WeShoot: the social network designed for shooting sports
WeShoot the mobile app for The Shooting Community
Install

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.
  • Photo
  • Video
  • Album
Your video is being processed, it will be published in a few moments. Reload the page
Please provide content for your publication.
    • If you have a sporting Diana to buy for this year, look no further than The Field's Christmas gift guide for women for the perfect present

      Stylish gifts for country households and sporting Dianas.The Field’s Christmas gift guide for women and home has the perfect present for every sporting Diana and country household on your list. From stylish field attire to sporting serving ware, warming furs and something wild for the Christmas tree, we’ve taken the stress out of buying for her this year.

      If you’re still stuck for the country gentlemen on your list, read The Field’s Christmas gift guide for men. From shoes suitable for supper parties to a handy charger essential in the field, buy for sporting sorts with our advice.

      THE FIELD’S CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR WOMEN
      An exotic lampshade, stylish fur to snuggle up in and serving ware with a sporting twist – we suggest the best presents for sporting Dianas in The Field’s Christmas gift guide for women.

      Baker boy style fashion for the field.

      SUEDE BAKER’S HAT, TROY LONDON
      One size olive suede, so you know it’ll fit. For field fashionistas.
      ♦ Price £230
      ♦ Tel 020 3457 8549
      www.troylondon.com

      Perfect for personalising.

      SHOOTING CUSHIONS, BLUECUCKOO
      Personalise the embroidered partridge, grouse or pheasant with shoot names, or keep plain. Made to order.
      ♦ Price from £139
      ♦ Tel 07498 312158
      www.bluecuckoo.co.uk

      Look stylish in rabbit fur.

      RABBIT FUR WAISTCOAT, PURDEY
      Figure flattering with room for a cashmere jumper beneath. Bunny girl.
      ♦ Price £995
      ♦ Tel 020 7499 1801
      www.purdey.com

      Serving ware with a sporting twist.

      GAME BIRDS LARGE STEEL TRAY, EMMA BRIDGEWATER
      Gamebirds on steel, perfect for a sporting sort.
      ♦ Price £32
      ♦ Tel 01782 407733
      www.emmabridgewater.co.uk

      Complete the Christmas ensemble with a cowhide clutch.

      ARUNDEL CLUTCH BAG, HYDE & HARE
      Cowhide that goes moo-tifully on any occasion.
      Made in England.
      ♦ Price £65
      ♦ Tel 07867 775600
      www.hydeandhare.com

      Perfect for putting your feet up.

      OTTOMAN, ZULUCOW
      Bespoke Nguni cowhide makes the perfect fireside perch.
      ♦ Price £675
      ♦ Tel 07983 627710
      www.zulucow.co.uk

      The stylish way to tidy festive mess.

      LAUNDRY BASKET, LIFE OF RILEY
      The perfect piece for corralling
      festive detritus.
      ♦ Price £350
      ♦ Tel 01799 551813
      www.lifeofrileyonline.co.uk

      No need to feel the chill in this decadent fox fur.

      REVERSIBLE CASHMERE & FUR SCARF, WILLIAM & SON
      Finished with decadent fox fur, perfect for snuggling.
      ♦ Price £395
      ♦ Tel 020 7493 8385
      www.williamandson.co.uk

      An exotic addition to the Christmas tree.

      SPARKLY ANIMAL DECORATIONS, RAJ TENT CLUB
      Add something wild to your spruce this year.
      ♦ Price £10 each
      ♦ Tel 020 7820 0010
      www.rajtentclub.com

      A stylish shirt for town or country.

      ALFIE SHIRT, MISTAMINA
      Town or country, this shirt is eminently adaptable.
      ♦ Price £70
      ♦ Tel 01665 511797
      www.mistamina.com

      Essential bar accessory for the festivities.

      BOTTLE OPENER, EAST AFRICAN TRADING COMPANY
      Ankole horn fashioned into an elegant bar accessory.
      ♦ Price £40
      ♦ Tel 01225 290956
      www.eastafricantrading.co.uk

      HUNTING CAP, THE QH HUNTER
      Sport an elegant safety hat this season. Different colours available.
      ♦ Price £250
      ♦ Tel 0116 259 6694
      www.quorn-hunt.co.uk

      For casting exotic shadows.

      LAMPSHADE, JOANNA WOOD
      Cast an exotic shadow with this vibrant drawing-room addition.
      ♦ Price from £108
      ♦ Tel 020 7730 5064
      www.joannawood.co.uk

      A super way to say thank you.

      THE COTMAN POSTCARD COLLECTION, WINSOR & NEWTON
      Forget WhatsApp. Hand paint a postcard to send home.
      ♦ Price £27
      ♦ Tel 020 8424 3200
      www.winsornewton.com/uk

      Picnic on antique dress Gordon tartan.

      PICNIC RUG, JOANNA WOOD
      In antique dress Gordon tartan, with a waterproof backing (137cm x 183cm).
      ♦ Price £112.50
      ♦ Tel 020 7730 5064
      www.joannawood.co.uk

      Add an exotic theme to your Christmas table.

      OUT OF AFRICA TABLE MATS, CLUB MATTERS
      Hand-coloured elegance. The perfect foil to the English dining room. Matching coasters, too.
      ♦ Price £56
      ♦ Tel 01962 771275
      www.clubmatters.com
      If you have a sporting Diana to buy for this year, look no further than The Field's Christmas gift guide for women for the perfect present

      Stylish gifts for country households and sporting Dianas.The Field’s Christmas gift guide for women and home has the perfect present for every sporting Diana and country household on your list. From stylish field attire to sporting serving ware, warming furs and something wild for the Christmas tree, we’ve taken the stress out of buying ... See more
      See more on line
      The Field’s Christmas gift guide for women
    • A reader is concerned about the change he has noticed in his sprocker youngster. Our vet advises ...

      Q: My three year old sprocker spaniel had a good summer, even though she failed to conceive after two matings. Since the season started she has been beating with me three days a week and she just looks lacklustre. By early afternoon she is usually walking at my side.

      A: Presuming you feel she should be fit enough, it is important to try and separate this problem into two issues – medical and management. The former will clearly require some veterinary input. The latter, some thought and detective work on your part.

      The rise of the sprocker spaniel
      A car enthusiast friend of mine spent months pondering whether he should buy a Ford Focus ST (250PS and very…

      A day in the life of a working sprocker
      Every Monday starts full of excitement and anticipation. I watch as the curtains are opened, praying for good weather. Sometimes…

      Medical
      A large number of canine medical conditions can cause the loss of form that you describe.

      - Even in a young bitch, womb problems, such as endometritis, can result in a vague malaise that is difficult to diagnose. Often, affected bitches have a poor appetite, an increased thirst and occasionally they vomit.
      - Any vaginal discharge should be reported to your vet.
      - A non-invasive ultrasound scan, coupled with routine haematology, can be diagnostic.
      - Heart and respiratory conditions are usually indicated by coughing, breathlessness and exercise intolerance. Any coughing dog should be isolated and rested.
      - Monitoring the resting respiratory rate is a good way to assess your dog. After being at rest for 10 minutes, count the rate for 30 seconds and double it. Normal rates are around 20 or less. Any continuing increase deserves investigation, as does a persistent rate over 30.
      - Heart issues can give a blue tinge to gums, while respiratory infections cause red congestion.
      - Complicated blood disorders, such as auto immune haemolytic anaemia, are not uncommon in spaniel breeds. Affected dogs have pale gums, sometimes with little haemorrhages called petechiae. The urine is often very dark. In my experience, fit working dogs present late in the condition, so any change in gum colour should be a warning.
      - It is clear that monitoring gum colour before, during and after exercise is worthwhile.
      - Orthopaedic conditions generally present as lameness but this may not be obvious if the condition is bilateral.
      - Beware the elbow joint in spaniels! Problems here are characterised by pain on full extension of the joint and on palpation of the inside of the bone. Dogs that are stiff for the first few steps after being at rest deserve treatment!
      - Abnormalities of the adrenal glands (Addison’s Disease and Cushing’s Disease) and the thyroid (hypothyroidism) can produce vague symptoms. Any collapsing dog deserves veterinary attention but look out for changes in thirst, body shape, hair-loss (especially if bilaterally symmetrical) and lethargy. Specific blood tests can confirm.
      Seasonal activities, such as beating, pose a dilemma for owners

      Managing  sprocker spaniel diet
      - Seasonal activities, such as beating and picking-up, pose a dilemma for owners. During the off season, care must be taken to limit calorie intake to prevent weight gain and dogs must be kept fit. When the fun begins, exercise suddenly increases dramatically and this puts considerable strain on the digestive system.
      - Some diets are not calorie dense enough to provide sufficient energy. The working dog, who has a limited window of opportunity to actually safely eat, is not able to consume enough of the ration to cover its needs. Pretty soon the shortfall results in weight loss and poor performance. Running out of steam half way through the day is common.
      - There are two ways to approach the issue. Firstly, a diet with an improved digestible energy content should be used. This may be achieved by changing from cereal based to animal derivative foods. Some manufacturers make “working dog” diets, which should fit the bill and have the benefit of being VAT free. Secondly, feeding an additional meal or “treating” throughout the day can help considerably.
      A working dog’s diet must be calorie dense enough to provide sufficient energy

      Parasite problems
      - Last, consider your plain old parasites. Most people worm puppies but, as they become adults, treatment can be forgotten.
      - Tapeworms, roundworms, fleas, lice and ticks can all suck considerable goodness out of your dog, especially if she is already under duress from starting to work hard.
      - Effective treatments (please speak to your vet about recent advances) are simple and, in the run of things, unbelievably cheap.
      - Don’t forget lungworm, which is spread by snails, and can cause respiratory and clotting disorders. Prevention is far better than cure. Monthly tablets or spot-ons do the job nicely.
      I do hope your bitch is soon a little more up-beat.
      A reader is concerned about the change he has noticed in his sprocker youngster. Our vet advises ...

      Q: My three year old sprocker spaniel had a good summer, even though she failed to conceive after two matings. Since the season started she has been beating with me three days a week and she just looks lacklustre. By early afternoon she is usually walking at my side.

      A: Presuming you feel she should ... See more
      See more on line
      Why has my young sprocker lost form?
    • Moved to red status on the UK's Birds of Conservation Concern List in 2015, how can shooters help the woodcock?

      Shooters are being asked to refrain from shooting woodcock until December Sportsmen and women are being asked to refrain from shooting woodcock until 1st December, in new guidelines issued by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). This is due to concern that shooting may be a factor in the decline of home breeding birds.

