ladies wanting to compete in clay shooting.
      Tel: 07789 480298; lingshooting.co.uk

      The Oxford Gun Company: Runs a dedicated Ladies Have-A-Go Day on the last Saturday of every month, with cream tea and cake, for £39. Also offers a one-day Ladies Course or one-to-one tuition.
      Tel 01844 238308; www.oxfordguncompany.co.uk

      Roundwood Shooting School: Brian Hebditch offers ladies based near him in Hampshire expert tuition on any type of target, game and sporting. Those in the know swear by his helpful, incisive teaching. The Field team has been spotted on site.
      Tel: 01962 774576; www.roundwoodshooting.co.uk

      The Roxburghe Shooting School of Excellence: Offers Ladies Lessons and Ladies Days for novices and more experienced shots. One-hour adult lessons cost from £65.
      Tel: 07798 884643; www.roxburgheshootingschool.co.uk

      Royal Berkshire Shooting School: Smart ground that hosts both S&CB Club and Femmes Fatales events. One-hour lessons from £99.
      Tel: 01491 672900; www.rbss.co.uk

      The Shotgun and Chelsea Bun Club: Convivial get-togethers on clay shooting days for ladies, from novice to expert, with a good helping of cake and fun prizes on its seriously social shoot days. Events are held throughout the country, bucked up by a busy social media presence and an annual conference. Game days are arranged and friendships forged. Founder Victoria Knowles-Lacks is shortly to launch an online global platform for women who shoot. It will feature useable and useful guides to support women with their shooting, showcasing industry favourites and with an international feel. Events cost from £59.
      www.shotgunandchelseabunclub.co.uk

      West London Shooting School: Purdey Ladies Course includes three one-hour individual lessons with 150 clays and cartridges for £298 per person. At the end of the course, all Purdey ladies are invited to a friendly competition to test skills, followed by a champagne reception. Next competition will be on 13 June 2018. Suitable for novices to everyday shots.
      Tel: 020 8845 1377; shootingschool.co.uk
      It's never been easier to join shooting lessons designed specifically for ladies. Whether you are an experienced shot or picking up a gun for the first time, follow The Field's guide to the best ladies shooting courses

      Getting proper, expert instruction is vital whether you are an experienced shot or a complete novice.Whether you are an experienced shot looking to brush up on your technique, or a complete novice picking up a gun for the first time – getting lessons and expert ... See more
      See more on line
      Best ladies shooting courses
    • Add your name to the eLobby to let your MP know you won't stand for unfair or inconsistent firearms licensing procedures.

      Pic credit: REX/ShutterstockThe Countryside Alliance has launched a new campaign seeking consistent and fair firearms licensing.

      It comes in response to the “failing” medical procedures introduced in 2016 for shooters seeking applications and renewals, which have been criticised for being applied inconsistently across different counties – with some applicants being charged up to £200 by their GP to carry out background medical checks when no fee should be levied.

      Fair firearms licensing or a postcode lottery?
      Countryside Alliance head of shooting Liam Stokes said: “Lincolnshire Police declared that all applications and renewals will be held up until whatever fee the GPs wish to extract is paid. This will create a postcode lottery in which an applicant in neighbouring Nottinghamshire can expect the system to operate as laid out in Home Office Guidance, whereas an applicant in Lincolnshire is subject to a random system of unregulated charges.

      “At the Countryside Alliance we say this is unfair and inconsistent, and we want everyone who agrees with us to join our campaign for reform. This new Guidance is less than two years old. The Home Office needs to either find a way to enforce it, or admit it isn’t working and get all the stakeholders back around the table to agree something that works. Please head to our website and join our campaign by signing the eLobby which will send that message straight to the Home Office minister with the power to sort this mess out.”

      New guidance on firearms licensing
      Home Office publishes new guidance on firearms licensing to reduce bureaucracy and drive efficiency and consistency for the police

      Have your say on firearms licensing
      It’s heartening to hear that MEP Vicky Ford appears to be listening to BASC and the Countryside Alliance (CA) over…

      Petition your MP
      You can send a pre-written letter, provided by the CA here, directly to your MP, asking them to either ensure Home Office guidance is enforced or issue new fair firearms licensing guidance.
      Add your name to the eLobby to let your MP know you won't stand for unfair or inconsistent firearms licensing procedures.

      Pic credit: REX/ShutterstockThe Countryside Alliance has launched a new campaign seeking consistent and fair firearms licensing.

      It comes in response to the “failing” medical procedures introduced in 2016 for shooters seeking applications and renewals, which have been ... See more
      See more on line
      Lobby your MP for fair firearms licensing
    • You might think your gundog will carry on working for ever, but they all deserve a comfortable retirement, says David Tomlinson

      When a dog has served you well, you must makes its last few years as happy as possible One of the most frustrating things about good gundogs is that their working lives are so short.

      A dog is typically three or four years old when it matures into the best you have ever had, but five or six years later you realise that his working life is approaching its end. I’ve met old dogs that have worked until they were 12 or 13, but at this age it is seldom more than a retirement job, picking-up on 
a couple of drives or perhaps managing half-an-hour’s hedgerow hunting.

      I’m sure it is possible to prolong 
a dog’s working life by keeping it keen and active during the close season, perhaps giving it a variety of retrieves on its walks, as well as paying attention to its diet to ensure that it is as fit as possible for a dog of its age. But whatever you do, time invariably catches up.

      Retiring old dogs
      Many old dogs have to be retired because of deafness, though they are fit in every other respect. Deaf dogs so easily become lost, and there can be few of us who haven’t seen an old veteran, bird in its mouth, uncertain of where its master is. Most dogs start to suffer some hearing 
loss from about 10 or 11 and many 
are completely deaf by 13.

      I’m worried for my gundog’s health, is he going blind?
      I'm worried for my gundog's health! I have an elderly, but fit, Labrador and I am concerned that he may…

      Can you prevent arthritis in dogs?
      Q: Both my elderly Labradors have suffered pretty badly from arthritis in later life. Is there anything that can be…

      Do dogs get dementia?
      A recent newspaper report suggested that a third of dogs develop some sort of cognitive decline from the age of eight, and two-thirds…

      Hearing aids for dogs
      I’ve never met a dog with a hearing aid but you won’t be surprised to learn that such things do exist, though prices start at more than £2,000. I did a little research on this, and discovered that, “getting a dog to wear a hearing aid and then teaching him to interpret the sounds and to relearn their meanings requires a great deal of constant and consistent habituation and training. You do not just fit the hearing aids and resume your life as it was before.” It didn’t surprise me.

      I’ve always wondered whether working gundogs are more prone to deafness than animals that never come into contact with the sound of gunfire. I suspect they must be.

      Quincey, Sue Knight’s retired Labrador, has more than earned his keep and still enjoys life

      My thoughts on gundog retirement were prompted by an email from reader Sue Knight, who asked me whether I’d ever written an article on the subject. Surprisingly, I haven’t until now. Sue told me about her black Labrador, Quincey, who will be 12 next year.

      “We retired him at the end of last season as he started to mouth or drop birds, which is unacceptable on the shooting field,” she wrote. “However, I strongly believe in keeping retired dogs active. Quincey is exercised twice a day with Drummer, our six-year-old Labrador, and is still keen 
to retrieve dummies or tennis balls. 
I also do sit, stays and recalls every day to keep him guessing and fixed on me. His hearing may now be selective to voice, but he always responds to the whistle and a treat.

      “There is one shoot we know well… where Drummer now picks-up. Here we can safely let the old boy have 
a run between drives. On a recent shoot day he was so proud to locate 
a lost bird that none of the other dogs had managed to find. As Quincey has twice taken me into the main ring at Crufts for the finals of Gamekeepers’ classes, I’m quite prepared to forgive him his idiosyncrasies.”

