The pheasant professors are unbeatable in their category. These ten can shoot archangels with aplomb.
Pheasant professors can deal with high birds. Want to know why they make our top shots 2015 list? Read on. These ten top shots stand heads above the others when it comes to dealing with pheasants.
TOP SHOTS 2015: PHEASANT PROFESSORS
A regular at Haddeo (20 years) and Combe Sydenham (15) he “not only shoots the highest of birds cleanly but he does so against all the odds as he constantly switches throughout the season between his pair of Purdey side-by-sides and his Beretta over-and-unders with a multitude of different cart-ridges. Keeps his spirit of fun throughout the day with no outward signs of competition but relying wholly on natural skill. He really is very good!” Happily, this paragon pheasant professor does have one vice: getting his aging Audi stuck and asking the keepers to rescue him.
A fixture on the high-bird circuit, “Fordy’s” commitment is such that he even went to a fluffy-towel retreat for “treatments” to get into fighting form for the season. Rumoured to be giving Mary Berry some tips for her next Aga book, having found that his FOB cartridges like a spell in the warming oven.
According to one agent, “he never has an off day like the rest of us.” While others fiddle with chokes and squibs, French “just uses the same guns and loads throughout the season with devastating effect”. Also runs his own small shoot, doing all the feeding and keepering.
The Bisley Shooting Ground’s shooting manager has been at the top of the coaching game for 20 years. The one old dogs turn to when they need to learn new tricks, Heagren shows how it’s done on the real thing, felling archangels with the heavy artillery that’s now standard kit on the high-bird shoots.
Based at Castle Hill, he has shot at “around 2.5 to 1 at the highest pheasants, making him the most consistent gun I’ve seen this season and the most competitive,” says one informant, adding, “he’s always pushing the boundaries of our sport and his ability.”
Renowned for killing his birds cleanly and in front. On archangels Maund employs Browning and Miroku 12s fed with High Bird RC4 Oro 35g No 4s, a combination that resulted in him shooting, “over 80 super-high birds on one drive in Gnaton, Devon, without missing’’. Looks like John Bull and comes armed with a sense of humour that can offend lawyers.
There are men who shoot and then there are shooting men. Mustill is definitely one of the latter, says our informant, “being a first-class pheasant-shot, a top bloke and one of only a handful of real sportsmen I see nowadays”.
“If there were an Olympics for game-shooting he would be in the GB team,” says one fan. “Accurate, lightning-quick and deadly, the pheasants don’t even know they are dead. An all-time great shot and modest with it.”
The Roxtons consultant has been on Exmoor as long as the Doones and manages Milton’s and Wellshead. As such, he sees a lot of rather tall pheasants and has worked out how to drop them on the “rare” occasions he carries a gun. One of the old-school sportsmen who makes that part of the world so special.
Now gunroom manager for William Evans, Rood “is a real high-bird supremo,” says one witness, “killing the highest and fastest pheasants in the beak with his Miroku”. His employers must be pleased as, “there isn’t a day’s shooting that he has turned down since I’ve known him,” a friend comments.
The pheasant professors are exceptional sportsmen and we look forward to seeing them in the line this season.