      Woodcock has red status
      The UK breeding woodcock population has suffered a range contraction of 56 per cent since 1970, and breeding surveys between 2003 and 2013 showed an estimated 29 per cent decline. Owing to the scale of this, the woodcock was moved to red status on the UK’s Birds of Conservation Concern list in December 2015.

      It should be said, however, that there is no indication of any decline in the numbers of migrants that visit each winter. While there are annual fluctuations, partly driven by the severity of weather, an estimated 800,000 to 1.3 million woodcock come each year. These birds are the main contributor to the annual bag taken by sportsmen, providing more than 95 per cent of what we shoot.

      The Great Debate: Woodcock shooting
      Woodcock: To shoot or not to shoot?

      Woodcock in the spotlight
      As woodcock start to make their winter quarters here, Dr Andrew Hoodless looks at the latest research into their extraordinary…

      Woodcock research
      The GWCT has been at the forefront of woodcock research for the past 40 years; from early radio tracking studies to modern satellite tagging. This has given us a unique insight into these fascinating and iconic birds. From the habitat requirements of home breeders, to the migration patterns of winter visitors, we have amassed a huge body of information, but we are still not clear on the causes of the decline in resident birds.

      - There is no evidence that shooting is having a harmful effect, but by the same token, it cannot be ruled out.
      - There are many other possible causes too, of which a changing woodland environment is likely to be one.
      - The post second world war programme of planting provided masses of thicket stage woodland, perfect woodcock breeding habitat, just when the population peaked in the 1960s and 70s.
      - Today, these maturing woods are less good, and ever growing deer numbers, particularly the herding species like fallow, are browsing out the herb and shrub layers that make cover for woodcock.
      - Add in growing pressure from increasing numbers of ground predators like foxes and badgers, and the decline becomes less surprising.
      How to help protect the woodcock
      So, what can we as sportsmen do?

      - Well, habitat works for a start; opening up the woodland canopy lets more light to the floor, and encourages the herb and shrub layers that are vital cover for woodcock in summer and winter alike.
      - Depending on your woodland type this could be by thinning, skylighting, coppicing, or a combination of all three.
      - Add in some widening and scalloping of rides, and you can make a real difference.
      - Read and act on the GWCT woodcock guidelines
      The second part of the story is in restraint. I love my woodcock, both for the sport they provide, and two or three delicious midwinter suppers, so I’m not suggesting no shooting. However, early season shooting, before the migrants arrive, is likely to hit home bred birds disproportionately hard. Also, GWCT research has shown that our winter birds are remarkably site faithful from year to year, so if you shoot too hard, you will be hitting your own breeding stock, and risking breaking your migratory link, even though they may breed thousands of kilometres away.
      Moved to red status on the UK's Birds of Conservation Concern List in 2015, how can shooters help the woodcock?

      Shooters are being asked to refrain from shooting woodcock until December Sportsmen and women are being asked to refrain from shooting woodcock until 1st December, in new guidelines issued by the See more
      See more on line
      How shooters can protect the woodcock
    • Firearms expert Bill Harriman has warned people not to hand in valuable guns by accident during the current national surrender campaign.

      Photo by Joel Goodman/LNP/REX/Shutterstock BASC is asking shooters to check for “cash in the attic” in the form of unwanted guns, rather than handing them in.

      The call comes following the current national firearms surrender campaign, which is running from 13 to 26 November, during which people can hand over firearms and ammunition at designated police stations. The amnesty allows those in possession of illegal firearms to turn them over anonymously, and legally held guns are also accepted.

      Financial or historical value
      But BASC director of firearms Bill Harriman, who is also a regular valuation expert on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, warns that by handing in your guns you could be giving money away. “BASC applauds any initiative that stops guns falling into the hands of criminals, but our advice is to first be certain you are not giving away a valuable antique firearm,” he said, advising that people first check their gun’s financial or historical value.

      “All too often I see pictures of police officers with surrendered firearms that may be legally owned and which are valuable.

      No consolation for those who give up an antique
      “The police will say that the Museums Weapons Group looks over all surrendered firearms and retains historically important ones for museum use. That is of little consolation to someone who has been encouraged into giving up their lawfully owned valuable property.

      “BASC’s firearms team is always happy to advise members in confidence and a mobile phone photo is often enough for us to make a positive identification.”

      Guns will be disposed of safely
      The surrender initiative is being co-ordinated by the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS).

      Detective Chief Superintendent Jo Chilton, head of NABIS, said: “Surrendering unwanted or illegal firearms avoids the risk of them becoming involved in crime and means that they can be disposed of in a safe manner.”
      Firearms expert Bill Harriman has warned people not to hand in valuable guns by accident during the current national surrender campaign.

      Photo by Joel Goodman/LNP/REX/Shutterstock BASC is asking shooters to check for “cash in the attic” in the form of unwanted guns, rather than handing them in.

      The call comes following the current national firearms surrender campaign, which is running from 13 to 26 November, during which people can hand over firearms and ammunition ... See more
      See more on line
      Don’t throw away money by handing in antique guns, says expert
    • How do you tell if the gun fits? David Turner explains

      Gun fit does matter a great deal.

      With poor gun fit the gun is less likely to be pointing at the target or where the shooter is intending. This in turn can cause the shooter to unknowingly develop all sorts of corrective measures to address the problems. What can sometime be worse is that these can become learned bad habits and are difficult to shake off.

      Good gun fit equals fluid and natural shooting
      - Shooting with a shotgun is an “art form”, based on a relaxed, easy and natural technique, ideally shooting with both 
eyes open to perceive distance and 
depth of field without conscious thought. Unlike that of a rifle, which is altogether a more calculated and measured sport.
      - In the case of a shooter with the wrong eye dominance, and thus closing an eye to shoot, then some of the more intuitive and natural aspects may not 
be as relevant.
      - We’ve all seen a shooter who makes it look easy, with a relaxed style, not hunched or reaching, tight or snatchy – but fluid and natural. That is, in part, due to good gun fit.

      How to tell if the gun fits
      Most off-the-peg guns are intended to suit and fit the average shooter with an average build and stature. In simple terms, a taller person needs a gun with a longer stock, while a person of smaller stature needs a shorter one.

      Comb height can be easily seen by mounting your gun at a mirror to see the position of the eye in relation to the rib and the view. If the eye is too high, the gun will shoot high, whereas if the eye is too low then the non-shooting eye will take over and the gun will not shoot where it’s intended or the head will be lifted. Then, of course, the relationship of the eye to the gun is completely destroyed.

      Here’s an image showing the shooter’s view and what you should see.

      The shooter is having to lean back

      Above we can see a young shooter struggling with a big, heavy gun that’s way too big and long for him. The gun is causing him to lean back to counter the weight and with a stock that’s also too long. The consequence is defensive shooting, fatigue and a lot of missing!

      The shooter is now more confident

      Here it’s a different story, as he looks much more comfortable and suited to a smaller, lighter gun with a stock that’s the correct length for him. He now shoots more confidently and hits more!

      Wrong gun, wrong cartridge
      One aspect that is related very closely to gun fit, which can have a huge affect on success and failure, is the suitability of the bore and cartridge load used. This is most significantly seen with female and young shooters that have to have a gun and cartridge combination to give them a positive “do-ability” factor. By this, I mean 
a gun that they can manage and a cartridge that is comfortable to shoot and doesn’t knock them about. I have found 20-bore with a 21g load to suit them very well and encourage them to pursue the sport. All 
too often I meet shooters who have a notion that they need as much lead in 
the air as possible, however excessive loads can cause all sorts of aversions to develop which will cause them to miss. Lighter loads certainly help me to shoot 
in a smoother fluid way.

      Best gun fit for a sore face
      A: In order to control and eliminate the discomfort you are presently experiencing, you will need to look at both the weight of your…

      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…

      To sum up
      In summary, we can say that a taller person would need a gun with longer stock and a higher comb, a medium height person will need an average length stock with a slightly lower or more normal comb and a shorter person would need a shorter stock with a lower comb.

      - With the help and advice of a good instructor and gunsmith, alterations and adjustments can usually be made to your existing gun to help you achieve a good fit and improve your shooting success.
      - There are all sorts of items available to address these issues, such as simple slip-on butt extensions in leather or rubber, and temporary comb raisers, as well as professionally fitted adjustable combs.
      - In the event of your stock being too long or altering the cast, then a gunsmith is your best bet to professionally deal with those issues.
      - On the other hand you could always treat yourself to a brand new gun that is just right for you!
      Common reasons for poor gun fit and how to identify them
      - Length of pull: Too short – this can cause a shooter to develop a cramped style and perceive more recoil. The gun may also have a more lively and uncontrollable feel to it.
      - Too long: The gun is going to feel too big and beyond a comfortable reach. Due to the slope of the 
comb, the shooter is likely to get a poor view along the rib, which, in turn, may cause the other eye to take over or the head to lift for the shooter to see the target.
      - Comb height: A comb that’s too low, thus causing a poor view along the rib, can cause head lifting for the shooter to see the target. Or, in the case of a right-handed person, using both eyes, the left eye can over dominance of the view.
      - Cast-off or cast-on: The degree to which the stock is off set for the handedness of the shooter. In the case of a right-handed shooter the stock is bent away from the right cheek – “cast-off”. In the case of a left-handed person, it is bent away from the left cheek – “cast-on”.
      How do you tell if the gun fits? David Turner explains

      Gun fit does matter a great deal.

      With poor gun fit the gun is less likely to be pointing at the target or where the shooter is intending. This in turn can cause the shooter to unknowingly develop all sorts of corrective measures to address the problems. What can sometime be worse is that these can become learned bad habits and are difficult to ... See more
      See more on line
      Does gun fit matter?
    • Take the stress out of Yuletide giving with The Field's advice on what to buy a sporting gentleman for Christmas this year

      Take our advice on what to buy a country gentleman for Christmas.If you’ve got a sporting gentleman to buy for this year, look no further than The Field’s Christmas gift guide for men. From suitable shoes for supper parties to a handy charger useful in the field, a game book for recording sporting adventures and the ultimate sporting journal, we’ve taken the stress out of this year’s shopping.

      If the country gentleman in your life is hoping Father Christmas will gift the best kit this year, read best shooting gilets, essential for the field. Or ensure he is suitably shod with the top 10 best gumboots – from Dunlops to Dubarrys there is a style and a price for everyone.