      Sue added: “There are many fun things for a retired gundog to do. Most agility groups also include veteran classes, and these are a great way of keeping an older dog fit and supple and interested in life. Because gundogs have invariably received 
a good deal of obedience training, it’s not usually difficult to get them round an agility course, and it’s something that most dogs really seem to enjoy. Don’t forget that it’s good exercise 
for their human handler, too.”

      Dogs, like humans, do best when they have a purpose in life, so keeping the old disciplines of walking to 
heel, doing a few memory retrieves, even the odd sit and stay, are all beneficial. Old dogs may not need much exercise but most still enjoy their walks, while I also think that 
it’s good to exercise them, if you can, on different ground. However, if you do, watch them carefully and keep them close, as this is when they can get lost.

      Identity tags
      It is particularly important that old dogs wear identity tags in case they wander off. OK, they may be microchipped, but a tag tells the finder who their owner is without having to go to a vet to find out.
      My old spaniel Fleur was retired 
at 12 after eating a bird that she was meant to retrieve. She went on to enjoy three happy years following 
her retirement, remaining active to the very last day. She wore a goshawk bell on her collar, which was a great way of letting me know where she 
was when I couldn’t see her.

      If there is one thing we owe a dog that has served us well all its life, then it is a comfortable retirement.
      You might think your gundog will carry on working for ever, but they all deserve a comfortable retirement, says David Tomlinson

      When a dog has served you well, you must makes its last few years as happy as possible One of the most frustrating things about good gundogs is that their working lives are so short.

      A dog is typically three or four years old when it matures into the best you have ever had, but ... See more
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      Giving your gundog a comfortable retirement
    • What are the laws and insurances needed when it comes to selling wild food?

      From field to fork Q: I have been asked by various people to give them ferreted rabbits for them to eat. My local butcher, whom I used to supply, has told me that I need this certificate and that insurance to supply rabbits to the public. Is he scaremongering or is this true? If it is, is there a way around this legal problem?

      A: Unfortunately your butcher is right. The sale of food is governed by laws and insurances but when it comes to wild game, we have a legal loophole called the hunters’ exemption. If it is just a few people eating at home, then very few people adhere to the law. When ferreters sell a few eating rabbits for food or barter for the odd pint, what 
you see is what you get. If you want 
to provide pubs or restaurants with rabbits, even with the hunters’ exemption the rabbits will have to 
be prepared in an environment that passes all the local authority’s food 
and hygiene inspections and criteria.

      The hunters’ exemption is when you are the one — or part of a team — who has harvested wild game. You need 
to register with your local authority 
as a food business, have a preparation area that passes all inspections, have a legal means of disposing of the waste and be able to document every rabbit prepared and processed, where and when and who received them. Traceability is the most important word in this process. Do you need insurance to sell the odd rabbit? That is something you would have to look into.

      For more information on this, 
BASC, the Countryside Alliance and 
the Food Standards Agency have sections on their websites.
      What are the laws and insurances needed when it comes to selling wild food?

      From field to fork Q: I have been asked by various people to give them ferreted rabbits for them to eat. My local butcher, whom I used to supply, has told me that I need this certificate and that insurance to supply rabbits to the public. Is he scaremongering or is this true? If it ... See more
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      Rabbits for the table – what’s the law on selling wild food?
    • Holland & Holland’s Green and Silver Feathers courses have introduced many lady guns to game shooting – and helped to improve technique, as Alexandra Henton discovers

      Samantha Mair on a Silver Feathers course.Holland & Holland have been introducing lady guns to shooting for years with their Green and Silver Feathers courses. Alexandra Henton discovers how expert instruction is crucial to improving technique.

      For more on ladies shooting, read our Sporting Dianas column, where seriously sporting ladies write about their lives and offer advice and encouragement. Serena Williams shares her sporting journey from Pony Club pistol-shooting to gold-medal boar days. Sport is a family affair for Lady Melissa Percy and Lucie Boedts-Kuehnle, founder of the Ladies Macnab Club, explains why the Macnab became her sporting obsession.

      LADIES SHOOTING
      It gets to a certain point at which rubbing along starts to become a little bit tiresome. I’ve never had this problem on a horse, would never dream of heading out onto the hunting field without riding every day (as near as dammit) for the three months prior to tally ho. Even my casting gets the odd look in away from the water. But season in and season out I had become the sort of gun who enjoys shooting, has some wonderful opportunities and great craic but is lingering on a plateau in performance. Felling the occasional streaking crosser garners an admiring glance but then the incoming “sitter” makes its winged way through unscathed. It had become a sporting version of snakes and ladders with far more serpents on the board than there should have been.

      Sarah Bolter (left) and Claire Davis (right) at the driven partridge stand.

      In this situation, when a little, some or even quite a bit of knowledge has got one so far but no further, I was left wondering about the next step to take in order to heft myself out of the shooting badlands of too little, not often, too many instructors and too much conflicting advice. The answer came in the form of feathers.

      Holland & Holland has been running the Green Feathers course since 1995, when it started a ladies shooting course in conjunction with Harpers & Queen to encourage more girls into game shooting. “We identified the need for a shooting course for ladies as there were no alternatives,” says Steve Denny, director at Holland & Holland’s Shooting Grounds. “In the first year more than 200 ladies took part. All shot game and the game day at the end of the course took place at Holland & Holland’s shoot in Devon. It wasn’t until about 2010 that other grounds started catching up with us.”

      So if the Feathers course was the blueprint for getting girls game ready, I was keen to experience just what effect it might have on some average shooting. The Green Feathers course is for the shooting novice and there are about 50 ladies coming through it every year. “It is very much instruction based,” explains Denny. “On the Feathers course you will get a thorough grounding in basic technique. This isn’t a have-a-go session. In the first three hours you will learn more than some people know who have been shooting for five years.” This emphasis on early technical stuff, eye dominance, familiarisation and everything that comes before the first shot is key. “The shooting is not the major part,” he confirms.

      EXPERT INSTRUCTION
      For £295, the Green Feathers course offers three hours of instruction (50 clays) with a Holland & Holland (H&H) expert (or three two-hour sessions if you shoot with a friend) and then an invitation to the Feathers competition at the end of the course. The four highest-placed shots are then offered a place on a game day, to be taken later that season. Most usefully during the course you can also book extra discounted lessons to hone those newfound skills. The Silver Feathers course, for those who have shot before, follows the same pattern, with 75 clays per lesson and a more testing course at the end. The winner and runner-up of the final day’s competition join the Green Feathers high scorers in the line on the game day. Both courses run from January to the end of April, with an additional Silver course running from July to the end of August.

      Nathan Dudley instructs the writer.

      “We have lots of good equipment,” says Denny. “We use Beretta guns, scaled down for ladies, and have more than 40 different 20-bores in all different stock lengths, as well as 28- and 12-bores, all in side-by-side or over-and-under. The guns are also numbered, so once the gun suits and fits it can be used every time.” Over the past 22 years, 1,700 ladies have passed through the H&H Feathers course and some have gone on to shoot exceptionally well, including Alexandra Skeggs, who now shoots sporting and Olympic skeet for Britain; she saw the Feathers course and signed up when shooting with a group of friends.

      There is a real desire to get ladies shooting well at H&H, and the Silver Feathers proved a wealth of expert guidance and useful information. Shooting round with Chris Bird, chief instructor, was eye opening and our lengthy discussions on eye dominance and the latest thinking, the sensible advice and calm encouragement, were refreshing. After a driven grouse invitation turned to a walked-up one at late notice, Bird had me padding the mown lawn by the grouse traps in pouring rain but his instruction resulted in my first-ever grouse being half of a right-and-left. One just wishes an H&H instructor at one’s shoulder in the field would come as standard. While the instruction takes place one (or two) to one, which is vital to start to master the sport, or right poor technique, the conviviality comes at the competition day.

