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Happy new year everyone!

We had our last formal day of 2019 on the 28th and despite a reduction in the amount of birds being seen prior to the shoot we hoped for another good day.

One thing we had noted was a considerable amount of teal spending the day in the Bohill pond so after a quick check at first light we decided to try and drive them off the pond. Its a risk trying this as light is so limited at this time of year and they may well have lifted long before our guns had lined the small field running along side it or even in the process of getting lined out!

With this in mind I was a little nervous as myself and Craig approached the pond. As I attempted to cross the ditch running behind it I slid into the muddy abyss  and my boots and half of my socks were soaked! Perhaps it was my choice of expletive or Poppy my dog but around 35-40 Teal took their leave and gave the guns some challenging shots with 2 dropping. 

After this it would be my team to beat the nearby Bohill Thinstrip. This drive can be fabulous or frustrating and luckily as we blanked the ditches in at its base it looked promising as several birds flew into the wood. The next challenge would be to get the birds into the flushing point mid way up the strip  on the hill. As we made our way up from the bottom the beaters stationed at the top reported that birds were moving forward. As we both approached the flushing point birds started streaming high and very fast in the strong wind over the guns resulting in 58 shots for 3 Pheasants ….

Next up was the Roughround for my team and I would be a walking gun. This was a good drive with the birds really getting some speed up in the wind and I was delighted to drop 5 nice birds heading back however a few lived to fly another day! I wasn't the only one to be in the shooting with everyone getting their share and Mark even managed to bag one of our white pheasants resulting in a fifty pound fine! This has been a brilliant drive and credit must be given to Alistair and Alex who hand feed it with a 43% return already on birds released!

Time for another steady performer- Baldaroch and despite starting to be slightly quiet a reasonable amount of birds were flushed and again proved challenging for the guns with several added to the cart with the only surprise being the absence of any Woodcock.

Like the previous drive Kilduthie was quieter than we had been used to but I guess the fact we have high expectations shows how well it has performed and the 10-15 birds flushed seen certainly had learnt how to fly strongly in the previous months unfortunately however not in my direction!

Matt Steeles was as reliable  as ever with a good show of birds keeping everyone on their toes! This drive probably doesn't get the recognition it deserves but its very rare not to get double figures on each visit. Perhaps an increase in birds released here next season can be looked at as it consistently provides a 30-40% return and seems to offer a good spread over the entire line.

Last drive of the day was the Containerwood and with only having 6 Beaters it was a real struggle doing it justice however we gave it a good go and provided the other team a strong finish to their day. Despite the draw back of Blue back pheasants they really do get up well and made sure the guns had to work hard to bag one. With time running out this season it looks like it will be second best to the Roughground drive but both have really become signature drives and certainly one to slip a few extra cartridges in the pocket for!

With the birds picked it was time to count the bag and have a coffee!

Total bag

43 Pheasants

2 Teal

1 Pigeon

1 Jay

238 Shots 

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Hello!

We had a driven shoot last Saturday and given we are getting towards the end of the season the numbers selected on the sweeper sheet weren't as high as they had been a couple of months ago!

Despite this I was hopeful that the A team would have something to shoot at during the first drive The Roughground. We have tried it up the hill and down and today it was to be the latter with three back guns behind the beaters incase the birds broke back home towards their pen. It was a quiet start and the outer areas that usually hold some birds when blanking in were completely empty so the nerves started to build with the fear that if our best drive was a blank the rest of the day wasn't looking good! Happily as we approached the pen some birds started to flush and shots began to echo around us. This only intensified as birds that had held tight in the gorse and bracken at the end of the drive were flushed. 20 Pheasants a pigeon and a magpie had been shot so a great start to the day!