      THE FIELD’S CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR MEN
      From snazzy boxer shorts to cleaning kit and the ultimate sporting journal, take The Field’s advice on what to buy him for Christmas this year.

      A sporting wardrobe staple, in cashmere.

      CASHMERE 3-PLY WAISTCOAT, JOHNSONS OF ELGIN
      An essential piece of kit, available in four colours.
      ♦ Price £170
      ♦ Tel 0345 136 0111
      www.houseofbruar.com

      Booze for a mulled wine break, and plenty to share around.

      OLD HOOKY MINIPIN, HOOK NORTON BREWERY
      Eighteen pints, with a shelf life of four weeks. Antidote to all the mulled wine.
      ♦ Price £36
      ♦ Tel 01608 737210
      www.hooky.co.uk

      For being suitably shod and smart.

      BEDINGFIELD LOAFER, FAIRFAX & FAVOR
      Ensure you are well shod for Shire dinner parties this Christmas.
      ♦ Price £155
      ♦ Tel 01760 338199
      www.fairfaxandfavor.com

      Essential for recording sporting adventures. Hunting journal also available.

      HUNTING JOURNAL/ GAME BOOK, THE HUNTING STOCK MARKET
      Keep a note of your sporting adventures, don’t forget.
      ♦ Price £42 each
      ♦ Tel 07557 989963
      www.huntingstockmarket.com

      Suitably sporting silk. Range of designs available.

      SILK TIE, WILLIAM & SON
      Woven diagonal twill, suitably embossed.
      ♦ Price £85
      ♦ Tel 020 7493 8385
      www.williamandson.com

      Keep the birds to hand with these smart cufflinks.

      CUFFLINKS, OGDEN OF HARROGATE
      Silver and enamel cufflinks, keep the birds to hand.
      ♦ Price £350
      ♦ Tel 01423 504123
      www.ogdenharrogate.co.uk

      Sporting silk for a country gentleman. Available in a range of designs.

      SILK POCKET SQUARES, TEALES
      Gamebirds on smart silk. Box can be personalised with up to five initials.
      ♦ Price £50 for three
      ♦ Tel 07867 973339
      www.teales.co.uk

      A smart way to store knick knacks.

      ALPHABET BOX, LINLEY
      Marquetry trinket box in four colour options.
      ♦ Price £150
      ♦ Tel 020 7730 7300
      www.davidlinley.com

      BOXER SHORTS, GIBSON & BIRKBECK
      Snazzily printed cotton. For a right, or a left.
      ♦ Price £28
      ♦ Tel 01738 582267
      www.gibsonandbirkbeck.co.uk

      A nifty bit of tech for the field.

      ULTRA COMPACT PORTABLE CHARGER, ANKER
      Essential piece of kit in the field. Should recharge an iPhone twice.
      ♦ Price £13
      www.amazon.co.uk

      No need to get lost during outings after dark.

      FENIX TK47 ULTRA THROWER LED TORCH, TORCH DIRECT LIMITED
      The ultimate, murk-ridding beam for those outings after dark.
      ♦ Price £130
      ♦ Tel 01623 858990
      www.torchdirect.co.uk

      For a sporting night’s sleep.

      PHEASANT PYJAMAS, PJ PAN
      Forget counting sheep, start spotting pheasants.
      ♦ Price £135
      ♦ Tel 01250 881325
      www.pjpan.co.uk

      A superb deal on the ultimate sporting journal.

      FIELD SUBSCRIPTION, THE FIELD
      A year’s subscription to the ultimate sporting journal.
      ♦ Price £19.49 for six months, a saving of 38%
      ♦ Tel 0330 333 1113
      www.thefieldsubs.co.uk/AYZ7

      A handy bit of kit from Purdey.

      LEATHER HANDGUARD, PURDEY
      Stop your side-by-side scorching. In every gauge from .410 to 12-bore.
      ♦ Price £95
      ♦ Tel 020 7499 1801
      www.purdey.com

      STANDARD CLEANING OUTFIT, WILLIAM POWELL
      Compact cleaning kit for busy barrels.
      ♦ Price £20
      ♦ Tel 01295 701701
      www.williampowell.com
      Take the stress out of Yuletide giving with The Field's advice on what to buy a sporting gentleman for Christmas this year

      Take our advice on what to buy a country gentleman for Christmas.If you’ve got a sporting gentleman to buy for this year, look no further than The Field’s Christmas gift guide for men. From suitable shoes for supper parties to a handy charger useful in the field, a game book for recording sporting adventures and the ultimate sporting journal, we’ve ... See more
      See more on line
      The Field’s Christmas gift guide for men
    • Once you've tackled dog hair with this Miele vacuum you'll never look back

      If you’ve been wanting to upgrade your vacuum cleaner for something that will deal really effectively with pet hair and permanently moulting gundogs, we’ve found a great deal for you on a Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog PowerLine bagless cylinder vacuum cleaner and a saving of 23% off the list price.

      Black Friday 2017 is still a little way off, but Amazon has currently discounted the Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog PowerLine to £229.99, a big discount from the original £300 price.

      BUY NOW: Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Power Line Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, 4.5L, 1200 W from Amazon for £229.99

      - This cylinder vacuum cleaner targets dust, dirt, animal hair, canine odours and has been especially designed for people with pets.
      - Miele products are renowned for their excellent quality and long service life. Each individual vacuum cleaner is rigorously tested.
      Select your cleaning section with the easy to operate +/- footswitch. The EcoTeQ floorhead  gives you the performance of a 2000 W model using only 1200 W, leaving your floors and carpets clean and odour free. Convenient controls mean that you can adjust the power for different surfaces – like wooden floors and rugs.

      - Pet hair and smells are dealt with efficiently by the Turbobrush and Active AirClean filter
      - The SRD 10 hardfloor brush, delivers an A rated cleaning performance on hard floors

      Accessories
      Three high-quality, standard attachments  are included – an upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle and dusting brush. They are handily clipped into the vaccum itself so always ready for use.

      BUY NOW: Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Power Line Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, 4.5L, 1200 W from Amazon for £229.99

      Easy to store
      This vacuum not only works efficiently but it’s easy to put away in a cupboard afterwards.

      Related: Country magazine gift subscriptions for under £20

      Found any amazing deals on country sports equipment? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.
      Once you've tackled dog hair with this Miele vacuum you'll never look back

      If you’ve been wanting to upgrade your vacuum cleaner for something that will deal really effectively with pet hair and permanently moulting gundogs, we’ve found a great deal for you on a Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog PowerLine bagless cylinder vacuum cleaner and a saving of 23% off the list price.

      Black Friday 2017 is ... See more
      See more on line
      This deal on a Miele C3 Cat and Dog Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner saves you £70
    • Two questions about shotguns and auctions answered by our experts

      Make sure you attend the viewing Q: I have sent two shotguns that I no longer use to auction. Do I have to tell the police?

      A: Not immediately, as you have not disposed of them until they are actually sold. They may fail to sell and you may want them back.

      In the first instance, keep the auctioneer’s property receipt so that you can prove where they are if anyone asks. When the guns sell and you have received post-sale advice notifying you of this, you should then tell the Chief Constable who issued your certificate that you have disposed of them. You will need to give the auctioneer’s full details and his authority for possessing firearms, such as his RFD number.

      You do not need to send your certificate in when you tell the police that you have disposed of the guns. In the interests of good housekeeping, after the sale strike a line through the entry on your certificate and annotate it with the date and destination of the disposal. This can be formally recorded by the police when you next renew.

      Tips on buying a gun at auction
      Thanks to popular TV shows, most of us are familiar with what goes on at auctions. But that doesn’t mean…

      The DON’Ts of buying a gun
      Advice on what you shouldn't do when buying a gun

      A guide to buying your first gun
      It's never too soon to start looking at guns with a view to buying your first and any dealer will…

      How to buy a gun at auction
      Auction houses can seem like hostile environments, where amateurs may be ripped off whether buying or selling.

      In reality, most are friendly institutions that will give honest assessments of your possession or target item and guide you through the process.

      The sales can be fun, too, though it is worth remembering that the auction house is a business and not a charity.

      Freelance auctioneer David Porter is a regular face at many of the top gun sales in the country, especially at the specialists Holts. He believes it pays to go with a large, reputable house rather than take your chances with a smaller outfit: “I am biased,” he admitted, “but I would always say the bigger the better. You need people who are enthusiastic and passionate about selling a gun that is dear to you it makes a difference.”

      “You want a big team of experts to consult as they will have a wider knowledge. It is a question of trust that the estimation and reserve prices are accurate.”

      There is an age-old joke of the punter waving to his friend across the room and accidentally buying an expensive lot. Indeed, David often uses it to relieve tension and raise a few laughs. However, in reality, there is no chance of it happening, as David points out, “Over the years, the auctioneer learns the body language of someone who wants to bid. They tend to sit up in their chair or catch your eye. It doesn’t matter if you raise your hand, wink or wave your programme, I’ll soon catch on.”

      However, if you do bid, then you must be prepared to stump up the cash: “When the hammer falls, a legal contract is formed, as strong as if you had signed a piece of paper. If you were to walk out of the room or refuse to pay, then you could be legally pursued. It can be disruptive, but in my 15 years of selling guns, this rarely happens. Bidders at firearms auctions are more heavily vetted than others.”
      Two questions about shotguns and auctions answered by our experts

      Make sure you attend the viewing Q: I have sent two shotguns that I no longer use to auction. Do I have to tell the police?

      A: Not immediately, as you have not disposed of them until they are actually sold. They may fail to sell and you may want them back.

      In the first instance, keep the auctioneer’s property receipt so that you can prove where they are if anyone asks. When the guns sell and ... See more
      See more on line
      Sending a gun to auction – do I have to tell the police?
    • A new all-round cartridge is getting some good feedback - what does our expert make of the 6.5mm Creedmoor round?

      6.5mm Creedmoor size comparison Q: I keep hearing about a new round called the 6.5mm Creedmoor and friends say it 
is the best cartridge for deer. 
Is that true?

      A: The 6.5 Creedmoor is one 
of the new wave of cartridges designed to get the best possible ballistics from an efficient case design. The Creedmoor was developed by Hornady, originally as a long-range and target round based on its 30 TC round. But it soon became obvious that, with its superior ballistics and shooting nature, it would also make a good hunting round.

      Less powder for same ballistics and less recoil
      Hornady loads several hunting rounds for this cartridge as well as offering reloading cases and dies to make your own. It is similar in size to the .260 Remington, but that round is based on necking down a .308 Winchester round to 6.5mm or 0.264in.