      FEATHERS FRIENDS
      On the last day of the course, Feathers ladies gather, shoot round in teams, their competitive edge to the fore, and then catch up over something delicious for lunch. Most are based in and around London and all were a treat to talk to and a fun gang to shoot round with. Some had experience, others shot only clays and some had been doing the Feathers course for several years.

      Charlotte Brunning takes an overhead bird.

      Lisa MacDougall came to the Silver Feathers course after shooting regularly at Bisley; she won with a score of 53. “I’m not from a shooting background,” she admits. “I spent years trying to learn to play golf properly but ended up as nothing more than a long-distance hockey player, I just couldn’t get the ball off the ground. I bought my then-husband a shooting lesson as a present, went with him, had a go and hit a few clays. And thought, ‘Wow! I could do this’.” MacDougall has never shot game, “I am a total, complete and utter novice when it comes to game knowledge, although I have tried a simulated day before.” H&H encourages ladies who haven’t shot game to bring someone with them, or hire an instructor for the day.

      Karen Griffiths won the Green Feathers course with an impressive score of 42 and then went on to impress over the Silver Feathers course in the summer, having held a gun for the first time in February. “I completed my first Feathers course as an introduction to shooting, to learn more about it and see if it was something I wanted to pursue,” she says. “To my utter surprise, I won it.  I learnt so much from completing the course and met some really lovely people, I signed up for the Silver Feathers course as soon as I could. I was hooked.” Griffiths has since shot on a Femmes Fatales day and has now applied for her own shotgun certificate. “I’m really looking forward to the game day and excited to (hopefully) shoot something, too, but also a little nervous as it is my first ever one and don’t want to make a complete fool of myself,” she confides.

      “We want to give ladies a thorough grounding so they are ready to go on and shoot more, whether that be at a Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club event or a local ground,” adds Denny.

      The summer Silver Feathers group.

      “The best part of the course is by far the competition day at the end – such a fantastic way to meet a wonderful mix of ladies with a common interest, spend the day away from the office and let loose on the flurry shoot once the competition part is over,” says Samantha Mair, who works in the City and had been taking lessons on and off for a year. “I grew up in Devon, so used to shoot occasionally with family or friends, but after I started university I didn’t pick up a shotgun again until last year.” Mair had a blast as we shot round the competition course, although rued starting off on the Silver Feathers course, particularly with a day’s game shooting to compete for.

      After lunch everyone had the chance to shoot a flurry and practise on the rifle range. “Trying out the H&H rifle ranges was an unexpected treat at the end of the day,” she says. “I really enjoy shooting round the H&H ground. The only thing it lacks is a café on site – a lady still has to eat.”

      Sarah Bolter was in agreement about the competition day. “It is something I would not have done if it wasn’t for the course and it was a fantastic day out. It was great to meet lots of fellow lady shooters and put the skills I learned in my lessons to the test.” Bolter shot well and I was again impressed by just how much grounding and confidence three lessons can give a gun. “I go clay-pigeon shooting with friends a few times a year and borrow their guns as I don’t have my own. Now I plan on applying for my licence so I can purchase my own gun and shoot more often.”

      Shooting the flurry.

      More signs of the keen shot were found in Claire Davis, who shot round the Silver Feathers course twice and took the runner-up spot both times, the last to Irina Alekseeva. Both shot 53. “I had read about the Silver Feathers course but hadn’t followed it. Soon afterwards I shot a simulated game day at Sandringham with a group of ladies, one of whom was Dawn Fields. I admired her shooting technique, which was put down to the lessons at H&H. Although I shot well I found myself lacking the technique and that is what prompted me to take the course.” Davis started shooting two years ago on a Femmes Fatales day at sporting clays. “I was hooked almost immediately. My father had taught us to shoot as children using small-calibre rifles and air rifles. It felt wrong in the beginning to continue moving the gun while aiming at the ‘target’ and some days, if I allow myself to over think, it reverts back to feeling alien,” she admits. “I wish I had known about it when I first held a gun and had been taught properly from the beginning.”

      Davis echoes my point. With a shotgun in hand it can sometimes feel as though there are far too many ways to miss. Proper instruction is paramount. Fun days shooting round with the husband (although, to be frank, these often degenerate into bad-tempered sparring days) are no substitute for real expertise. Whether you sign up for the Feathers course, or pick up a gun closer to home, get the groundwork right and the rest will follow. As for me, my Pauline moment came after three lessons in a week. Suddenly everything was shot when it should have been and it all started to feel natural. As Aesop would finish: the wise gun practises often and doesn’t expect to become an expert after a handful of days in the field.

      The next Feathers course at Holland & Holland begins in February 2018. To apply, call 01923 825349 or go to hollandandholland.com/shooting-grounds
      Holland & Holland’s Green and Silver Feathers courses have introduced many lady guns to game shooting – and helped to improve technique, as Alexandra Henton discovers

      Samantha Mair on a Silver Feathers course.Holland & Holland have been introducing lady guns to shooting for years with their Green and Silver Feathers courses. Alexandra Henton discovers how expert instruction is crucial to improving technique.

      For more on ladies shooting, read our Sporting Dianas ... See more
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      Ladies shooting: fun on the Feathers course at Holland & Holland
    • Sure it's what every responsible shooter should have in place? Liam Bell answers two queries on the subject.

      All responsible shooters should have insurance Q: I beat on several shoots. The headkeeper on one of them is insisting that anyone who wants to shoot the keeper’s day in January has to produce a certificate or insurance or a membership card for one of the shooting organisations that includes third-part insurance.

      None of the beating team on that particular shoot has ever had an accident. W only shoot there one day a year and it is now going to cost us an extra £50 or more to do so. What are your thoughts?

      A: I am continually surprised by the number of people who shoot who are uninsured. I think the headkeeper’s stance is perfectly reasonable, and his insistence that anyone shooting the keeper’s days produces an insurance certificate or membership badge from one of the shooting organisations which provide third-party insurance will no doubt form part of his shoot day risk assessment.

      The fact that neither you nor any other members of the beating team have ever had a shooting-related accident is good news, but sadly not really relevant. Accidents can happen so quickly, to anyone who is foolish enough to shoot uninsured. Joining a shooting organisation such as the National Gamekeepers Organisation (as a supporter member), costs less than the £50 a year you have quoted, and not only will you be insured for third-party liabilities, you will also be helping to protect the sport you love.
      Sure it's what every responsible shooter should have in place? Liam Bell answers two queries on the subject.

      All responsible shooters should have insurance Q: I beat on several shoots. The headkeeper on one of them is insisting that anyone who wants to shoot the ... See more
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      Should everyone be covered by shooting insurance?
    • Ed Solomons, shooting coach and former FITASC Sporting World Champion, offers some useful tips.

      One of the first things I do when starting a training plan with new customers is to set a list of goals that they wish to achieve over the coming season, followed by what you might call a “shooting basics health check”.

      This isn’t anything especially exciting. However I think it is vital to get the basics right from the start and highlight any current problem areas. This health check gives a solid platform to progress from through the season.

      To start 2018 off, I am going to run over some of these points so you can have a little more structure to your shooting, and to give you a platform to work from going forward,  should you wish to kick on a little bit in the new year.

      Great day out today showing my youngest protege the way! Well done Harry great work, and put the new bits and bobs from @farlowsuk to good use, toasty!! pic.twitter.com/CkdPAlDen2

      — Ed Solomons (@edsolomonscoach) December 28, 2017

      Making sure your eyes work their best
      One of the most important areas of interest, and most often overlooked (pardon the pun!) are the eyes.

