By Morton Jack of The Field
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Morton Jack takes a look at pigeon shooting in the UK
Just 50 minutes after flying into Manchester Airport, Ali and I were in a field of barley watching the birds fix wings and drop into the midst of the ’coys. While Ali banged away I had a chat with our host, Graham Stephens. This quiet and unflappable guide and online firearms dealer seems to delight in his new lifestyle having left a high-pressure IT job.
Graham shoots mid July to September over 2,500 acres
and a typical day’s shooting involves an early start and finishes at around 4.30 with a bag of 30 to 50 birds. His customers vary from a large Spanish group who bagged more than 800 pigeon in a day to Mo, the student and novice shot who had caught the pigeon-shooting bug and was back for his second day in a week.
I quizzed Graham about the impact of guides and he
argued that “the growth of guides makes pigeon-shooting more accessible, not less, particularly to newcomers who do not have to spend days courting landowners or buying expensive kit”.
The next day, the sun turned up but the birds,
inexplicably, didn’t, prompting a quick reaction from Graham, who drove off in his Discovery on a quest to find a better spot. After about an hour he located a new site and moved us to it. The birds were pouring along an avenue of big beech trees to feed on a scrappy patch of barley with space for them to land and feed. They seemed very keen and I spent an hour and a half hijacking them on their way past while Ali had fun at the business end where they were feeding. Our total bag was around three dozen. Graham had managed to round things off with a flourish and that made all the difference.
Of course Holland & Holland is expensive but this Royal 12-bore ov... Read more
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation returns to The Mall Galleries i... Read more
Paradise found on hill and stream: the best sporting holidays... Read more
Subscribe today, have every issue delivered to your door and save money on the cover price.