      Though the .260 Remington is slightly faster the newer 6.5mm Creedmoor round uses less powder to achieve nearly the same ballistics and therefore recoils less.

      Typically, a 120-gr bullet travels at 2,950fps to 3,000fps velocity and a 140-gr bullet at 2,700fps. Due to the excellent ballistic co-efficients of the slimline 6.5mm bullets, they retain their velocity and hence energy downrange and make for less bullet drop, less wind drift and more retained knockdown power.

      The Creedmoor is a winner and more rifles are being chambered in this calibre so yes, I can recommend it as 
a good all-round cartridge.

      Highland stalking vs lowland stalking
      Iain Watson and Chris Rogers debate whether highland stalking or lowland stalking makes for finer sport

      And from back in the archives  – George Wallace discusses his favourite cartridge
      Let’s first define what we really mean by ‘calibre’ and ‘cartridge.’

      - Calibre is the diameter of the bore of a rifle before the rifling is cut or hammered in.
      - Thus, all cartridges from the little .30 Carbine to the .30/.378 Wetherby Magnum are .30 calibre and use bullets which are .308 in diameter so they fit right to the bottom of the rifling grooves.
      - Definitions within the calibre are the name of the cartridge. With that out of the way, my own favourite cartridge would depend on whether I needed one for shooting at relatively long range on the hills of Scotland and the wide fields of east Anglia or whether my stalking was only in woodlands and fields where ranges would not exceed about 175 yards.
      - For the former I would stick with my .270 Winchester. It is often maligned – largely by people who don’t know what they are talking about – but is in fact just as good as any of its more modern competitors.
      - If you do fancy something a little more up to date, then the search can begin and end with a 7mm Remington Magnum.
      - Back in my favourite woods, there are two cartridges that have given me more pleasure and satisfaction than any others.
      - The first is the .30-30 Winchester, which is most commonly found in those little lever action rifles which are such a delight to use in the woods.
      - Mine was a single shot model and it was capable of knocking down a Fallow buck at 170 yards, which was the furthest I ever needed to shoot with it.
      - If you fancy a bigger, heavier bullet for woodland deer, then my other favourite – also brilliant for Wild Boar and in the African Bushveldt – is the .358 Winchester.
      A new all-round cartridge is getting some good feedback - what does our expert make of the 6.5mm Creedmoor round?

      6.5mm Creedmoor size comparison Q: I keep hearing about a new round called the 6.5mm Creedmoor and friends say it 
is the best cartridge for deer. 
Is that true?

      A: The 6.5 Creedmoor is one 
of the new wave of cartridges designed to get the best possible ballistics from an ... See more
      See more on line
      The 6.5mm Creedmoor round – why stalkers are talking about it
    • The season is in full swing. As weather gets colder or wetter, there could be times when farmers or keepers need a hand. Just offering to help shows willing, says Tom Payne

      Visit farmers to find out where they are planning spring drillings Permission to shoot pigeons is not easy to obtain and it can take time getting to know people before it is granted. Farmers must have complete confidence in the person asking for permission, and as a pigeon shooter you must not let them down. When I’m driving around the countryside I am always on the lookout for pigeons. This isn’t because 
I am always looking for ground to shoot, 
it is mainly because I am studying the bird and its behaviour, but this is how finding and getting permission for pigeon shooting will normally start.

      Don’t turn up in full camouflage gear ready to shoot – smart dress looks more professional

      - Winter is the best time to gain permission, especially in a year where pigeons are hitting winter rape hard. Farmers do not want their crop getting destroyed and in most cases will welcome a pigeon shooter if they approach the situation respectfully and carefully.
      - Once you have found ground that you feel would benefit from the pigeons being shot, you will have to track down the farmer. I try to find out the name of the farm and farmer first. This does not mean driving into every farmyard and annoying the local farming community — a local pub, post office or shop will usually be able to help, and do be discreet. Once 
you have the name of the farmer and 
farm and location, you can then make your approach.
      - Farmers are busy people and do not like being interrupted. Do not turn up at lunchtime or late in the evening and definitely not on a Sunday. I tend to do late mornings and will assess the situation to make sure it is a suitable time. Through your recon to find pigeons you must try to be clear about the location and make sure you get the crop right — it looks unprofessional if you get it wrong. This sort of mistake will not instil confidence 
in your experience nor ability.
      - If you manage to obtain a phone number don’t just call on the off chance. 
A visit is always best.
      - During your visits, find out the farmer’s plan of attack for the year ahead. I cover 
a lot of ground and it is important to 
stay on top of any pigeon problem that 
a farmer may have. The only way to do 
this is to know what is going on, when 
and where. Constantly driving around 
can get expensive and is not an effective use of your time.
      - Communication with farmers is key, but this doesn’t mean pestering them on a daily basis. I will meet farmers now to speak with them about their spring drilling plans.
      - Maps are vital and if you know the areas that are red-lined for drilling, and what is going in and roughly when, weather permitting, you can keep an eye on exactly what is going on. This makes reconnaissance easier and no opportunity is missed. I try to speak with farmers or gamekeepers over the phone or make 
a quick visit once every couple of weeks.
      - I enjoy winter shooting because there is lots of variety of crop and food if you keep your eyes open. Pigeons feeding will be governed by the weather, and most importantly the night-time temperatures.
      - Do not turn up on the day expecting to get out and shoot straight away.
      - It is not polite to turn up with all your kit, covered head to toe in camouflage, looking like you are about to make a military raid on the farm. When making your visit dress smartly. You will be far more approachable and far less assuming. Being professional is key and first impressions count.
      - When asking for permission to shoot be confident and clear. Explain exactly who you are and where you are from. 
If you have permission elsewhere in the area it may be of benefit, as most local farmers will know each other. A reference from other farmers whom you have permission from can also help.
      - Explain exactly where you have seen the pigeon problem. There is every chance that the farmer will be fully aware of them.
      - The decision that the farmer now makes must be fully respected. If he says no, politely ask if you could leave your details in case of any future problems 
and thank him for his time.
      - Try to use the quiet times productively. You may not be pigeon shooting but it is always good to be ready, whether that is getting on top of your recon, permission, planning or kit.
      The season is in full swing. As weather gets colder or wetter, there could be times when farmers or keepers need a hand. Just offering to help shows willing, says Tom Payne

      Visit farmers to find out where they are planning spring drillings Permission to shoot pigeons is not easy to obtain and it can take time getting to know people before it is granted. Farmers must have complete confidence in the ... See more
      See more on line
      How to get permission for pigeon shooting
    • The public is being encouraged to nominate its game meat heroes in a new national competition - the Eat Game Awards - that unites the food, shooting and hospitality industries

      Roasted hen pheasant and game chips The shooting, game meat and hospitality sectors have come together, with leading British businesses James Purdey 
& Sons, Boisdale Restaurants and Taste of Game teaming up 
to launch the inaugural Eat Game Awards.

      They are on a national search for those individuals and businesses that have shown success, innovation and passion in working with game.

      Eat Game Awards raises benefits of eating game
      Supported by some of the biggest names in the industry, 
the initiative will in turn support 
the Country Food Trust charity 
and raise awareness of the 
benefits of eating game as 
well as the field-to-fork ethos.

      The public is being asked 
to nominate its favourite game meat business or person, with 10 categories to choose from, including:

      - Best restaurant regularly serving game
      - Best 
pub regularly serving game
      - Best game chef regularly cooking game
      - Best game farmers market stall — including street-food vendor
      - Best added-value 
game product
      - Best multiple retailer selling game
      - Best 
small retailer selling game
      - Best game butcher, as well as special awards for game hero 
and champion of champions.
      Voters have until 28 February 2018 to make their nominations, before picking from the top 10 nominees between 1 June and 28 August next year.

      Visit Eat Game Awards  to make a nomination.

      The results will be announced at the first Eat Game Awards dinner at Boisdale Canary Wharf on 9 October 2018.

      Purdey chairman James Horne commented: “The consumption of game meat 
is a great joy to those who have enjoyed the spoils during the game season. We are determined to broaden the awareness of the delights this meat brings and encourage its wider consumption across the UK. The awards are 
a tremendous way of recognising the significant breadth of game use and innovation that so many ordinary people, chefs, restaurants and companies have brought to our table.”

      Boisdale Restaurants owner Ranald Macdonald said: “The eating of game is integral to the survival of the Great British countryside, the rural economy and our way of life. It is also delicious and nutritious.

      “For everyone’s benefit we need to encourage the consumption of British game.”

      Annette Woolcock from Taste of Game added: “We are very excited by the awards and hope the shooting and game meat industry will get behind them by nominating and voting for their favourite businesses and individuals. There are some great businesses now using game and we want to reward and showcase them through these awards.”
      The public is being encouraged to nominate its game meat heroes in a new national competition - the Eat Game Awards - that unites the food, shooting and hospitality industries

      Roasted hen pheasant and game chips The shooting, game meat and hospitality sectors have come together, with leading British businesses James Purdey 
& Sons, Boisdale Restaurants and Taste of Game teaming up 
to launch the inaugural Eat Game ... See more
      See more on line
      Make your views count. Vote for the best of British game
    • This boozy pud is perfect for the shoot lunch. Try Philippa Davis' pear, ginger and whisky crepes for a guaranteed crowd pleaser

      Whisky works excellently with spiced, fruity desserts.Whisky will never go amiss at the shoot lunch. It pairs excellently with game and in spiced fruity desserts – such as Philippa Davis’ pear, ginger and whisky crepes. Raid the cocktail cabinet to add some extra zing to this pud.

      A boozy pud is guaranteed to met with high spirits. Our cinnamon and saffron poached figs with amaretto sabayon is our favourite type of figgy pudding.

      PEAR, GINGER AND WHISKY CREPES
      When cooking for shoots I probably use whisky the most of all the spirits, partly as it goes so well with game and in spiced fruity desserts, such as this one, and partly because everyone always seems to have a bottle or two on the go.

      Makes about 10 pancakes

      Batter

      - 125g plain flour
      - 2 tsp ground ginger
      - 1 tbsp caster sugar
      - 60g melted butter, plus a little extra
      - 2 eggs, lightly beaten
      - 3 tbsp whisky
      - 300ml whole milk
      Pears

      - 100g sugar
      - 100ml orange juice
      - 50ml whisky, plus a splash extra
      - 100g butter, cut into cubes
      - 1 tsp ground ginger
      - 2 pears, cored and cut vertically into eigths
      To make the pancake batter, mix the flour, ginger and sugar in a bowl then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

      Leave to stand for 30 minutes then cook your pancakes in a crêpe or frying pan using the extra melted butter to grease the pan when necessary.