      If your eyes aren’t working at their best, you will never be able to shoot at your best. Over the past five years I have been working in conjunction with Ed Lyons who has helped countless shooters including myself get the most from their eyes. This not only includes a 2-3 hour in depth exam, but Ed is also able to custom tint lenses in shooting specific styles and offer advice on all things ocular.

      One very important aspect of this is eye dominance. Eye dominance is not fixed, and can change as we get older, as well as with fatigue, hydration and stress. A fairly small shift in dominance can cause big problems for your shooting, however is easy to correct- so if you were to do one thing on my list, a trip to see an ocular specialist like Mr Lyons would be top of my list.

      Gun fit terms you need to know
      Do you know this gun fit terminology? Cast Cast off: This is the degree to which the shotgun’s stock is offset…

      Gun mount and gun fit – going back to basics
      Close decoying pigeons often look like the easiest shot, but too many misses can be the start to a memorable…

      Gun Fit
      I am a big believer that for most people, close enough is good enough when it comes to gun fit, as few people actually have a consistently good enough mount to truly fit a gun accurately.

      However, there are certain dimensions that can cause serious shooting struggles and a competent and knowledgeable coach can pick up on these and offer suggestions to get the stock tweaked to make life a lot easier.

      If you find your shooting has tailed off over time and you have ruled out visual problems, gun fit would be my next basic to check.

      The gun that fitted you perfectly three seasons ago may no longer be appropriate, especially if you have gained or lost weight, or changed shooting style/mount.

      Even a change in clothing can have an impact- if you had your gun fitted at the start of the grouse season you most likely had a light shirt on and perhaps a tweed vest. Back end of the season you will be base layer, shirt, jumper/fleece and a jacket. This affects stock length by no small measure, which has a knock-on effect to drop and cast at face and head position, all of which will impact your results.

      Problem Birds
      The next bit is a little self-analysis – you should already be aware if there are certain presentations of birds (be they clay or game) that are likely to cause you more problems than others.

      If it helps keep a notebook handy with your shooting kit to keep an up do date list of what you perceive to be problems.

      This is the first step towards addressing your issues with a coach, and it will help the instructor get to the bottom of any issues faster.

      The more information the better, is one side stronger that the other? Is it always straight birds causing you problems?

      Stopping the gun on left to rights but not right to lefts? All of these will have a root cause and once you make a list of your problems they become much easier to deal with. You wouldn’t go to the doctors without a list of symptoms, don’t do the same with a coach!

      Beautiful day out at @shootksg today not as cold as it looked and nice and quiet- perfect coaching conditions! pic.twitter.com/mR4IXhtECv

      — Ed Solomons (@edsolomonscoach) December 12, 2017

      Practice
      I can’t think of an activity where you can make meaningful progress without practice, and shooting is no different.

      The key for me is to have structured, focused practice as opposed to just pulling the trigger x number of times and making your way home.

       If you have had lessons, you should get either a training plan or some key points to focus on to address any issues in your technique. This may be something as simple as working foot position better, ingraining a new technique for applying lead, or slowing the mount down and getting the hands working better together.

      If you haven’t been given a plan, try and focus on the basics, foot position, good controlled mount (don’t rush), slow smooth swing and focusing hard on the target making sure you finish the shot.

      Don’t be the shooter on the first day of the season who hasn’t picked a gun up since late January- you won’t be doing yourself any favours!

       Ed Solomons has joined Farlows as a brand ambassador for shooting and fieldwear. You can get in touch with him here.
      Ed Solomons, shooting coach and former FITASC Sporting World Champion, offers some useful tips.

      One of the first things I do when starting a training plan with new customers is to set a list of goals that they wish to achieve over the coming season, followed by what you might call a “shooting basics health check”.

      This isn’t anything especially exciting. However I think it is vital to get the basics right from the start and highlight any current problem areas. ... See more
      See more on line
      How to improve your clay shooting in 2018
    • It's been a harsh winter in many parts of the country. Here's our advice on keeping kenneled dogs comfortable and cosy.

      Moving house dogs outside
      Q: With the recent addition 
of twin babies into the home 
it is now not practical or sensible 
for my three gundogs to live inside. We have a good-sized barn and were wondering if they would be all right out there day and night until the children are older. Would dog beds and some straw be sufficient?

      A: Though your dogs have been 
used to the comforts of the family home they should soon acclimatise 
to life outdoors, even if this time of 
year is not the ideal time to start the acclimatisation process. Most dogs 
that are kept in a social group enjoy 
snuggling up together but others 
prefer to be on their own; you should know what your dogs do at present 
and provide for them accordingly. 
A covered-in box or dog bed just big enough for them to curl up in is much cosier and warmer than an open bed.

      A Vetbed is well worth the investment

      Avoid straw
      Bedding comes in many forms and because of harbouring vermin, straw should be avoided. A reusable and washable Vetbed is designed to let moisture pass through away from 
a damp dog. It is expensive but well worth the investment and though not indestructible it is very resilient to wear and tear. Bales of shredded paper are probably the best type of loose bedding material. It can be easily disposed of when it gets dirty and does not harbour insects and vermin as straw would.

      Buy Vetbed here from Amazon now for £15.48

      Your dogs should be cared for well through the winter. After shooting, when they are likely to be dirty and wet, besides towelling off after washing, a heat lamp is ideal for getting them completely dry. They can then settle down into a well-covered, warm bed 
and come to no harm even on the coldest of winter nights.
      It's been a harsh winter in many parts of the country. Here's our advice on keeping kenneled dogs comfortable and cosy.

      Moving house dogs outside
      Q: With the recent addition 
of twin babies into the home 
it is now not practical or sensible 
for my three gundogs to live inside. We have a good-sized barn and were wondering if they would be all right out there day and night until the children are older. Would dog beds and some straw be sufficient?

      A: Though ... See more
      See more on line
      How do I keep my dogs warm in kennels in winter?
    • Can dogs get colds and flu like humans? Or are they immune?

      Q: My dog has suddenly started sneezing. Can dogs get colds and flu like humans? Over the 
past few days there have been persistent bouts of sneezing, runny nose and she snores when asleep as if her nose is blocked.

      So can dogs get colds?
      A: Dogs don’t get colds and flu in the same way that we do and upper respiratory tract infections in dogs are commonly characterised 
by coughing rather than sneezing.

      The signs you describe suggest she most likely has some form of rhinitis, an inflammation or infection of the nasal passages. There are numerous causes of rhinitis in dogs and the condition can be either acute (short duration followed by complete recovery) or chronic (longer-lasting with symptoms that persist).

      Acute rhinitis is most commonly caused by viral and/or bacterial infections. Chronic rhinitis can have various causes including fungal infection (often associated with 
a foreign body lodged up the nose), allergies, nasal polyps and tumours. Acute rhinitis tends to be associated with a clear nasal discharge whereas chronic rhinitis causes a thicker discharge which may contain 
blood, pus and mucous.

      Hypothermia in dogs
      A: Yes. Under the right conditions dogs, and indeed any warm-blooded mammal, can suffer hypothermia. Hypothermia in dogs occurs when an animal’s core body…

      Can you solve bad breath in gun dogs?
      I have noticed that my three-year-old spaniel’s breath has started to smell.

      The appropriate form of 
treatment will, of course, depend on what is causing the problem, but as long as it is treated promptly an acute infection will usually respond to 
a course of antibiotics and clear up 
in a matter of days. It can also help 
to use a humidifier or otherwise make sure the dog is not in an environment that is too dry. Making the dog inhale over a steam bath or Friars’ Balsam may help to clear 
her nose and assist recovery.

      Chronic rhinitis is much more difficult to treat, though it is usually possible to control or ameliorate the symptoms. If left untreated, acute rhinitis can become chronic in nature so it would be best to take the dog to a vet, who can investigate the problem, try to diagnose the cause and therefore prescribe the best form of treatment.
      Can dogs get colds and flu like humans? Or are they immune?

