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1 hour ago, enfieldspares said:

Well I've shot on estates where pheasants and pigeon shooters co-existed for the past thirty years and from my observations shooting pigeons doesn't disturb birds released to a wood if the pigeon shooter is set up one hundred yards or so from that wood. Now if partridge are in the mix then yes I'd agree that there shouldn't be shooting over those stubbles, or roots (turnips and etc.) or other where those partridge frequent. But in truth most estates now simply release pheasants and pheasants only. The days of old school partridge manors are mostly past.

Thanks for that. I wasn't aware that pheasants were more robust than partridges or that partridges were more likely to be present in stubble than pheasants. That explains a heck of a lot as a shed load of partridges have been released on the manor that I used to shoot pigeons. 

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Yes. If they've invested heavily in partridge then absolutely they don't want anyone tramping about over the stubbles or root crops such as turnips. It's not that pheasant are more robust but that in its nature a pheasant is a bird of woodland and the partridge is a bird of heathland.

So if you keep that in mind it's why your beaters beat the woodlands (and game crops) through only really when pheasant is the target for the guns and  beat the stubbles and the roots (and game crops) through when partridge are the target for the guns. You won't find partridge inside woodlands.

The pheasant he lives on the ground but roosts in the tree. The partridge he lives and roosts on the ground only and never in a tree. So your pigeon decoying over the stubbles and roots is to a partridge like someone having an uninvited noisy party with all comers and all goers in your private house.

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I doubt the poacher would take 10 pheasants that's just greedy. The nice day out is paramount to a gameshoot, with the briefings, elevenses, dinner, meeting the Lord of the manor and talking to the other guns. The fewer the pheasants the better in some eyes as it doesn't humiliate the embarrassingly poor shooting of some as they have an excuse. If the guns do want a few extra pheasants to show their friends back home, the gamekeeper can provide these for nothing as they normally have a huge surplus and these pheasants will cost them nothing compared to paying £40 each.

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21 minutes ago, enfieldspares said:

Yes. If they've invested heavily in partridge then absolutely they don't want anyone tramping about over the stubbles or root crops such as turnips. It's not that pheasant are more robust but that in its nature a pheasant is a bird of woodland and the partridge is a bird of heathland.

So if you keep that in mind it's why your beaters beat the woodlands (and game crops) through only really when pheasant is the target for the guns and  beat the stubbles and the roots (and game crops) through when partridge are the target for the guns. You won't find partridge inside woodlands.

The pheasant he lives on the ground but roosts in the tree. The partridge he lives and roosts on the ground only and never in a tree. So your pigeon decoying over the stubbles and roots is to a partridge like someone having an uninvited noisy party with all comers and all goers in your private house.

Great post and very informative from my point of view

1 hour ago, Old farrier said:

So you would be happy having paid your £400 for 10 pheasants that you never had a opportunity to shoot at to pay the agent the money at the end of the day 

when he says poachers had 80 birds last week that’s 10 each but your out and had a good ride around the countryside 

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I doubt the poacher would take 10 pheasants that's just greedy. The nice day out is paramount to a gameshoot, with the briefings, elevenses, dinner, meeting the Lord of the manor and talking to the other guns. The fewer the pheasants the better in some eyes as it doesn't humiliate the embarrassingly poor shooting of some as they have an excuse. If the guns do want a few extra pheasants to show their friends back home, the gamekeeper can provide these for nothing as they normally have a huge surplus and these pheasants will cost them nothing compared to paying £40 each.

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3 hours ago, Old farrier said:

I don’t think you’ve done much pheasant shooting  if any 

Inthe 21st century it’s a commercial entity 

also poaching nowadays is a gamble on how many head you can get off a estate big money is bet on these things 

 

Well, you are correct in that I have never been on a pheasant shoot for many reasons. I've got all the kit, Longthorne etc. but at the end of the day it didn't really grab me. Once I stood in as a beater and it must have been one of the worst days of my life. Constantly stuck in brambles and undergrowth whilst making mindless noises and waving flags. God knows how people queue up to be beaters. What also struck me was that the beaters were transported in some sort of tumbleweed wagon whilst the guns were in an ex army truck. At the end of the drive I'd wander over to the guns and have a chat. This seemed frowned upon by the beaters. Odd really as I would have thought that the beaters and guns would be working in sync. From that day on I vowed never to beat again and if I was ever on a drive it would be as a gun. Having said that I think that pigeons are a more interesting quarry for many reasons.