      Layer the cooked pancakes on a plate separated by a little strip of baking parchment. Wrap in cling film and keep until needed (these are best made on the day but will keep for a few days in the fridge).

      In a saucepan, gently heat the sugar until it goes a dark caramel colour then take off the heat and carefully add the orange juice and whisky (it will splutter).

      Place the pan back on a low heat and stir in the butter and ginger. Cook for a couple of minutes so the butter melts and any lumps of caramel dissolve.

      Add the pears and cook for about 15 minutes or until they are just soft.  This can be used the same day or will keep for a few days in the fridge.

      To serve, heat the pancakes in a warm oven or Aga for a few minutes, then fold into quarters and layer on your serving dish. Place the caramel sauce with pears in a pan, bring to a simmer then pour over the pancakes. Splash neat whisky over the finished dish.

      Serve with double cream or vanilla ice cream.
      This boozy pud is perfect for the shoot lunch. Try Philippa Davis' pear, ginger and whisky crepes for a guaranteed crowd pleaser

      Whisky works excellently with spiced, fruity desserts.Whisky will never go amiss at the shoot lunch. It pairs excellently with game and in spiced fruity desserts – such as Philippa Davis’ pear, ginger and whisky crepes. Raid the cocktail cabinet to add some extra zing to this pud.

      A boozy pud is guaranteed to met with high spirits. Our See more
      See more on line
      Pear, ginger and whisky crepes
    • It may be an ugly duckling, but Sir Johnny Scott chooses his thumbstick as his favourite bit of kit. Comfortable to use, infinitely practical and still as good as new, it has been faithful field companion

      Sir Johnny Scott's thumbstick may be an ugly duckling, but it has proven itself invaluable in the field.It may lack aesthetic beauty and the natural elegance of a true hazel thumbstick, but this ugly duckling is still as good as it was new sometime before the Second World War. Sir Johnny Scott chooses his thumbstick as his favourite bit of kit – it has pulled him from tidal mudflats, dragged beasts from the hill and hauled him up the Cumbrian fells and continues to be a faithful field companion.

      Find out what Rob Fenwick, managing director at EJ Churchill, couldn’t be without in the field. Read my favourite bit of kit: Rob Fenwick, to discover what DIY effort made of MDF is invaluable in the field.

      SIR JOHNNY SCOTT
      IN the corner of my hall is an old, elephant-foot stick stand overflowing with walking sticks. There are some with attachments for swatting thistles or digging out docks; ram’s-horn leg or neck crooks and half-a-dozen homemade hazel-shanked thumbsticks; a silver-topped Malacca sword stick with a Toledo blade; a spiked Austrian bergstock and an African knobkerrie bound with copper wire; a bamboo cane with a spirit level and boxwood measuring rod inside for assessing the height of a horse, made by Brigg; a selection with animal-head handles in bone, ebony or ivory – a terrier, greyhound, foxhound, horse – and one made of ivy with a snake entwined along its length.

      Each has a special place in my heart but my favourite is an old, battered, wading pole with a hand piece made from the forked tines of a stag antler, a lead weighted antler stub at the bottom and a leather strap with a spring clip, attached to a link whipped onto the hazel shank. All I know of its provenance is that it was made for my grandfather sometime before the Second World War by a ghillie on the Delfur beat of the Lower Spey called Colin. It is a credit to the stickmaker’s art that it has survived intact for so long.

      A purist might say this stick lacks the aesthetic beauty and natural elegance of a true hazel thumbstick, and they would be right; the shank is too thick, the weighted stub on the bottom makes it too heavy, the hand piece is too chunky and away from the river the leather strap with its spring clip and link looks out of place. However, apart from the purpose for which it was originally made, this ugly duckling of the stick world has been a true and faithful companion. It has freed me from the viscous ooze of countless tidal mudflats on ’fowling expeditions; hauled me up Cumbrian fells when I have been walking-out; and has been strong enough to drag a beast off the hill. Then, there is the detachable leather strap. This was made of ¼-inch bridle leather and measures 3½-foot long with a loop to go over the shoulder. Obviously its original function was to stop the stick being carried away whilst casting in fast-flowing deep water but it is astonishing how useful the strap is on terra firma when one needs two hands and there is nothing convenient nearby to prop the stick against – while using a pair of binoculars, for example, or lighting one’s pipe.

      Practicalities aside, the reason the stick is my favourite bit of kit is because it is, above all, comfortable to use and that is essential in a stick. The hand piece must have come from an old beast that had been doing well, hence it is proud and well sprung, with a hollow below the V of the tines into which the pad at the base of one’s thumb fits snugly. Although heavy, the weighted stub makes the stick perfectly balanced and aids locomotion. More importantly, it is exactly the right height. The role of a thumbstick is to propel one over rough ground and to take the weight off the body when standing for any length of time. Thumbstick aficionados fall into two distinct groups: leaners and loungers. Leaners can be seen propped upright with arms folded, leaning insouciantly on the V of their stick; loungers place it in their oxter and lounge. I am in the latter category.

      Sir Johnny Scott is a country writer and broadcaster.
      It may be an ugly duckling, but Sir Johnny Scott chooses his thumbstick as his favourite bit of kit. Comfortable to use, infinitely practical and still as good as new, it has been faithful field companion

      Sir Johnny Scott's thumbstick may be an ugly duckling, but it has proven itself invaluable in the field.It may lack aesthetic beauty and the natural elegance of a true hazel thumbstick, but this ugly duckling is still as good as it was new sometime before the Second World War. ... See more
      See more on line
      My favourite bit of kit: Sir Johnny Scott chooses his thumbstick
    • On 20 November 1917, 100 years ago this month, tanks fought alongside mounted soldiers for the first time, marking a turning point in the First World War

      The British cavalry in France in 1917; their movements were restricted by shortages of feed, with rations of both oats and hay cut.This month is the 100th anniversary of Cambrai, which saw tanks fight alongside mounted soldiers for the first time in a turning point in the First World War.

      For more on the Cavalry in the First World War, read their original letters in Cavalry in the First World War.

      CAMBRAI
      In July 1917, just before the Third Battle of Ypres, commonly called Passchendaele, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, a cavalryman, told his army commanders on the Western Front that “opportunities for the employment of cavalry in masses are likely to offer”. Meanwhile, on the other side of No Man’s Land, the German chief of staff, General Erich Ludendorff, an infantryman, was convinced that “trench warfare offered no scope for cavalry”. Instead, he wanted to turn them into infantry and give their horses to the artillery and transport: “The wastage in horses was extraordinarily high and the import from neutral countries hardly worth the consideration.”

      One of Ludendorff’s other problems was the shortage of corn and forage. Many parts of Germany were starving. The winter of 1916-17 became known as Kohlrübenwinter (“Turnip Winter”), when reibekuchen mit rübenkraut (potato cakes with sugarbeet syrup), still today a curious favourite of German Christmas markets, became a staple for many. The army fared little better at times and horses naturally took second place to the humans.

      The shortages were due in large part to the Royal Navy’s blockade, exacerbated by the strange inability of the German authorities to regulate agricultural practice and prices. Farmers fed grain to their animals although its nutritional value as bread was four times that of grain eaten indirectly through meat. Prices incentivised farmers to slaughter stock rather than breed, so that there was a compounding shortage of animals and therefore manure. Smaller harvests resulted and more fertilizer had to be produced by industry at the expense of explosives.

      Manoeuvring a Mark IV male supply tank over a trench.

      Haig’s cavalry was on short rations, too. Because of interruptions to shipping, not least by U-boats in the Channel, the daily allowance had been cut from 12lb of oats and 12lb of hay to 9lb of oats and 6lb of hay. It was not restored until late April, when bran (not a great nutrient) and linseed was issued as a supplementary ration. One regiment, the 9th Lancers, fed thatch to its horses.

      But while Ludendorff saw the Western Front as siege warfare on an industrial scale (materialschlacht), Haig, as a fellow general put it, regarded it as “mobile operations at the halt”. Having succeeded Sir John French (also a cavalryman) as commander-in-chief in December 1915, Haig constantly sought a return to the war of movement of 1914. Field Service Regulations – the Army’s “bible” – stated: “Decisive success in battle can be gained only by a vigorous offensive,” the chief factor in which was “a firmer determination in all ranks to conquer at any cost”.

      In Haig’s view, this meant an offensive leading to breakthrough and then rapid exploitation, and cavalry was therefore of the first importance.

      It was certainly true in August 1914, when a million Germans were wheeling through neutral Belgium to envelope the French army. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF), around 80,000 men, had found itself in the eye of the storm and its single cavalry division played a key role in preventing the Germans from outflanking the infantry during its 10-day retreat towards Paris and then in the so-called “Race for the Sea”. However, despite reinforcements, pouring into France from Britain and the outposts of Empire (regulars, reservists, territorials and the Indian Army, including cavalry) by December stalemate had developed, with trenches running continuously from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The cavalry on both sides found themselves unemployed, unless dismounted.

      Tank trains at Plateau Station – on top are brushwood “fascines” to be dropped into trenches so tanks could cross.

      Both sides tried to break through in 1915, but without success. Their cavalry was left champing at the bit in frustration. It was the same again in 1916: first the Germans at Verdun and then the British and French on the Somme. Fortunately, away from the front, minds had been at work on the problem of how to penetrate the German lines. In February 1915, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty (Navy minister), had set up the Admiralty Landships Committee to investigate the potential of a tracked device that could crush barbed wire, cross trenches and bring fire to bear on the enemy from behind steel protection. The development work was done by William Foster & Co Ltd of Lincoln, specialists in agricultural machinery. In September 1915, Fosters tested a first design, little more than an armoured box on American tractor caterpillar-tracks, but it could not cross a gap of 5ft – the average trench width – for the tracks were prone to shed. By December, the company had produced a completely new design with bigger tracks wrapped round a hull with forward-sloping “prows” projecting beyond the crew compartment – a rhomboid giving the machine huge reach. On 20 January 1916, sheathed in tarpaulins, the 28-ton “tank”, a deliberately vague term alluding to its boxy shape, was taken to Burton Park outside Lincoln and put through its paces. It crossed a trench 8ft wide, climbed a 5ft parapet and crushed barbed-wire entanglements at a steady walking speed of 4mph.

