the last shoot of the seasonPosted: January 31, 2012
The shooting season has now drawn to a close and we have enjoyed our last pheasant shoot. As a result, we have also enjoyed our last fresh pheasant dish until later in the year.
Our last shoot was great fun. All friends and family and a hearty meal together afterwards.
It was an interesting day with a young working dog still being put through his paces but who did incredibly well, a few foxes that will not doubt hear the sound of the hunting horn and the screech of an eagle soon. We saw lots of hares and my sister’s terrier at regular intervals (he had a fabulous day but also kept appearing exactly where he shouldn’t have been)!
The young spaniel who was enjoying a bit of a training day out was a bit hesitant but enthusiastic and I’m sure his confidence in his master’s instructions will eventually come. His kennel buddy is another spaniel but a very timid bitch who doesn’t work but insists on ‘helping out’. I’m sure she was as pleased with herself as he was!
There were a number of foxes that were driven out of the cover by our motley crew of beaters who were made up of friends, neighbours and teenagers. They lost concentration at times while chatting, leaving gaps in the line that you could drive a train through but these final family shoot days on the farm are not about numbers or ratios, they are about fun, fun, fun and with those rules in place and kept up by the farmer himself (who was also beating), everyone had a great day.
Even though it is a fun day, the guns still hand over their beater’s tips and the kids all go home with quite a bit of spending cash.
The weather was a bit damp and overcast with a chill that most of our winter has so far been without but it wasn’t as wet and sticky underfoot as it has been known to be. The marked lack of rain this year ensured dry fenland silt and although we were grateful not to get wet, it was a real shame that we didn’t actually get the sun for our last day.
There weren’t a lot of birds about and I think the final numbers were similar to the previous shoot when the family and friends got together. None of the guns is really interested in numbers (probably just as well!!) and some drives saw no lead leaving the barrels of the guns but that is the joy of a wild pheasant shoot on the fens; nothing is guaranteed.
We always take our terrier with us as he loves it. He doesn’t have the soft mouth of the breeds used as gun dogs but he has a good nose. He will find a bird in cover and he will get it up in the air for you. He will find a pricked bird but you need to get there quickly on his heels to make sure it is despatched without his help. He watches our shot birds so he knows where they land and will go off to retrieve them but only picks them up and gives them a bruising squeeze before leaving us to pick up our dead birds.
We’d like to take him beating but I think we’d need to do some work first!