These young bucks are a cut above when it comes to sporting birds.
The Top Shots 2015 list is not the preserve of the ancient few. These young bucks prove that being just good on game is not adequate, when you are gunning for great.
TOP SHOTS 2015: YOUNG BUCKS
Earl of Arundel
You need decent reactions to be a racing driver and Henry Fitzalan-Howard made a good fist of it, finishing 15th in the Formula 3 Championship in 2008. Like many others his age, he’s now putting in long hours in the City but when he’s in the shooting field his reflexes are put to excellent use. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he excels on the wild grey partridges at the family shoot at Peppering, taking them well out in front.
The ultimate armed forager, Gilchrist supplies his Game For Everything catering company with the spoils from his own gun, be that pigeon, rabbit or pheasant. Success in the catering world requires cost control and Gilchrist is very frugal indeed with his cartridge-to-meal ratio.
Bertie H-A, once best known for his plus-nines, is, we’re rather shocked to discover, named “one of the best landed estates lawyers in the Spear’s 500 list” (whatever that may be). But in the far more exclusive Field’s Top Shots list, H-A still makes the cut, perhaps because one of his specialities is advising clients on the purchase of grouse moors.
The son of Sir Anthony is “as keen as they come. Shuns his immaculate Holland 16-bores in favour of a pair of ‘lager and chunders’, which he wields with ease.” His annual species contest is hot and he is always in the running. “Like his father, he’s fond of the rough stuff.”
If you’re a Percy it’s almost de rigueur to shoot well and George Percy is no exception. “Wonderfully modest, George shoots everything from grouse to high pheasant with ease,” says our source. “Can already beat his father, Ralph Northumberland, at some of the indoor shooting video games and will soon be challenging on the shooting field itself.”
“Cuts a distinctive silhouette with a hooked beak like a goshawk and just as deadly,” says our source. “Nothing that looks vaguely within range gets away without a barrel and it is surprising what he can achieve with what looks like a couple of old fence posts.”
Shoots 70-plus days a season with three dogs to heel (all steady) and is punctilious about finding wounded birds. Using a Lancaster side-by-side, “he’s a remarkable shot on game. Whether it’s grouse, partridge, pheasant or vermin, everything is in trouble when it’s in range of Matt, “ says our source. “He seems to live the winter in breeks – we can’t understand how he is still married.”
William Van Cutsem
“The best of the four brothers, which is quite an accolade as they all shoot very straight, William is as stylish and as accurate as his father Hugh Van Cutsem,” reveals our man. “When shooting five guns at Hilborough, William left the front line to shoot as back gun and killed every bird that was missed.”
Our young gold-medal hero of the 2012 Olympics has announced his retirement from competitive shooting to concentrate on coaching and running the family farm. Happily, being in arable will allow him the whole season off to display his undoubted panache on those high Dorset birds.
Wyvill is “mustard keen” and “revels in every aspect of the day, so much sought-after for his reliability, both with gun and in the lunch hut”. Dropped a “stinky-high” pair of Canadas on the Ure last season.