      A week later the “tank” was on its way by rail to Hatfield Park in Hertfordshire for demonstrations to the War Office. Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, thought it “a pretty mechanical toy but without serious military value”. Fortunately, Major-General Richard Butler, an infantryman and Haig’s deputy chief of staff, saw its potential and asked simply, “How soon can we have them?”

      THE TANK IN ACTION
      Not soon enough for the first day of the Somme (1 July), unfortunately. The tank would not go into action until the middle of September and then only 30 of them, most of which broke down. However, Haig recognised their worth and ordered several hundred more. He certainly had high hopes of them at Third Ypres in July the following year, just as for his cavalry. But the mud of “Passchendaele” would prove even worse than that of the Somme; the tanks stuck fast and once again the cavalry stood waiting in vain for the breakthrough.

      Morale in the new Tank Corps fell, as did the confidence of the rest of the Army in the tank. The corps needed to be given a fighting chance, on ground specially chosen – better drained and not pock-marked with shell craters. HQ Tank Corps therefore proposed an offensive towards Cambrai, the name now almost synonymous with the tank. Originally conceived as a raid – a limited action to show what the tank could do in the right conditions – planning for Cambrai soon became a casualty of the continuing ambition for breakthrough and restoration of the war of movement. Not the least in ambition was the cavalryman commanding Third Army, whose battle it would be – General Sir Julian Byng. In 1757, one of his ancestors, Admiral John Byng, had faced a firing squad pour encourager les autres – for failing to press his attack on a French fleet off Minorca. General Byng was not going to make the same mistake.

      He decided to throw all his divisions into the attack and all his allotted fighting tanks – 380 of them (the Tank Corps had 476 machines in all, including spares and various specialist tanks) – leaving himself without reserves. Haig placed virtually the entire Cavalry Corps, some 27,500 cavalrymen and their support troops, under Byng’s command to “pass through and operate in open country”.

      The preparations were prodigious. Some of the regiments had to march long distances to the assembly areas – the Queen’s Bays, for example, 106 miles in five night marches; 270 tons of oats and hay had to be pre-positioned. “Cavalry track battalions” were formed, largely of Indian NCOs and sowars (troopers) recently arrived in France as reinforcements, to help get the cavalry forward in the wake of the advancing tanks and infantry, their job to make gaps in the wire and fill-in or bridge the trenches and shell holes. With pick and shovel, assisted by tanks fitted with grapnels to tear up the barbed wire, they were expected to clear paths 60yd wide to a depth of five miles, bridging 26 successive lines of trenches.

      DRIVER ADVANCE
      The battle began well. On 20 November, in an obliging morning mist and before a single round of artillery had been fired, the 380 tanks answered to the command “Driver, advance!” The absence of the usual artillery notification coupled with the tanks’ quite remarkable success in concealment during the build-up, aided by the Royal Flying Corps’ local air superiority, took the Germans wholly by surprise. When troops reached the forward trenches they found flasks of hot coffee at the firing step – breakfast hastily abandoned. On a six-mile front, checked only at Flesquières, Byng’s divisions were able to penetrate five miles into the defences of the Hindenburg Line that morning, further to date than anywhere on the Somme or in Flanders. By early afternoon, only a half-finished fourth line stood between Third Army and open country and here there was a wide-open gap for several hours.

      British cavalry awaiting orders earlier in the year.

      An advance of five miles, even a relatively easy one, was tiring, however. By now the tanks were crewed by exhausted men (the noise, the fumes, the concussive vibrations), or were out of action and the infantry could make no further progress without them, for the Germans were still firing back. And if the infantry could make no progress, the cavalry certainly couldn’t. In any case, for whatever reason – poor communications, lack of “dash” in regiments that had been inactive for three years (recriminations would follow) – the cavalry was slow getting forward.

      The Germans were certainly expecting them. Leutnant Miles Reinke of 2 Garde-Dragoner Regiment wrote home: “We waited for several regiments of cavalry to sweep up and drive us towards Berlin. But this didn’t happen, much to our surprise.” Indeed, expecting to be overrun at any minute, they had even abandoned Cambrai itself.

      DIGGING IN
      With no reserve of tanks and infantry to renew the attacks, Byng told his spent troops to dig in and the cavalry, when it did come up in the afternoon, to hold along the St Quentin Canal. German reserves began pouring into the breaches and the following morning, after a night of icy rain, the British faced the predictable counter-attacks. The Second Cavalry Brigade found itself in a sharp dismounted action at Noyelles just after first light. Lieutenant Edward Horner of the 18th Hussars, whose brother-in-law, Raymond Asquith, the eldest son of the former prime minister, had been killed on the Somme the previous year, was fatally wounded that morning. His mother, Lady (Frances) Horner, would commission a memorial bronze by the equestrian artist Alfred Munnings set on a plinth by Sir Edwin Lutyens, which stands today in Mells church in Somerset with Raymond Asquith’s original grave marker.

      THE COUNTER-OFFENSIVE
      Haig sent more divisions to Cambrai but it was too late. Byng’s renewed attacks on the 22nd and 23rd quickly petered out, while with impressive speed the Germans massed 20 divisions for a counter-offensive. These came out of the morning mist on 30 November after a short, intense bombardment consisting of high explosive, gas and smoke – but with almost no tanks, for the Germans did not rate them. Using new infiltration techniques they thrust at both flanks of the salient created by the Third Army’s advance, breaking through in the south. Byng’s infantry put up a resolute defence and disaster was averted but only with considerable loss, including Brigadier-General Roland Boys Bradford VC, MC – at 25 the youngest brigade commander of modern times, who had been in command for just three weeks.

      Dawn, The Sunken Road near La Vacquerie (20th November 1917) by William Lionel Wyllie.

      Byng was now forced to abandon the greater part of his original gains. German casualties at Cambrai were around 50,000; the BEF’s were 45,000 (of which 10,000 were dead) yet with nothing to show for it, just the sense of a “near miss”, a demonstration of what the tank could do in the attack if well handled. The church bells, which had rung in England on the first day to announce a resounding victory, had rung prematurely.

      Although British and Imperial cavalry were achieving great things in Palestine and Mesopotamia, the conditions on the Western Front were just not right yet for breakthrough. They would have to wait until the late summer of 1918, when the Germans overreached themselves in a last-ditch offensive, to get their promised gallop.

      Allan Mallinson’s Too Important for the Generals: How Britain Nearly Lost the First World War is published by Penguin Random House, RRP: £10.
      On 20 November 1917, 100 years ago this month, tanks fought alongside mounted soldiers for the first time, marking a turning point in the First World War

      The British cavalry in France in 1917; their movements were restricted by shortages of feed, with rations of both oats and hay cut.This month is the 100th anniversary of Cambrai, which saw tanks fight alongside mounted soldiers for the first time in a turning point in the First World War.

      For more on the Cavalry in ... See more
      See more on line
      The Cavalry at Cambrai
    • Philippa Davis' warm partridge salad with crispy Parma ham works surprisingly well with a splash of vodka - guaranteed to keep spirits high this season

      This pretty starter has a surprise ingredient. This warm partridge salad with crispy Parma ham by Philippa Davis has a surprise kick. The secret splash of vodka is guaranteed to get everyone in the spirit of things at a supper party.

      Partridge adds a great, gamey twist to salad. Try partridge breast caesar-style salad for an unexpected twist on a classic. And warm game will make any salad a fantastic shoot lunch offering. Our warm grouse, plum, blue cheese and walnut salad also makes a fantastic supper party starter.

      WARM PARTRIDGE SALAD WITH CRISPY PARMA HAM, CELERIAC, VODKA AND LEMON DRESSING
      This pretty starter will certainly kickstart your dinner. Don’t be tempted to overdo the vodka or the dish will taste harsh. If you don’t have vodka, gin or tequila also work well.

      Serves 2 as a starter

      Partridge marinade

      - 1 tsp vodka,
      - 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme
      - Zest of ½ lemon
      - Juice of ¼ lemon
      - 1 tsp olive oil
      - 2 partridge breasts, skin on
      Salad dressing

      - 1 tbsp mayonnaise
      - 2 tbsp crème fraîche
      - 1 tsp lemon juice
      - 2 tbsp vodka
      - 1 tsp grain mustard
      - 1 tsp honey
      Salad

      - 125g celeriac, peeled and cut into thin strips
      - 2 slices Parma ham
      - 50g roughly chopped watercress
      To prepare, whisk the marinade ingredients together with salt and pepper then place the breasts, flesh side down, in the marinade. Leave in the fridge to marinate for no more than 1 hour.

      For the salad, whisk the dressing ingredients together and season; stir in the celeriac and leave for 1 hour. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Place the Parma ham on a baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes; peel off and leave on a rack to cool and crisp up.

      To assemble the salad, in a frying pan on a high heat, cook the breasts both sides for 2 minutes then pour in any remaining marinade. Take off the heat.

      Meanwhile, mix the watercress through the celeriac and pile onto your serving dish with the Parma ham. Slice the breasts and lay them on top and pour over any pan juice.
      Philippa Davis' warm partridge salad with crispy Parma ham works surprisingly well with a splash of vodka - guaranteed to keep spirits high this season

      This pretty starter has a surprise ingredient. This warm partridge salad with crispy Parma ham by Philippa Davis has a surprise kick. The secret splash of vodka is guaranteed to get everyone in the spirit of things at a supper party.

      Partridge adds a great, gamey twist to salad. Try See more
      See more on line
      Warm partridge salad with crispy Parma ham
    • Getting behind the wheel of Fiat’s latest sports car gives Charlie Flindt a strong sense of déjà vu – but not for the original Spider

      Clever and beautiful retro styling.Charlie Flindt finds himself feeling nostalgic at the wheel of the new Fiat 124 Spider – but it’s not for the original.

      For another motor to put a smile on your face, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is beautiful, lively and has bags of character.

      FIAT 124 SPIDER
      The Fiat 124 Spider is not exactly what it seems. If you believe the advertising, it’s the latest in a long line of Fiat sports cars, stretching back through classics such as the Barchetta and X1/9, all the way to the original 124 Sport Spider of 1966 – it’s Italian soft-top motoring at its purest. Well, not quite. The “new” 124 Spider is actually a reworked fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 and is built on the same production line in Hiroshima.

      It’s easy to sneer at such a blatant case of badge engineering and chuckle at the irony of Fiat, which supplied old models for Eastern Europeans to copy through the 1960s and ’70s, reworking someone else’s basic design. But when you see the 124 in the metal, the sneer changes to a smile. And the smile gets broader when you switch your glance over to the MX-5, which has undergone an odd transformation from easy-on-the-eye roadster to angular track-day thruster. The 124’s body is a clever and beautiful bit of retro styling.