      Q: My dog has suddenly started sneezing. Can dogs get colds and flu like humans? Over the 
past few days there have been persistent bouts of sneezing, runny nose and she snores when asleep as if her nose is blocked.

      So can dogs get colds?
      A: Dogs don’t get colds and flu in the same way that we do and upper respiratory tract infections in dogs are commonly characterised 
by See more
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      Can dogs get colds?
    • Vulnerable people in Scotland received a meal of nutritious game over the Christmas period, thanks to the hard work of gamekeepers.

      Angus keeper Dominic Simpson collected festive game dishes for distribution to the charities Angus and Grampian gamekeepers teamed up to give more than 600 homeless and vulnerable people a freshly cooked meal of local game over the festive period.

      Members of the Angus Glens Moorland Group and Grampian Moorland Group worked to deliver locally reared oven-ready pheasants and partridges, as well as fresh venison and rabbit from nearby hills, to several care, family and community causes.

      Game for Giving
      The “Game for Giving” bags, provided by the keepers, included pheasant or partridge, along with vegetables, Christmas puddings and mince pies. The free-range meat was prepared for cooking by royal-warranted butcher H M Sheridan in Ballater and Sinclair’s Kitchen in Forfar.

      Lianne MacLennan, co-ordinator of both the Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland groups, said: “The moorland groups, which comprise gamekeepers, shepherds, estate staff and their families, have been collaborating with local charities for some time.

      “It is not solely a Christmas initiative, but there are particular requirements at this time of the year and the members have been delighted to get involved to help.

      “We made it known on social media that we wanted to see quality local game being tasted by more people, as it is a healthy, free-range product that not enough people get the chance to enjoy. Working like this helps everyone. Our group members are delighted to see the game being appreciated by people and to support vital homeless, family and community causes at this time of year.”

      Shoot raises more than £300k for charity
      The Berkshire shoot took place on 20 May, hosted by Andrew Taee, chairman of the event and patron of fund-raising…

      Gamekeepers raise £30,000 for cancer charity
      Team of grouse moor keepers raise £30,000 for local cancer charities.

      Supporting charities
      Among the Grampian beneficiaries were homeless charity Aberdeen Cyrenians, several branches of the family support group Home-Start, and CFINE, which distributes healthy produce and operates a food bank. In Angus, meals were sent to well-being organisation Voluntary Action Angus, support hub and charity Brechin Community Pantry, Montrose Christmas Meals and advice and accommodation charity Transform, based in Dundee.

      Leah Bruce, senior co-ordinator for Home-Start, said: “We could not be more grateful for the hard work and effort of the groups, the butchers and chefs involved.

      “People who had probably never bought game before enjoyed it and we have welcomed the Game for Giving bags ever since.”
      Vulnerable people in Scotland received a meal of nutritious game over the Christmas period, thanks to the hard work of gamekeepers.

      Angus keeper Dominic Simpson collected festive game dishes for distribution to the charities Angus and Grampian gamekeepers teamed up to give more than 600 homeless and vulnerable people a freshly cooked meal of local game over the festive period.

      Members of the See more
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      Keepers helped feed homeless this Christmas
    • Rural workers can help to conserve grey partridges by taking part in this year's population count.

      Keepers, farmers and land managers are being urged to take part in the Partridge Count Scheme this spring.

      The annual monitoring initiative, which started in 1933, is led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and collects information on the breeding success of grey partridges, which have been in steep decline since the 1960s.

      Gaining a better understanding
      Whether you own a small field or a large estate, by taking the time to record partridge numbers on your land, participants can contribute to a better understanding of how the birds are faring across the country and which management measures appear to be working.

      Neville Kingdon, the GWCT scientist co-ordinating the results of the scheme, said: “This really is the time when we need you to log details of the numbers you have on your land. In general, partridge numbers have been in decline since World War II due to a range of factors, but taking part in the count will help provide results on the current limitations.

      “Management for grey partridges has additional benefits for the diversity of wildlife you see on your land or shoot, with increases in arable flora, farmland invertebrates and farmland birds all possible.”

      Grey partridge in decline despite DEFRA schemes
      The national decline of farmland bird species, including the grey partridge, has continued, despite new figures from DEFRA showing there…

      GWCT calls in grey partridge counts
      Despite the late harvest, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is urging shooters to send in their autumn count figures…

      Take your time when counting
      Mr Kingdon said that each count can be done in the morning or the evening and added: “It’s best not to attempt everything all at once, take your time when counting, as the results give us an idea as to what’s happening on the ground.

      “There are no restrictions on how many partridges you need to have as each and every one matters and all counts are submitted to the Trust’s national database.”

      There are currently 15 regional PCS groups which meet to provide face-to-face explanations on how to manage land effectively for grey partridges.

      Factsheets on habitat creation, management and predation control are also available for download from the GWCT’s advisory web pages.

      To take part in the count and for more details, email partridgecount scheme@gwct.org.uk.
      Rural workers can help to conserve grey partridges by taking part in this year's population count.

      Keepers, farmers and land managers are being urged to take part in the Partridge Count Scheme this spring.

      The annual monitoring initiative, which started in 1933, is led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and collects information on the breeding success of grey partridges, which have been in steep decline since the 1960s.

      Gaining a better ... See more
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      Help to save grey partridges by noting your numbers
    • Birmingham’s successful Commonwealth bid has been tempered by reports that there will be no shooting at the Games for the first time in over half a century.

      Pic credit: AlamyShooting sports look set to be excluded from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, reportedly due to the lack of a suitable venue.

      This will be the first time since 1970 that shooting has not featured at the Games and shooters have expressed shock after the BBC reported that the exclusion was due to a “lack of appropriate facilities” near to the host city.

      Bisley Shooting Ground in Surrey, which hosted the shooting at the Manchester 2002 Games, was apparently dismissed as too far away, despite plans for track cycling to be held in London.

      “Big blow to shooting”
      Steve Scott, who won two gold medals for England at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and 2014, as well as Olympic bronze in Rio last year, told Shooting Times that it would be a “big blow to shooting” and a “sad start to 2018” if the sport was dropped from Birmingham 2022.

      He said: “Obviously we’ve still got the Olympic Games and all the other world events we try to achieve in. But everyone who has tried to get to the Commonwealth Games this year and didn’t, and has more than the ability to win a medal in 2022, are not going to have that opportunity to do so.”

      Mr Scott, who is also on the Team England squad for the 2018 Games on Australia’s Gold Coast this coming April, said “off the top of his head” that Bisley is “more than adequate” and “not a million miles away” from Birmingham. He added that his current focus is on the upcoming Games and hoped that success in Australia would help to put shooting back on the programme.

      Clay Pigeon Shooting Association chief executive Nick Fellows said the exclusion would “significantly disrupt Team England’s medal quest”.

      He commented: “Shooting contributed no fewer than 15 of the Team England medal tally at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and England has won a total of 168 shooting medals over the years — more than any other competing nation and over 20 per cent of the medals available.

      “Fantastic” facilities at Bisley
      “Fantastic facilities have been offered to the organisers at Bisley Shooting Ground, which successfully hosted the shooting competitions for the 2002 Games in Manchester and the bid team has already agreed to hold track cycling at the London Velodrome, demonstrating that a non-Birmingham venue is perfectly viable.”

      Mr Fellows added that there were concerted efforts to persuade Birmingham of the value of putting shooting back on to the programme.

      British Shooting said it was deeply disappointed that shooters would not be among those UK athletes enjoying the “wonderful opportunity” of competing on home soil and shared its surprise that the Birmingham bid team considered the Bisley Shooting Ground to be too far away. The Countryside Alliance likewise said that it would be working hard to reverse what it said was a “short-sighted decision”.
      Birmingham’s successful Commonwealth bid has been tempered by reports that there will be no shooting at the Games for the first time in over half a century.