I will combine the next two drives into one the first being Bohill Thin strip and the second being the farm. The strip was much quieter than normal however I had a couple of hens one being an absolute screamer that had tried to use the strong wind to its advantage unsuccessfully! While the strip was quiet it was obvious when blanking in the farm it had plenty birds with many flushing early. Frustratingly many evaded the line but despite this it had been another decent drive. A pricked hen had landed in the pen wood behind the guns and despite searching hard we couldn't find it. Having given up we headed back to the cars only for my springer Isla to turn up with it! A great blind retrieve and the highlight of my day!

The Containerwood was next and as always it provided some good sport but like all the drives its starting to slow down however with 13 pheasants shot it was looking like another good end of season bag was to be had!

Matt Steeles and The Willows were the last two drives however only a couple of birds were flushed at Matt Steeles including a white pheasant so our hopes of getting over 40 for the day were reliant on the Willows performing. it wasn't at its best however there were a few birds present and it rounded the day off nicely! 

With the horn blown for the last time it was time to count the bag.

Total

44 Pheasants

2 Pigeon

1 Magpie

155 shots 

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Hello everyone!

Due to having a fair few birds left we decided to have an extra shoot day on Saturday open to all the members who could also take a guest along.

With a great turnout we would have two teams of 10 with the first drive being the Roughground. As always there was a good show of pheasants and plenty of shots with some good birds being shot and quite a few missed! It was a lovely crisp sunny morning and a great one to be out in!

After this we did Bohill which we had never driven and then the implements which hadn’t been done very often. Both were steady and with a bit of work over the spring and summer could be main drives next season. 
We then headed for Baldaroch which was better than expected possibly due to the good numbers of woodcock flushed (only ones seen during the day) 

Kilduthie, willows and then Matt steeles were to follow and while all were quieter than we are used to they had between 12-20 birds in each so there was always something to shoot at! 
The final drive of the day would be the containerwood and it was just as productive as usual with a really good number of birds flushed and a good number added to the bag!

After a count of the bag and a cup of coffee it was time to head home!

total bag

54 pheasants

2 woodcock

1 pigeon

264 shots 

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11 hours ago, matone said:

You`ve had a great season by the write ups ! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the reply!

Its been a great season considering the lack of cold weather and taking on some new ground.

We are hoping to manage a 33% return (760 pheasants) by the end of the season so fingers crossed the next two shoots can get us there! 

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Hello everyone!

We had our last official day of the season last Saturday and hoped were high that we could have another good day.

It was very mild and sunny which wasn’t ideal however a strong wind would atleast give the birds the chance to really get some speed up!

The opening drive would be the Opposite pen which we hadn’t shot all season. I hoped that birds may have started using the wood after being shot at regularly at the Ruinwood and Containerwood however it was pretty quiet with only a partridge and a pheasant to be hung in the cart.

Next up was Bohill Thinstrip which would hopefully be more productive especially as i had spotted a few birds at the bottom of the drive at first light.

With the wind being favourable the birds really tested the guns gaining height quickly before gliding over the awaiting line. It was a good show for the last day and a decent number were added to the bag.

Next up was the Bohill farm drive for my team and after seeing the height and speed of the birds in the previous drive we were hopeful that we could have something similar here.

Despite there not being a huge amount of birds present the ones that went over the guns were all great strong birds so another success!

Drumshalloch had been a little disappointing all season but we decided to give it one last try. Unfortunately only 3 cock birds were flushed and none were hit so a disappointing blank!

Next up was the ever impressive Roughground and having not fired my gun all day I was quietly confident that would change during our last drive.

A good mix of partridge and pheasants kept the majority of the line busy and a good number were shot. I had several shots but for whatever reason I wasn’t shooting as well as normal and only accounted for a brace.

Last drive of the day was the Containerwood and like the previous drive there was plenty of birds flushed but many swung out the sides to safety. What was flushed went well with the wind behind them so when the horn was sounded it was time for a pick up followed by a cup of coffee!

Total bag

28 pheasants 

5 partridge 

1 pigeon 

136 shots 

 

 

 

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Hello everyone!