      A smart interior.

      The Fiat input is much more than skin deep, however. Out goes Mazda’s choice of engine and in goes a 1.4 turbo petrol unit, and more changes have been made in the suspension. The whole car is slightly larger, with a tad more boot space than its donor.

      There was a strange mix of familiarity and déjà vu when at the wheel of the 124. All the MX-5’s legendary attributes are there: the five-second roof, the “backside at road level” feeling and the sheer fun of open-top driving. But there’s a sense that the 124 is somehow simpler, more relaxed than its non-identical twin. The 1.4 turbo is lively and makes the right noises but seems to turbo-lag a bit. However, the ride and handling feels less urgent, more content and entertaining in the real life driving experience – no track day is needed to get the best out of it. It pulls off the magic trick of making 45mph feel like 75mph.

      Hence the déjà vu. I’ve driven just such a vehicle before, a long time ago. But it can’t have been the original 124; I was busy assembling Airfix models of a Polikarpov I-16 when that was launched. No, it was like being at the wheel of the Mk1 MX-5 we owned before fecundity took over in the mid 1990s and estate cars became the vehicles of choice.

      The new 1.4 turbo petrol engine.

      And that’s the fascinating thing about the 124 Spider. Fiat has done a clever deal with Mazda, which puts a proper roadster in its showrooms at last. It has used an iconic Sixties soft-top for visual inspiration and to provide some fairly disingenuous publicity material. But while the intention may have been to recreate the glory days of Sixties motoring, I feel that it has also, probably unintentionally, recreated that special time when the first MX-5 arrived and a thousand hot hatchbacks all looked very lame indeed.

      Or was it unintentional? That’s the thing about the 124 Spider. Nothing is as it seems.

      FIAT 124 SPIDER

      ♦ Engine: 1,368cc petrol
      ♦ Power: 140hp
      ♦ Max speed: 134mph
      ♦ Performance, 0 to 62: 7.5 sec
      ♦ Combined fuel economy: 44.1mpg
      ♦ Insurance group (0-20): 25
      ♦ Price: £19,545
      Getting behind the wheel of Fiat’s latest sports car gives Charlie Flindt a strong sense of déjà vu – but not for the original Spider

      Clever and beautiful retro styling.Charlie Flindt finds himself feeling nostalgic at the wheel of the new Fiat 124 Spider – but it’s not for the original.

      For another motor to put a smile on your face, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is beautiful, ... See more
      See more on line
      Fiat 124 Spider. A strange sense of familiarity
    • Matt Clark visits the new Holland & Holland Schiesskino shooting cinema

      The new Holland & Holland Schiesskino range A buffalo is staring straight at me. I hear my heart pounding in my ears and then the recoil hits me as I pull the trigger on my Holland & Holland 500. I’m not in Africa, nor am I dreaming, I’m in Middlesex on the brand-new Scheisskino range at the Holland & Holland shooting ground.

      This is the only range of its kind in the UK, although Schiesskino ranges are more common in other parts of Europe. This means us Brits can finally get in on the action that our European friends have been enjoying for years.

      The action stops for three seconds after you shoot so you can see how well you did

      What is Schiesskino?
      Literally translated, Schiesskino means, “shooting cinema” and as the name suggest, you shoot at a cinema screen. It took a while for me to get my head round shooting at a cinema screen with a .50 calibre rifle, or any other rifle for that matter, so here’s how it works.

      - The bullets pass through the special cinema screen, the action on the screen stops and an infra red light shining from behind the double-layer paper screen is picked up by the camera immediately.
      - This highlights where your shot went, giving you real-time information.
      - The action on the screen then continues. The shooter reloads, shoots twice more, and then the sequence is over.
      - If you are shooting with friends, each one of them will shoot the same sequence before moving onto another scenario.
      One minute you will be shooting running boar, then next you could be shooting a buffalo

      Various scenarios
      The hard drive of the computer stores thousands of clips. One minute you can be hunting plains game in Africa, the next you will be shooting running boar in a snowy wood in Germany, or transported to Spain for a Monteria. All the scenarios are realistic and you can shoot anything you are likely to want to shoot.
      And you can use your regular rifle and ammunition, or hire a rifle for your session from Holland & Holland, similar to one you will have when shooting abroad. There are a wide variety of firearms to choose from, ranging from a .22 semi-auto through to a Blaser R8 in .308 calibre or the Holland 500 double rifle.

      Steve Rawsthorne at Holland & Holland says: “It’s an excellent way to sharpen up your skills with realistic scenarios if you have a shooting holiday planned.”

      Clayshooting grounds near London
      All of these shooting schools are close to London and it shouldn’t take you much longer than an hour to…

      What’s on every Gun’s luxury wish list?
      1. Top gun The Holland & Holland Royal is a dream of an over-and-under shotgun with the traditional Holland &…

      Brush up rifle shooting skills
      The state of the art indoor range is climate controlled, so you are really enjoying some luxury shooting. The screen is 10 metres wide, three metres high and is 25 metres away from the firing point.

      It must have cost a shed-load to build, so I ask Steve why the company bothered to invest in this facility. “At Holland & Holland we like to lead the way. More and more people are going to Europe to shoot and this provides the perfect practice environment for them. People can come here and brush up their rifle shooting skills in a safe environment with a qualified instructor, which will help them get the most out of their shooting trip.”

      However, you don’t just have to go on a shooting holiday to use the Scheisskino range. If you want to shoot just for fun, then you can use a semi-auto .22 M4 carbine and shoot at an animated target, accompanied by oom-pah music. The music will stay with you long after the target practice has finished. This type of shooting is more suited for a stag party, or a corporate event and, believe me, it beats a stag clay shoot any day.

      Learning at Holland & Holland
      If you have never handled a rifle before, then Steve recommends a session on one of the outdoor ranges, so you have a basic understanding of rifle shooting before venturing onto moving targets at the Scheisskino range with a full-bore rifle.

      A one-to-one session with an instructor, which will last an hour costs £150. You will have to pay for the ammunition used, but until the end of the year, the loan of a rifle at the ground is free. Anyone can shoot the Holland 500, but be warned, it costs £20 per round, so make your shot count.
      Matt Clark visits the new Holland & Holland Schiesskino shooting cinema

      The new Holland & Holland Schiesskino range A buffalo is staring straight at me. I hear my heart pounding in my ears and then the recoil hits me as I pull the trigger on my Holland & Holland 500. I’m not in Africa, nor am I dreaming, I’m in Middlesex on the ... See more
      See more on line
      Is this the most exciting indoor shooting range ever?
    • Trainers believe that gun-shyness cannot be cured, but there are little tricks to accustom a young dog to gunfire

      Amid all the afflictions a working gundog can suffer, there is arguably nothing worse than being gun-shy. Peter Moxon, Shooting Times’s kennel editor for many years, didn’t think that there was 
a cure for a gun-shy dog, though he did believe that there was a big difference between one that was gun-shy and one that was gun-nervous. “The latter can, with understanding on the part 
of the trainer, be completely cured and turned into a useful worker with the gun,” he maintained.

      What is a gun-nervous dog?
      Moxon defined a gun-nervous dog as one that was afraid of guns — rather than the noise they make — perhaps because a gun had been fired too close to them at too early a stage in their training. Most gundog trainers will advise how to introduce puppies to gunfire for the first time, starting with small bangs at a distance. Moxon believed in banging a metal tray as 
a signal for feeding time, making sure that the puppy would associate loud noises with something pleasurable.

      Some dogs never seem in the least bit worried about the sound of gunfire, while others need a gentle introduction

      Lots of trainers have their own little tricks
      - One I thought rather good was using party poppers: you can buy 100 of them for less than £8 from most big supermarkets and the bang they make is loud enough to be effective, but soft enough not to scare a puppy.
      - An old-fashioned cap gun is also a good bet, and you can buy a plastic one, complete with 200 caps, for the same price as the party poppers.
      - Starting pistols are usually used for the next stage in training and many trainers will initially fire the pistol inside their game bag, so that it muffles the shot.
      - Be wary of firing dummy launchers too close to a young dog. One of my spaniels was spooked badly by a dummy launcher early in her training and was frightened of the sound for the rest of her life.
      - One of the best training devices 
I have come across is the Single Shot, an excellent little device for firing .22 blanks that is a great improvement over the starting pistol. It has the considerable advantage of not looking like a pistol, so it is safe to have in your pocket if training away from home, and you can fire it repeatedly without any risk of a misfire.
      Utmost care should always be taken when introducing puppies or young dogs to gunfire

      Gentle introduction
      Some dogs never seem in the least bit worried about the sound of gunfire, while others really do need a gentle introduction. I’ve always introduced my dogs to shotguns on a proper shooting day, but standing a long way from the guns being fired. I’d never recommend working a dog on its first shooting day. Just take it along so that it gets accustomed to the sounds and smells and general excitement.

      When should I introduce my puppy to gunfire?
      A reader also wants to know reaction to aim for when training a dog to drop to shot

      Can gundogs go deaf from shooting?
      Have you ever heard of a gundog going deaf because of the noise of gun shots?

      My gun-shy dog
      I’ve only owned one spaniel, Suze, who really was gun-shy, but curiously she was never bothered by the sound of shotguns on a shooting day. I’ve always thought that she loved shooting so much that she was prepared to put up with the bangs. But she soon became distressed if she heard shotguns being fired anywhere near her on a non-shooting day. She couldn’t be taken to the Game Fair for this reason as the sound of gunfire from the shooting line, however distant, was enough to upset her.

      Dogs and fireworks
      I have found that many gundogs that are completely unfazed by shotguns are petrified of fireworks, perhaps because modern fireworks mix hefty explosions with all sorts of weird — and to a dog’s ears, worrying — sounds. I can remember when firework night was celebrated on 
5 November, or a day either side, 
but now the parties seem to go on for days. If you have a nervous dog, this 
is a worrying time of the year.

      There are ways to try to prevent dogs becoming stressed by fireworks.

      A six-year-old labrador bitch that was terrified of explosions was cured by sound immersion. She was taken to a fireworks display and for an hour she was fed a nugget of food at each bang. Her fear vanished for good!

      With Suze I tried a CD of fireworks, playing the recording gently to begin with then letting it get louder. Curiously, this didn’t bother her and it was almost as if she knew that it wasn’t the real thing.

