Simulated game shooting can be just as stimulating as the real thing
Simulated game shooting is an easy way to repay a whole host of hosts in a day. Whether they’re keen grouse-shots who would appreciate a tune-up or lowland shots who’d like to experience something close to the excitement of coveys over the heather, the West London Shooting School’s Purdey Grouse Course, lasting a morning or afternoon, fits the bill.
Eight guns take to the butts and are presented with battalions of clay grouse coming over at pretty much head height. They’re presented in sufficient numbers to recreate the confusion of a real day. Which bird to choose? Dammit, too late. Cost is £175 including lunch and VAT, or £1,400 for a team of eight.
Both the EJ Churchill and Royal Berkshire shooting schools also offer simulated days at a range of estates, usually for a team of 16 guns; mostly they mimic pheasants and partridges. The former holds its days on the 5,000-acre West Wycombe estate, owned by the Dashwood family, and charges £395, excluding VAT, per gun (£6,320, excluding VAT, for 16 guns).
The RBSS days are staged at a number of venues, such as Highclere and Eastnor castles, and start at £4,000, excluding VAT, but including lunch and refreshments.
Also recommended are the days staged by Matthew Pickford of Stoke Drove Farm, Broadchalke, Wiltshire. Stoke Drove is noted for the quality of its partridges, which zap over the chalk valleys, and the clay versions are equally testing.
Cost is £215 per person and is pegged for 18 guns shooting in pairs, giving a total cost of £3,870, including VAT. Pickford reminds clients that the uber-keen can shoot around 600 cartridges in a day, so advocates 21g or 24g loads.
West London Shooting School, tel 020 8845 1377
EJ Churchill, tel 01494 883227
RBSS, tel 01491 672900
Stoke Drove, tel 01722 781041
Raisthorpe Flyers, tel 01377 288295