Well that's another season finished and I have to say I'm looking forward to a break!

With the 1st of February landing on a Saturday we decided to have an extra day open to all the members which meant 11 guns per team and a bit of a challenge to organise!

We planned to do 8 drives and the day kicked off at the Containerwood for my team. I had decided to drive it the opposite way to normal however the fact the wind was blowing strongly away from the line made me concerned that the birds would curl back rather than taking on the guns. The first bird flushed decided to fly into the wind and went through the middle of the line unscathed.  As  more birds started to show and fly towards the guns they found their range and started to fill the gamecart. I seemed to be in conservation mode and missed a couple of easy pheasants but with 11 birds picked it had been a great start.

Next we headed to the Blackout drive which had provided some excellent high birds all season and despite there being fewer present the ones that did flush were all top notch and some good shooting meant some of the guns had wished they had picked higher numbers in the sweep! Once all the birds had been picked my team stood at the nearby Bohill farm drive and hoped we might get some screamers flying over us! In hindsight we should have maybe shot the Bohill wood itself rather than blanking it in to the Farm drive  as there was a good number of birds there but not everything can go to plan!

The Roughground has been the signature drive this year and after shooting 199 Pheasants out of the 380 released we hoped that we could get at least 1 to get over the 200 mark! This was achieved very quickly and judging by the large number of shots fired it was looking like another good show considering the time of year. Its always nice when you finish beating a drive and see the guns marching back to their cars carrying a few birds and this was certainly the case here!

Baldaroch had been a great little drive all season and today it provided a short but fruitful one with the few birds shot starting to make the gamecart look surprisingly full. Kilduthie and the Willows were to follow and after being a little quiet recently today was a return to form with some really good birds being presented and the guns again showing they could bring them down!

With that it was the last drive of the season and after being quiet for the last month I was hoping Matt steeles could provide one last flurry of birds to end with! Usually the birds don't appear until the last quarter of the drive but on this occasion they flushed from the mid way point right up until the end which was a welcome surprise for many of the guns! 

And after sounding the horn for the last time it was time to count the bag back at the bothy.

Total bag

58 Pheasants

2 Jays

1 Pigeon

238 Shots

Overall this season we have shot 780 Pheasants which is a 34% return however the Partridge were disappointing with only 20 shot out of 250. It has been a great season which is testament to all the hard work put in by everyone! After being cautious with finances due to all the new ground we gained we can now hopefully add some gamecrop for next season and we have already been looking at ways to improve as I still feel there is more to come!

total season bag

780 Pheasants

20 Partridge

28 Mallard

2 Teal

4 Woodcock

2 Snipe

10 Pigeons

9 Jays

1 Magpie

1 Rabbit

2948 Shots (exc evening ducks)

Lastly thanks to everyone who has read my posts over the season and the nice replies!

cheers

Nick 

Edited by Nmb
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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone!

How the world has changed since my last post! 
We have had our agm and had agreed everything for what looked a really exciting season ahead however like everyone else were not too sure how it will all work out.

We have ordered 2800 pheasants and have arranged for gamecrop to be planted so fingers crossed things will have eased up by October so we can get out and enjoy some shooting!

Our supplier has said he is confident we will get our birds and we can hold the birds  in our current pens without too much work needed so it’s just a case in hoping this awful virus can be beaten! 
Uncertain times ahead but I’ll keep this upto date with any changes we have to make! 
stay safe!

nick 

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Just another quick update.

We had a meeting over Facebook video (new to all of us) and have decided to carry on as normal.

We felt we either had to give the season a miss or go for it and with a considerable outlay for our lease we felt it better to have belief that the country can beat this awful virus and we can get out and enjoy the countryside.

Its a gamble undoubtedly with an outlay of over £30000 before we fire a shot but here’s hoping it goes to plan! 

We hope to build one new pen which will mean that all non netted pens can be decommissioned and we can accommodate the 2800 birds ordered.