      We tried all the recommended remedies with her, such as shutting the curtains, playing soothing music, even using pheromones, but nothing was 100 per cent effective so it was always a great relief when the firework season finally finished.
      Trainers believe that gun-shyness cannot be cured, but there are little tricks to accustom a young dog to gunfire

      Amid all the afflictions a working gundog can suffer, there is arguably nothing worse than being gun-shy. Peter Moxon, Shooting Times’s kennel editor for many years, didn’t think that there was 
a cure for a gun-shy dog, though he did believe that there was a big difference between one ... See more
      See more on line
      Gun-shy dogs – what you need to know
    • You need to look for something warm but not too hot. Comfortable without being scruffy. Oh, and preferably washable. You know what, we found it.

      Where would Guns be without a handy fleece gilet? On some shoot days, you could be forgiven for thinking that fleece gilets were some sort of school uniform in the shooting world. That’s because they have so many advantages.

      - They keep you snug without feeling too hot
      - They are supremely comfortable
      - Most of them are easy to wash in a machine
      - They dry quickly
      - They’re robust
      - They come in all shapes and sizes
      - They look quite smart
      - They come in all different price ranges – from budget to blow-out
      Our run-down of the best fleece gilets for shooting
      Gransmore pheasant fleece gilet £20

      Looking for something affordable but still decent quality? Then you’d be hard pressed to beat Rydale. The Gransmore pheasant fleece gilet is a snip at £20 and comes in sizes from XS to 3XL and a choice of brown or olive green.

      Seeland’s Chasse fleece (£39.95)

      Seeland’s Chasse fleece waistcoat, available for only a little more at £39.95, has reinforced bindings on the collar and arms, and a drawstring around the lower hem to keep out draughts. It is also available in green or brown and sizes range from S to 5XL.

      Seeland Bolton fleece

      Alternatively, check out the Seeland Bolton fleece waistcoat which works well as an extra layer in cold weather or as outwear on warmer days.  Buy now:  Seeland Bolton fleece waistcoat from Amazon for £41.51

      The best shooting shirts for men
      Our pick of the best shooting shirts will have you looking smart and feeling comfortable even when you're in the…

      17 photographs that will make you wish you were out on the grouse moors. Wearing tweeds.
      For the past few weeks, our Instagram has been featuring some spectacular images of the grouse moors, courtesy of John…

      Highland fleece vest by Shooter King

      Another item would be the Highland fleece vest by Shooter King which is warm, light as a feather and has lots of pockets. Sizes range from S to 5XL. Buy now: Highland fleece vest by Shooter King from Amazon, for £52.14

      Alan Paine Aylsham waistcoat

      The Alan Paine Aylsham fleece waistcoat is warm and practical and ideal for cooler days in the field. Available in sizes S-5XL in two different colours. Buy now:  Aylsham mens fleece shooting waistcoat from Amazon from £80.07

      Musto Glemsford Polartec fleece gilet

      The Musto Glemsford Polartec fleece gilet is warm and comfortable but still allows your arms to move freely. Available from Farlows in navy and moss colours for £125, in sizes S-XXL

      Schoffel Oakham fleece

      Schoffel has cornered the high end of the gilet market. The simple Oakham fleece is one of the most popular and is now available in twelve different colours, including Lincoln green, dark olive, palomino and gunmetal. It has an adjustable drawstring at the hem to ensure a snug, draught-free fit, has two zipped security pockets, is machine washable and quick drying and can be zipped into Schoffel’s Ptarmigan coat. The Oakham is available in sizes from 38” to 54” chest.  Buy now: Schoffel Oakham fleece from Amazon, for £136.55 

      Once you’ve started wearing a fleece for shooting, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one in your shooting wardrobe.
      You need to look for something warm but not too hot. Comfortable without being scruffy. Oh, and preferably washable. You know what, we found it.

      Where would Guns be without a handy fleece gilet? On some shoot days, you could be forgiven for thinking that fleece gilets were some sort of school uniform in the shooting world. That’s because they have so many advantages.

      - They keep you snug without feeling too hot
      - They are supremely comfortable
      - Most ... See more
      See more on line
      Some of the best fleece gilets for shooting men
    • Guy N Smith explains how he has transformed his few acres of land into a shoot providing great sport

      The “syndicate” with Lexie the lagotto and springer spaniel Holly

      It is the dream of many sportsmen to own their own shoot, and to provide some sort of safeguard for their shooting in the future. Due to escalating 
land prices around the country this dream may result in owning just 
a few acres, but with careful planning and hard work it can still become 
a worthwhile project.

      That is what 
I discovered when I resigned from 
a career in banking more than 
40 years ago and swapped the over-populated West Midlands for a remote area of the south Shropshire hills. It was certainly a gamble, but it paid 
off and has rewarded me with everything I want in life.

      The steep hillside which became an excellent small shoot

      Planning out the land
      Initially my land was a steep, heavily overgrazed hillside with just seven mature oak trees and an elm that subsequently became a victim of Dutch elm disease that was rampaging through the UK at the time. Beyond the boundary was a dense 500-acre conifer wood on one side and hundreds of acres of grazing for sheep and cattle on the other. This was hardly the ideal habitat for game, so I needed to provide the necessary attractive cover on my own land. Careful detailed planning was essential at the outset.

      - I planted two spinneys on the upper slope, leaving the lower to regenerate as scrubland prior to cutting four rides through the length of it.
      - Overall conservation was combined with shoot management, so bird-nesting boxes were installed along with the planting of suitable undergrowth to provide cover and natural food for wildlife in general.
      Tax and the DIY shoot
      Many shoots on farms and estates, with just a modest number of shoot days taken by family and friends, will be run as DIY…

      How to start up your own DIY shoot
      Can you recall a time when the roughshoot, that splendid amalgam of sport, offering the odd walked-up pheasant or perhaps…

      The world’s smallest shoot?
      Back in the 1970s I made a couple of life-changing decisions. I resigned from a secure job in banking to…

      Creating a flightpond
      - Next on the list was a flightpond, 
which was no easy task on land with 
no natural water supply.
      - The 
only option was to bulldoze a pool on 
the upper slope adjoining the smaller 
of the two spinneys. This was achieved, 
using the surplus soil for the banks 
and then spreading 6in of sand before laying the butyl liner as protection against any sharp stones — a puncture could have been very costly.
      - The pool size was approximately 
20 yards long by 8 yards wide. It was small, certainly, but I well remember enjoying some excellent sport years ago on one slightly smaller.
      - Within a couple of weeks heavy rain had filled my pool. The water depth was approximately 10in at one end and 
6in at the other.
      - The next task was to fence the pond securely with strong mesh. The last thing we needed was badgers and 
foxes wading into the water.
      - By the following mid-summer the banks and surrounding areas were a mass of natural vegetation, and all traces of artificiality had disappeared.

      Duck flighting
      Though our pool is small, it is sheltered by a few surrounding trees atop the hillside so it presents some of the most testing flight shooting I have ever experienced. Wind direction is not always a guide to the direction from which the duck arrive. Mostly, ducks flight up the small valley and then low up the steep slope to the pool.

      We limit our duck flighting to around every three weeks, making it a finale to our organised shoots.

      I make it a rule to pack up and leave before deep darkness, thus allowing any late arrivals to land and feed undisturbed. These birds will be the nucleus of our next flight. Occasionally, teal will visit, and 
a Canada goose has been recorded on our trail camera.

      While algae can be a problem, it can also be useful. Duck do not seem to be deterred by it and it 
is evidence of their presence.

      The flightpond in early days – build by hand, foilage has subsequently grown over the side and it now fits seamlessly into its surroundings

      The arrival of deer
      While it has taken several years to establish this miniature shoot, it is now certainly proving its worth as it offers walked-up pheasant, woodcock and rabbits along with pigeon flighting. A few years ago, deer moved in, both roe and muntjac, so we have set up a feeding station and enjoy the occasional stalk. Now wild boar have arrived, viewed on the roadside bordering our upper boundary by a passing motorist. It is early days yet but we can only wait and hope.

      Rough shooting on my own shoot
      I now have my own small unofficial “syndicate” comprising Kevin, who assists me with gamekeeping duties, and Lee and his wife Alison, who are two keen shooting friends who visit once a month. They have a couple of excellent dogs — a springer spaniel and a lagotto.

      Few sportsmen are familiar with the lagotto, and most have never even heard of them. This breed has been in the UK only for about a quarter of a century, having been introduced from the Comacchio marshes region of Italy where, for years, its principal role has been that of a hunting dog. However, for the past century or so they have been used primarily for finding truffles, but their keen hunting instinct remains. Having watched Lexie the lagotto work, I can vouch for this. She has an unbelievably keen nose and generally works within a 10-yard radius of Alison. The other dog, Holly, is a well-trained springer spaniel. One could not wish for two better dogs on a shooting day. On several occasions they have retrieved runners that we were on the point of giving up as lost.

      While the acreage on my shoot is small, shooting it certainly involves 
a good few hours’ hard work. I position one Gun on each of the rides with dense rough cover to be worked on either side. We have strict safety rules on this sloping terrain: Guns must not shoot at birds 
that break downhill; low birds are left 
to the one on the bottom ride; and crossing shots can safely be taken 
at those that break from higher up.

      It is important that the advancing lines know exactly where Guns to the right and left are, so every few yards the whereabouts of these are ascertained. We move slowly, allowing both dogs to work thoroughly. Shots at birds going away down the rides are perfectly safe, as are any that flush to the rear of the advancing line.

      Our pheasant rearing has always been on a small scale, as too many birds on a restricted acreage would only lead to straying. Likewise, our bag is restricted to no more than 10, and only cocks are shot once Christmas looms. My policy has always been quality rather than quantity.

      Rabbits are taken only if they bolt straight along one of the rides

      Rabbits are only taken if they bolt straight along one of the rides, and we are fortunate in having a few woodcock from November onwards.

      Again, safe shooting is paramount. Often these birds have their favourite daytime resting places beneath evergreen bushes such as holly.

      Something that I find most satisfying on a shoot of this size is being able to recall each shot at the end of the day. Here, walked-up birds present a challenge due to the layout of the rides. By not over-shooting, and the fact we are in an area where the surrounding land is not conducive to pheasants, those birds that escape the Guns usually return to home ground soon afterwards.
      Guy N Smith explains how he has transformed his few acres of land into a shoot providing great sport

      The “syndicate” with Lexie the lagotto and springer spaniel Holly

      It is the dream of many sportsmen to own their own shoot, and to provide some sort of safeguard for their shooting in the future. Due to escalating 
land prices around the country this dream may ... See more
      See more on line
      How to create your own shoot – what you need to know