We arrived to the yard at just before 9 on a very still and bright morning with not a breathe of wind . It was my first day shooting of the season my day on one of the shoots I keeper on . As normal having 3 Jack Russell I walk all day along with my dad and his lab and Spaniel .
We arrive at what was to be the first drive of the day but instead decided to blank it in to another drive hoping to fill that as we were shooting that next . As we blanked through the maize and surrounding potato beds which were extremly heavy going we flushed a good number of partridge and pheasants into to the next drive and a few pheasants went back over a couple of guns (we could shoot anything going back ) unfortunately they were too low . To get to the back of the second drive me and the beaters had to walk across the potato beds which was no easy task in itself! I could do with longer legs ! But eventually we made it to the back of the second drive , we got lined out and started by pushing two reservoirs up , one side covered in brambles and the other side a few trees. We pushed this up to a small spinney with maize on the right hand side . I took my spot in the middle and start to push the drive on . Fairly quickly a splattering of shots was head as early partridges broke out to the front guns . For the rest of the drive there was a slow trickle of shots as the odd pheasant and partridge went forward . One partridge came back which my dad hit but he could only get a single shot off and unfortunately this bird was lost . I fired my first shot of the day here taking a squirrel. There was a heavy frost on the ground the dogs were having difficulty scenting
As a couple partridges were lost on the potatoes bed even though they fell dead !. We searched and searched to no avail! With all the birds we could find picked .
We headed off to the next drive which was a long rough left field one side with a block of maize the other . Unfortunately this drive was very quiet with only one bird seen that fell to a single shot from one of the front guns .
This was only a long morning kind of thing with 5 drives so we cracked on .
Next up was one of our bigger drives . A nice long wood which provided sport straight away as soon as we entered the wood birds started to flush and there was a splattering of shots . A third of the way through the drive a hen caught me by surprise and a hurried first missed shot was followed by a second shot that hit but the bird hit the ground and ran straight away but was quickly gathered by one of the beaters spaniels who chased it a good 100 yards before gathering the bird . The rest of the drive was quiet for me but there was a good amount of birds taken here. Once these were all gathered it was off to the next one !
This next drive consisted of blanking it a reservoir that was surrounded by thick cover both sides mostly blackthorn and brambles which I always a delight getting through! But normally hold a few birds and today was no different with 2 pheasant and 3 partridges being flushed forward to the drive itself. Which was a small pond surround by tall conifers and thick brambles. We have a few duck in there and you get a few pheasants in there . The ducks went up first a few released and wild ones mixed in who were up before we even entered. A good few birds where taking here and I saw my friend who was my guest for the day take his first ever mallard as a part of a left and right ! He was happy to say the least . I just waited back behind the pond to see if any pheasants came back and a few did but all too low . I gave one half hearted barrel and a hen that came back but that was all for me there .
We were off to the final drive of the day . This required a bit more blanking in and we have to push a bit of maize into the back of the wood and with the front guns lined out and ready to go we started . One cock pheasant was seen in the maize but he glided into the wood . So with everyone lined up we began to sweep the block wood through. What surprised me here was the amount of partridges here ! Which gave the standing guns something to think about early on !
This wood we beat halfway through then swing the right down into the bottom corner . So I stayed back in the left hand corner as I know a few birds like to cut back this way when the right is being swept in and right on cue I saw a cock pheasant coming my way . A poor first shot was quickly followed by a better second shot that folded the bird dead . By this point the beaters were nearing the end of the wood. the right hand flanked had pushed right down . When I saw this amazing hen considering the complete lack of wind and how many birds had stayed low today. She really climbed turning to me right I took her at about 40 yards as a crosser and as the old brevete shotgun barked and the old faithful eley grand prix 30g 6 hit their mark . Her head flew back and feet came froward like she had hit a invisible wall and tumbled to the ground . That was my last shot of the day but what a shot to end with .
The front guns here had done well too and we ended up with a bag of 37 head not bad for a 4 hour mini driven day