      Pic credit: AlamyShooting sports look set to be excluded from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, reportedly due to the lack of a suitable venue.

      This will be the first time since 1970 that shooting has not featured at the Games and shooters have expressed shock after the BBC reported that the exclusion was ... See more
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      Shooting dropped from Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
    • Try something a little different for your Burns Night supper, with Philippa Davis' haggis parcels with marmalade, spinach and goat's cheese

      Both haggis and marmalade are very much associated with Scotland's culinary history.Burns Night would be incomplete without haggis, but why not try something a little different this year? Philippa Davis’ haggis parcels with marmalade, spinach and goat’s cheese is the perfect winter food. And with haggis and marmalade, this supper is suitably Scottish and perfect for the celebrations.

      For more ideas for your Burns Night supper, our baked scallops with sautéed leeks, Crowdie and breadcrumbs makes an impressive starter.

      HAGGIS PARCELS WITH MARMALADE, SPINACH AND GOAT’S CHEESE
      This impressive-looking dish combines two ingredients very much associated with Scotland’s culinary history.

      There are some who have been led to believe that the haggis is a small animal with two longer legs on one side to stop it rolling down the Scottish hills. In reality, of course, it is a savoury pudding that was likely to have been made first by the Romans but is now very much considered Scottish.

      Made from the pluck, heart, liver and lungs of sheep and a mix of spices, oatmeal, suet and onion, it is the perfect winter food.

      We have the Scots to thank for making orange marmalade into a spreadable breakfast treat, too. The story goes that an industrious merchant and his wife made the most out of a cargo of Seville oranges from a Spanish ship stranded in Dundee harbour back in 1700.

      Makes 2

      - 1 small yellow onion
      - 1 tbsp olive oil
      - 200g spinach
      - 2 heaped tsp marmalade
      - 50g soft goat’s cheese
      - 150g cooked cooled haggis
      - 2 tbsp melted butter
      - 6 sheets filo pastry
      Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 2½.

      Slice the onion and sauté in the olive oil on a medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes). Allow to cool.

      Wilt the spinach with a splash of water, season then place in a colander and allow to drip drain whilst it cools.

      Spoon your marmalade onto a chopping board and finely mince before mixing with the goat’s cheese.

      Mix the cooked haggis, spinach and onions and pat into two small round cakes.

      To assemble, take three sheets of filo. Lightly brush the first with melted butter, place another sheet on top and again brush with butter. Repeat until you have a stack of three.

      Smear half the goat’s cheese and marmalade mix in the middle in a small circle, place one of the haggis cakes on top then fold up the edges of the filo creating a parcel with a frilly top. Brush all over and underneath with butter then place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Repeat to make the other parcel.

      Once both parcels are made bake for 40 minutes; if the tops look like they are browning too fast you can cover them loosely with foil. Serve hot.
      Try something a little different for your Burns Night supper, with Philippa Davis' haggis parcels with marmalade, spinach and goat's cheese

      Both haggis and marmalade are very much associated with Scotland's culinary history.Burns Night would be incomplete without haggis, but why not try something a little different this year? Philippa Davis’ haggis parcels with marmalade, spinach and goat’s cheese is the perfect winter food. And with haggis and marmalade, this supper is ... See more
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      Haggis parcels with marmalade, spinach and goat’s cheese
    • What can you do about dog 'death' breath? Tony Buckwell advises

      Bad breath in dogs is a common problem Q: One of our dogs has absolutely awful breath. Both dogs are fed the same and the other dog’s breath isn’t half as bad. My wife has tried brushing his teeth, but he doesn’t like it. We have tried dental chews and they have plenty of toys to chew on. Any other suggestions on how to get rid of it?

      A: Bad breath, which is technically termed halitosis, is one of the most common dental problems faced by dog owners.

      Bad breath in dogs can typically be 
a result of periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, the accumulation of food and plaque and the consequential build-up of odour-producing bacteria 
in the mouth.

      It can also be caused by digestive system problems. Just because two dogs are fed similar food doesn’t necessarily mean that their breath will smell the same.

      Gun dog health: Why is my gun dog losing weight?
      Gun dog health: My dog has always lost a lot of weight towards the middle of the shooting season.

      Are your gun dog’s teeth healthy?
      Even if the season's ended, it's vital to keep an eye on your gun dog's health and condition.

      Bad breath can also indicate that something may be wrong with the liver (unusually foul odour accompanying vomiting, lack of appetite, and yellow-tinged eyes or gums) or kidney problems (when the breath often smells like urine). Unusually sweet-smelling breath could be an indication of diabetes (particularly if the dog has been drinking and urinating more frequently than usual).

      Take a good look in the dog’s mouth. Most often, canine bad breath is caused by dental or gum disease, and certain dogs, particularly small ones, are especially prone to plaque and tartar. 
If this is the case the dog may need dental treatment by your vet.

      If you are unable to see exactly 
what is causing the bad breath then 
certainly visit a vet as they can diagnose the cause and advise on treatment. Prevention is always better than 
cure and a dental check-up as part 
of an annual visit to the vet can 
help. Brushing your dog’s teeth on 
a regular basis is a good idea and you should find videos online that best demonstrate the technique.

      Bad breath in dogs – what to remember
      - It can be a sign of dental disease
      - It can be a build-up of tarter/plaque around the top of the teeth
      - A clean and polish by the dentist could resolve the smell issue
      - Healthy gums should be an even, pink colour
      - Infected guns will be reddish where the teeth meet the gums
      - Dental chews will help
      - Make a monthly inspection of your dog’s teeth
      What can you do about dog 'death' breath? Tony Buckwell advises

      Bad breath in dogs is a common problem Q: One of our dogs has absolutely awful breath. Both dogs are fed the same and the other dog’s breath isn’t half as bad. My wife has tried brushing his teeth, but he doesn’t like it. We have tried dental chews and they have plenty of toys to chew on. Any other suggestions on how to get rid of it?

      A: Bad breath, which is technically termed halitosis, is one of the ... See more
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      Can you solve bad breath in gun dogs?
    • It's that time of year again

      At this time of year the birds are going to have been there, seen it, done it.

      Time for some high pheasant shooting tips
      By now there’s a good chance that many of the pheasants on the shoot will have been shot at already, and their natural defence mechanism tells them to get up as high as possible, and as quickly as possible.

      A post shared by matt (@greeriee) on Jan 7, 2018 at 9:29am PST

      These are generally pretty testing targets, but they’re genuinely sporting and they’ll be the ones you remember at the end of the season.

      So you need to know how to tackle high pheasant shooting properly.

      Unlike clay targets, where it doesn’t really matter if you miss, live quarry has to be respected so if you don’t think you can kill it cleanly, don’t pull the trigger.

      Here’s what it takes to master hitting high driven birds and how to practice on a sporting layout at the clay ground.

      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…

      High pheasant shooting tips
      Chris Bird at Hollands offers some high pheasant shooting tips

      So what exactly is a high bird?
      I’d say about 20 yards. That’s about the length of a cricket pitch, or roughly the distance between streetlights.

      Judging that distance in the air can be difficult as there are no reference points to draw on in an empty sky.

      There’s no easy way of learning other than through practice.

      Sight pictures memorised over the years will help – and a dollop of common sense.

      If the bird is comfortably clearing the tops of the trees you can make a pretty good guess that it’s going to be roughly between 15 and 25 yards up in the air.

      Think how much forward allowance you’d give to a straight crosser if it was flying at this distance – and give it the same amount of lead when you pull the trigger.

      Take time to study the target closely before firing and you’ll miss less and have fewer pricked birds.