Hopefully I can update with some positive news soon!

cheers 

nick 

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On 28/03/2020 at 19:58, Nmb said:

Hello everyone!

How the world has changed since my last post! 
We have had our agm and had agreed everything for what looked a really exciting season ahead however like everyone else were not too sure how it will all work out.

We have ordered 2800 pheasants and have arranged for gamecrop to be planted so fingers crossed things will have eased up by October so we can get out and enjoy some shooting!

Our supplier has said he is confident we will get our birds and we can hold the birds  in our current pens without too much work needed so it’s just a case in hoping this awful virus can be beaten! 
Uncertain times ahead but I’ll keep this upto date with any changes we have to make! 
stay safe!

nick 

 

Do you net the birds in the pen when first put in? 

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Well done, have confidence. Spoke with another self help shoot this week and they are taking extra planning to make sure a supply of feed and water is available for their birds and hoping things ease enough for them to have some shooting come October or further into the season.  If it runs into November then they plan shooting once a week for the remaining season instead of every two weeks.   Hope it all works out for you as I enjoy your reports.:good:

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9 hours ago, Lloyd90 said:

 

Do you net the birds in the pen when first put in? 

Yeah all out pens will be netted as we really get battered by owls, sparrow hawk, goshawk and buzzards.

Once they have settled for a few weeks they are that little bit bigger to be less appealing. 

3 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

Well done, have confidence. Spoke with another self help shoot this week and they are taking extra planning to make sure a supply of feed and water is available for their birds and hoping things ease enough for them to have some shooting come October or further into the season.  If it runs into November then they plan shooting once a week for the remaining season instead of every two weeks.   Hope it all works out for you as I enjoy your reports.:good:

Fingers crossed! 

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  • 4 months later...

Hello everyone!

A long overdue update! 

We are fast approaching the first shoot of the season and all the shooting gear has been tried on to see whether they have shrunk in the wardrobe since February the 1st!

The birds have done well and we haven't suffered too many loses which has been a bonus however with an abundance of pine Martins and goshawks danger is never far away!

My dad and I were out last night and seen quite a few lamp shy foxes so looks like a thermal and nightvision scope job i think. We did manage to get a dog fox though so it was still a worthwhile night.

Ill try and get some photos posted up before the season starts of all the hard work that has been done so far.

Cheers

Nick

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a couple of good nights lamping foxes getting one on the first night and two on the second. With another member also getting one thats four in just over a week! Still plenty more to get unfortunately.

Edited by Nmb
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone!

Well we are now under a week away from our first shoot day albeit a boundary drive day but with the way things have been i for one will look forward to getting my tweeds on and swapping the semi auto for the game gun!

Its been a huge amount of work to get everything in place to make the shoot safe and in line with guidance but I'm confident that we will manage to do things correctly and just as importantly have an enjoyable day in the process. 

Another issue is whether to crack on and shoot the big drives while we can or stick to the usual plan of just having a walk along the boundary ditches. Its been hard to know what would be best but we have went somewhere in the middle and will be doing smaller drives which will hopefully push the birds back into the main areas but still give everyone a shot.... hopefully! 

We did have a nights duck flight but it wasn't a great success for the majority with few birds coming in. Funnily enough i decided to sit on my own at the bothy pond which hasn't been upto much over the last few seasons and had a nice mix of teal and mallard come in which resulted in me bagging my first teal of the season. 

Hopefully I will have something worth writing about after Saturday but either way I'll post something up!

Cheers

Nick

 

Edited by Nmb
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello everyone,

Long overdue but eventually had a chance to write about our first two days of the season.

With all the unknowns due to Covid we decided to have a small driven day on the 3rd to see how things were looking for the season ahead and also incase further restrictions were brought in and we couldn't shoot again!

Risk assessments, procedures and multiple video meetings can all be easily arranged however the weather cant and as I got my car loaded on shoot day morning the signs were that a waterproof jacket would be needed for the duration!

