Be he English or French, a well-shown partridge can test the best of shots. Presented in the traditional style over hedgerows, greys and redlegs encapsulate the motto, “the race is to the swift”. Hesitate and your only resort is a scrabbled shot behind. Alternatively, drive the Frenchmen like pheasants and they can sail over the line as high as any steepling phasianus.
But there are too many shoots where the partridges may extend the shooting season but do little to challenge the sportsman other than in his wallet. And a poor partridge is seldom cheaper than an excellent one.
The British shoots cover both styles but have one thing in common: they show truly sporting, testing birds. Wild shoots are proliferating and we may aspire to facing our native grey partridge. Shoots such as Peppering are showing what can be achieved. Truly wild birds are uniquely testing to produce and to shoot; they offer a challenge that all sportsmen should experience at least once in a lifetime.
We do not hold a monopoly on excellence, so there are also five Spanish and Portuguese shoots for you to consider.
For the full list of the top 25 partridge shoots see the October 2011 issue of The Field
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