      - Being steady on your feet is important for hitting high birds consistently
      - Transfer the weight from your front to back foot during the swing to keep things smooth
      - Practice dry mounting at home regularly to make the process second nature.
      - If you’re right handed, the distribution of your weight needs to be taken from the toe of the left foot, through a neutral flat-footed stance and onto the heel of the right foot. (The other way around if you’re left-handed).
      - Try and achieve a nice, smooth rocking action.
      - Don’t keep your weight on the front foot and rock from the waist. You may injure your back and you will restrict the swing of the gun.
      A post shared by Tom Payne (@tompayneshooting) on Dec 21, 2017 at 10:56am PST

      Don’t rush things
      Don’t mount your gun too soon. If you do, you’ll end up aiming at the bird rather than getting in front of it with a moving muzzle.

      Holding the gun in the shoulder for a long time will also make your arms ache – the gun will start to wobble, you’ll probably lift your face from the stock and, almost inevitably, you’ll miss the bird.

      Always aim for a parallel gun mount.

      This way the gun will come into the face as it should. If the gun isn’t mounted properly it will not point where you’re looking, resulting in a miss.

      The biggest mistake shooters make when presented with a high bird is to aim at the target – and even shooting novices know that this is a recipe for disaster.

      You must swing the gun – and keep it moving after the trigger has been pulled.

      Because of the distance, high birds often appear to be travelling slower than they really are, which tempts the shooter to aim directly at the bird. Don’t – you must swing the gun.

      How do you  get ahead of the bird. There are pros and cons for all the shooting styles, be it swing through, pull away or maintained lead.

      I’d generally opt for the pull away (CPSA) method.

      Swinging through the target or using maintained lead could be counter productive, as the muzzles can often obscure the bird.

      This  makes the shooter raise his head off the stock to get sight of the bird, the shooter is then not looking where the gun is pointing and you’ve got another miss or pricked bird to contend with.

      Take away tips from this article
      - Keep the muzzles up as the bird comes into view, but not so high that they obscure the target.
      - Don’t mount the gun too early, and try to pull away rather than swing through.
      - Be ready to transfer your weight onto the back foot if necessary.
      - If the bird is really high, move your hand down the fore end towards the breech as this allows more movement at the muzzles and will not restrict your swing.
      It's that time of year again

      At this time of year the birds are going to have been there, seen it, done it.

      Time for some high pheasant shooting tips
      By now there’s a good chance that many of the pheasants on the shoot will have been shot at already, and their natural defence mechanism tells them to get up as high as possible, and as quickly as possible.

      ... See more
      See more on line
      High pheasant shooting – how to master it
    • A fantastic high bird shoot at the world famous Bowmont Valley is up for auction. Four guns will shoot alongside the Duke of Roxburghe and Rob Wainwright - on a day that will be featured in The Field. All in aid of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation

      A day shooting over the world famous Bowmont Valley is up for auction, in aid of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.A fantastic high bird shoot is up for auction for an excellent cause. Four guns will have the opportunity to join the Duke of Roxburghe and former Scottish Rugby Captain and British & Irish Lion, Rob Wainwright, for the Doddie Weir shoot over the world famous Bowmont Valley. All money raised will go to Scottish rugby player Doddie Weir’s charity for motor neurone disease, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. And, to make the day even more special, Sir Johnny Scott will be in attendance to write up the day for The Field.

      To find about more about the charity and to make a donation, visit the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation JustGiving page.

      THE BOWMONT VALLEY DODDIE WEIR SHOOT
      Four guns are to be auctioned on the 26th January for the Bowmont Valley Doddie Weir Shoot, on a day that will be featured in The Field. Guns will have the opportunity to join the Duke of Roxburghe and former Scottish Rugby Captain Rob Wainwright to shoot the world famous Bowmont Valley, all in aid of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

      To shoot on the Duke’s private estate, on a day hosted by the Duke himself, is a very special auction lot indeed. Two nights’ accommodation is included.

      The day will be hosted by the Duke of Roxburghe and former Scottish Rugby Captain and British & Irish Lion, Rob Wainwright.

      The day itself will commence with being driven by 4x4s to draw pegs, followed by two drives. You will then stop for some bullshot with smoked salmon and sausages. Another drive will be followed by a three course lunch with good wine, and another drive or two to finish the day. The expected bag is between 150-200 pheasant and partridge with an average ratio of 10-1 – a top quality day.

      Bowmont Valley, situated in the heart of the Cheviot Hills, is one of the best high bird shoots in the country. Owned by the Duke of Roxburghe and Stuart Lang, and managed by Wilson Young, this superb shoot has developed over 50 drives for both pheasant and partridge over the last 15 years. Many of the drives are famous for their quality, including Sourhope, Auchope Cottage, Gloomy Cleuch, The King’s Seat and The Red Gyle. Owner Stuart Lang said, “the auction winner has a great opportunity to support Doddie and have a money can’t buy experience. Shooting the world famous Bowmont Valley with three friends in the company of the Duke of Roxburghe and Rob Wainwright, and have the day feature in The Field, will be very special.”

      MY NAME’5 DODDIE FOUNDATION
      Former Scottish rugby international Doddie Weir announced that he has motor neurone disease (MND) last year. MND is a terminal illness involving progressive damage to the nerves, resulting in muscle wastage. There is currently no cure, and about half of sufferers die within three years of developing the symptoms.

      The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation seeks to raise funds for research into the causes of MND and investigate potential cures. The foundation also makes grants to sufferers to enable them to live as fulfilled a life as possible. For more information and to make a donation, visit the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation JustGiving page.
      A fantastic high bird shoot at the world famous Bowmont Valley is up for auction. Four guns will shoot alongside the Duke of Roxburghe and Rob Wainwright - on a day that will be featured in The Field. All in aid of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation

      A day shooting over the world famous Bowmont Valley is up for auction, in aid of the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.A fantastic high bird shoot is up for auction for an excellent cause. Four guns will have the opportunity to join the Duke ... See more
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      High bird shoot day at Bowmont Valley up for auction for charity
    • “Hunting has made me,” says Daniel Crane, whose passion for the sport infuses his paintings. Janet Menzies is inspired to pull her boots on

      Hell For Leather.A passion for hunting infuses the work of sporting artist Daniel Crane. It is an enthusiasm so strong that Janet Menzies finds herself inspired to pull her boots on and go hunting.

      For more on sporting artists, Luci Maclaren depicts traditional, sporting scenes in a vibrant, contemporary style. And Charlie Langton captures the beauty and power of horses in life-size sculptures.

      DANIEL CRANE
      Writing about the enthralling paintings of equestrian artist Daniel Crane is difficult. This is not because of his neo-traditionalist compositions or his experiential use of light, or any of the other twiddly bits art critics talk about. It is, quite simply, because when you look at one of Crane’s hunting paintings every fibre of mind and muscle instantly wants you to pull on your boots and go hunting. Now! This makes it extremely difficult to remain seated in front of your computer. However, after three hours solid riding out and with no hunt meeting within 50 miles, it is possible to talk about Crane’s work.

      Oddly enough, the first things we talked about were, in fact, Crane’s neo-traditionalist compositions and his experiential use of light. “Lionel Edwards has been an important influence for me and his composition was special because he was first and foremost a foxhunting man and this informed his work. There’s no getting away from it, my passion is foxhunting and the environment in which you do it. I want to capture that experience – and the light is really the most important thing in doing that.

      Lengthening Shadows.

      “The processes surrounding hunting may change but the end result, what you experience in a day’s hunting, stays the same and it is locked into the land and the seasons. Edwards would have gone out cubbing and on hound exercise. It is autumn trail hunting nowadays but you still see those early morning mists. You can still smell the leaves as the frost begins to thaw off them; and you can feel the warmth of your horse and hear hounds working. This is what my work is about. I paint as a participant, not an observer.”