Despite this everyone turned up and although strange due to having the two teams meeting in separate areas and in small bubbles it was still nice to be out.

My team would be shooting the Opposite pen first and despite being  famous in our syndicate for never wearing a jacket no matter how cold it is I had to admit defeat on this occasion and get the tweed coat on due to the torrential rain! Sadly the birds were elsewhere and I had the only shots of the drive neither of which connected so hardly the best start to raise spirits on such a miserable day!

Next up was Jaffreys and I was happy to beat just to get away from standing in the heavy rain that rarely relented! This drive is heavily reliant on the strip of kale which runs alongside a thin strip of broom flanked by two dykes because of this its nice and sheltered and popular with the Pheasants. Unfortunately beating kale isn't ideal in such weather but despite this a reasonable amount of birds went over the guns and first Pheasant of the season went to Hamish.

We went on to do the Lwood and Blackout drives both of which had birds however despite being flushed for the first time they seemed to have discovered the knack of picking the spots where the guns were absent and made their way to safety!

Next up was the Whitehouse drive which I was hoping would be good however given the struggles faced so far nothing could be taken for granted. it was obvious fairly quickly this was going to be a busy drive,  so much so that most of the guns either ran out of cartridge or elected to stop after bagging a few. I had managed to shoot four which was plenty for me and meant I could enjoy the sight of wave upon wave of birds being flushed.

After this we decided we had been soaked enough and after a count of the bag made our way home to dry out!

Total bag

24 Pheasants

108 Shots

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Our second shoot of the season was on the 10th of October and having endured such a horrid day of weather the previous week  it surely couldn't be any worse this time!

After all the covid forms and briefs had been signed and discussed  we headed to the Ruinwood for the first proper drive of the season. In the first 5 years of our time on this ground this was the signature drive on the shoot however over the last 5 it had slowly declined to the point it had almost become a boundary day wood. We felt like the drive was still good but the pen in the nearby wood which supplied it was far too dark and prone to predation. With this in mind we built a new netted pen at the base of the drive so it would be interesting to see whether the changes would have worked!

I would be beating and the idea would be for half the beaters to take the top third of the drive down to a newly built riser fence and for the other half to then push the birds up hill onto the fence before flushing the birds which would hopefully make their way down the hill towards the pen and the waiting guns. It was a great drive with a steady stream of high birds testing the entire line and giving us 20 pheasants for the gamecart.

Next up was Baldaroch and despite usually being a productive drive It wasn't today and was very disappointing  with only a handful of birds seen and most of them cruising low over the line. After the highs of the first drive it was a shame for this one not to go to plan but that's shooting.

Matt Steels is a banker drive normally but like the previous one this was very poor and only one Pheasant was flushed which is  very unusual. A fox seen in the drive may have contributed to this however it was also noted by the guns that a huge amount of birds were in the long grass and broom around the pegs where the sun was hitting so atleast birds are in the area.

The Containerwood was next and if this one was a blank id be very worried as this is one of the best drives on the shoot!Happily it went reasonably well and a good show of Pheasants tested the guns and I even managed to bag 6 myself which was nice as it  meant my springer and sprocker had plenty retrieves to keep them busy.

The Roughground is another good drive and it didn't let us down today with plenty of birds being flushed even if some will need a few more flushes to really get them flying strong. With a lack of dogs it was hard doing the drive justice but early signs are that it will be another top performer.

Last up was Bohill Farm and as the wood is on top of a reasonable hill it would hopefully give the guns some shooting at high pheasants as they cruised back to their pen at the base of the hill. unfortunately the inconsistent nature of the day continued and only a single bird was flushed.

It had been an odd day withnot as many birds seen as normal however with all the problems in the world at the moment it was nice being out with family, friends, dogs and gun!

Total bag

61 Pheasants

2 Pigeons

2 Jays

209 shots

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