      Yet Crane’s early hunting experiences were as an observer. “My dad was a typical hunting farmer who kept a cob and hunted when hounds were within hacking distance. I loved watching him but I didn’t quite get it until one day when I was about 12 or 13 years old and hounds came through the back garden in full cry. I was transfixed. Then the cavalry came charging through and in a moment they were all gone again. But I was sat there like Mr Toad after the motor-horn, completely captivated.”

      The sound of the hunting horn grabbed Crane just as surely as the car fixated Toad, but, unlike Toad, he didn’t have the resources to do anything about it immediately. The decisive encounter with hounds didn’t come until several years later, when Crane and the hunt met from different ends of the day.

      “I was about 19 years old by then and wandering home from a party at dawn, as you do when you’re a teenager. Suddenly, I was surrounded by hounds. I said: ‘What is happening?’ And they explained they were out autumn hunting and I stayed and watched. They said they would be out again on Tuesday and that was it. I foot-followed for the next two seasons.”

      THE TRANSITION TO SPORTING ARTIST
      In the meantime, Crane was grappling with a familiar problem: “How do you make a living out of drawing and painting when you’re a farmer’s son? You can’t be a painter because it makes no money so I studied commercial design and art and got into the advertising side of creative work. As a side-line I also started doing cartoons for people’s 50th and 21st birthdays and they were very popular. I was soon doing a lot of cartoons with a hunting-based humour. Gradually, though, the sport of hunting came more to the fore and the cartoon element began to disappear.”

      Almost without noticing, Crane had made the transition to sporting artist. He started to take stands at equestrian and country sports events. “The first really successful outing was my first Badminton Horse Trials. I had about 14 or 15 originals and sold every single one of them. That put a rocket up my backside. I thought, what if I pull my finger out and really take this seriously?”

      Salt Air.

      Painting technique and passion about the subject came together and Crane found himself as absorbed in painting hunting as in hunting itself. He remembers: “I was hungry for the sport everywhere – in representation, between the pages – I was looking at Lionel Edwards’ illustrations. My technique came as a natural development, because every time I painted something I just wanted to work out how to paint it better.”

      This is how Crane has developed the capacity to elicit a visceral wave of recognition in those looking at his work. His authenticity and credibility is absolute. He explains: “About hunting, the memory is completely accurate. No matter how many days hunting you have, there is always something in a day that pins it in your memory. In my paintings it is specific – that beech tree, that particular stretch of hedge we jumped, exactly where hounds crossed Twyford Brook. Hunting has made me and I make the painting.”

      We carried on talking about hunting at this point but you can stop reading now – and go hunting.

      Daniel Crane also paints a range of equestrian subjects and his most recent commission celebrates the 70th anniversary of the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. Look out for Crane at Cheltenham Races over the winter, call him on 01507 343277 or visit his website at: www.danielcrane.co.uk
      “Hunting has made me,” says Daniel Crane, whose passion for the sport infuses his paintings. Janet Menzies is inspired to pull her boots on

      Hell For Leather.A passion for hunting infuses the work of sporting artist Daniel Crane. It is an enthusiasm so strong that Janet Menzies finds herself inspired to pull her boots on and go hunting.

      For more on sporting artists, ... See more
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      Daniel Crane, sporting artist
    • Sorting out the order for the end of season beaters' days can be tricky. So keep it simple, says Liam Bell

      Beaters' day at the Longford estate, Salisbury, WiltshireAs January approaches, thoughts of keepers, beaters and pickers-up are turning to the end-of- season cock’s or beaters’ days. Originally called keeper’s days — because they were gifted to the keeper to invite whom 
he wished — the Guns are now usually 
a mix of the keeper’s guests, the beaters and pickers-up and a few helpers.

      Earning a place
      Regardless of what you call the days, it is worth remembering that everyone there has either earned their place by being part of the beating team, because they have helped the shoot or the keeper in some way, or because the keeper 
has invited them. More than once 
I have been a guest of a friend, whose beaters have viewed my presence and those of other guests with suspicion.

      Our format for beaters’ day
      - As soon as everyone is there, we split into two teams.
      - I pick a team captain for each, then divide the more regular beaters, guests and helpers between the two.
      - We toss a coin to decide who beats first and who stands.
      - After listing a few rules, and reminding all of the importance of not getting so carried away with the shooting that they forget to be safe, we move off.
      - We try to organise the drives so that the teams see an equal number of birds, but it rarely works out that way. There is always a team who gets more shooting than the other.
      - The Guns know we try to even things out and accept that they’ll be in the thick of it on some drives and less so on others.
      - We place the Guns, because I know how most of them shoot, and try to put the stronger Guns under the higher birds, and the weaker and less experienced ones under the lower ones.
      - The better Shots appreciate the challenge, the weaker ones have the chance to bag a bird or two.
      - Another added advantage of placing the Guns — as opposed 
to them drawing numbers — is that if someone has been out of the shooting I can put them in a better spot the next time they are standing.
      - Not only that, but as we are pegged for eight Guns it is easier for me to place the extra Guns under the birds than it is to try to explain things to someone who might not know the flightline quite so well.
      Inexperienced or novice shooters are mentored by some of the older beaters

      Novice guns
      - In places we double-bank, but the second row is always far enough back from the main line that they don’t affect the shooting of those in front.
      - There is nothing more off-putting for a novice Gun than having a more experienced Shot standing directly behind them and having a go at everything they miss.
      - Novice Guns need space, time and encouragement as opposed to a hot Shot behind them mopping up.
      - On days such as these the wiping of 
a friend’s eye is very much part of 
the fun and to be encouraged but 
for a beginner who is struggling, 
it is a bit tough.
      - Our more experienced walking/beating Guns are allowed to shoot birds going back, but only if they are both safe and sporting. It goes without saying that they know the day is not a pheasant cull and that no bird is worth a risky shot.
      - Ground game is off the menu. There are too many people and too many dogs about for it to be safe.
      Ground game is off the menu

      Insurance
      In an increasingly litigious society, it amazes me how many people aren’t members of one of the shooting organisations and therefore covered by their members’ insurance. Accidents can and do happen and shooting uninsured is a risky business. Not only that, but the shooting organisations need your support to promote shooting and gamekeeping. If you shoot you should be signed up to at least one of them.

      Mentoring young Guns
      Our young Guns, and anyone who hasn’t shot live game before, are mentored by a few of our older beaters. They are happy to stand and help them when the alternative is wading through brambles, hacking their way through a laurel jungle or climbing up 
a steep bank.

      Many of the older lads shot their first birds here and all of them remember the thrill of their first “proper drive”, their first birds and the excitement the night before the big day. They understand what the novices are going through and are great at lifting their spirits if they are struggling, or calming things down if anyone gets too excited.

      Non-shooters greatly appreciated
      The non-shooters 
who turn up to beat 
and pick-up for us are a godsend. Having more people 
in the line makes such a difference; an extra stop to keep birds in a drive, the extra beater to fill the gap left by someone who’s shooting, or the extra picker-up who is straight on to any runners. They all play their part and 
it is greatly appreciated.

      Whip round
      Instead of the shoot paying them, 
one of the lads will pass round the hat and ask those who are shooting for 
a donation. The collection is divided between them. We also pay for their meal in the pub, buy their drinks and make sure they have a lift home.

      The key to having a good beaters’ day is keeping it simple, keeping it fun and not getting too stressed or bothered when something goes wrong — because it probably will.
      Sorting out the order for the end of season beaters' days can be tricky. So keep it simple, says Liam Bell

      Beaters' day at the Longford estate, Salisbury, WiltshireAs January approaches, thoughts of keepers, beaters and pickers-up are turning to the end-of- season cock’s or beaters’ days. Originally called keeper’s days — because they were gifted to the keeper to invite whom 
he wished ... See more
      See more on line
      How to organise beaters’ day