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17 minutes ago, Balotelli said:

Well, you are correct in that I have never been on a pheasant shoot for many reasons. I've got all the kit, Longthorne etc. but at the end of the day it didn't really grab me. Once I stood in as a beater and it must have been one of the worst days of my life. Constantly stuck in brambles and undergrowth whilst making mindless noises and waving flags. God knows how people queue up to be beaters. What also struck me was that the beaters were transported in some sort of tumbleweed wagon whilst the guns were in an ex army truck. At the end of the drive I'd wander over to the guns and have a chat. This seemed frowned upon by the beaters. Odd really as I would have thought that the beaters and guns would be working in sync. From that day on I vowed never to beat again and if I was ever on a drive it would be as a gun. Having said that I think that pigeons are a more interesting quarry for many reasons.

Ahh 

you had a bad day beating making the rookie mistakes the other beaters suckered you 🙄

the three teams beaters picker ups and guns are synced all in different places at the same time you’re talking to another team puts you in the wrong place and delays the day 

the transport varies from estate to estate with very varied vehicles and a driver that will know where to put your team it’s part of the day 

on one estate the game cart is traditionally pulled by a horse 

On another the game is carried in the gun bus  The keeper asks after each drive if you have enough or if you’re wanting to go to the next drive 😊

I had a longthorn very pretty gun but found it not the most suitable for high pheasants but effective for partridge and early season lowerground  pheasant shooting 

maybe you should try another day on a different estate it could possibly change your view 

not sure where you’re located ? 
all the best 

of 

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They aren't mindless noises. They are noises meant to make "a lot of noise quietly" to push the birds to flushing forward whilst the flags are to discourage them from flushing out of the sides or flushing back. So if you were flushing a twenty yard wide cover crop you have say ten beaters of eight would be in the crop walking forwards with one with a flag on either side maybe five yards out from it.

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Some great posts on this topic and I have learnt a lot. There does seem a consensus of opinion and I think that I'm just unlucky with the "no shoot" dictat on the estate I "shoot". Disappointingly, I'm starting to see a game shoot for what it is. Foolishly, I invested quite heavily in paraphernalia for game shooting. It then dawned on me that it's not that different to seeing sad old **** fishing in a small pea soup of a pond stocked full of silver fish. Each to their own, I guess. But it seems to me that the main difference is the size of your wallet which path some tread, stocked ponds or stocked pheasants.. That's why I like pigeon shooting and can understand the buzz of fishing a river where you are shooting / angling for an untamed quarry.

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34 minutes ago, Balotelli said:

Some great posts on this topic and I have learnt a lot. There does seem a consensus of opinion and I think that I'm just unlucky with the "no shoot" dictat on the estate I "shoot". Disappointingly, I'm starting to see a game shoot for what it is. Foolishly, I invested quite heavily in paraphernalia for game shooting. It then dawned on me that it's not that different to seeing sad old **** fishing in a small pea soup of a pond stocked full of silver fish. Each to their own, I guess. But it seems to me that the main difference is the size of your wallet which path some tread, stocked ponds or stocked pheasants.. That's why I like pigeon shooting and can understand the buzz of fishing a river where you are shooting / angling for an untamed quarry.

Thinking you should try a few different shoots 

a bit like the anglers on the ponds and rivers 

there all different you may find one that suits you and enjoy it 

 

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I think that some modern shoots lack the "craic" that they once had. My first formal syndicate was where some would wear the whole tweed ensemble and others depending on of they'd been on the milking rota that day (and that included the owner of the one thousand acres we shot over who owned a pair of his father's Powell 12/20 guns) would be in blue all-in-one boiler suit and blacke wellies. Indeed until they wore out I was also a black wellie wearer even with the full tweed ensemble. One shot a Purdey, I shot a Powell sidelock, others shot hammer guns some Atkins and whatever others boxlocks but back then no over/under guns as that's just how it was.

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On 27/08/2020 at 07:42, matone said:

 To a gamekeeper its just removing a possibility of having birds disturbed by any source ,not just the gunshots. Risk aversion if you like!

Exactly and almost the same as the question on here about driving across land and along margins.  Just common sense but very rare these days. 

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17 hours ago, Balotelli said:

Some great posts on this topic and I have learnt a lot. There does seem a consensus of opinion and I think that I'm just unlucky with the "no shoot" dictat on the estate I "shoot". Disappointingly, I'm starting to see a game shoot for what it is. Foolishly, I invested quite heavily in paraphernalia for game shooting. It then dawned on me that it's not that different to seeing sad old **** fishing in a small pea soup of a pond stocked full of silver fish. Each to their own, I guess. But it seems to me that the main difference is the size of your wallet which path some tread, stocked ponds or stocked pheasants.. That's why I like pigeon shooting and can understand the buzz of fishing a river where you are shooting / angling for an untamed quarry.

Not all ‘game shoots‘ are the same; some are big corporate or commercial days with bags well into the hundreds, where not many of the guns know each other, others are a small group of friends who meander about the fields, gutters and hedgerows, resulting in a bag of maybe a dozen.
There are many variants in between. 

Im not sure any of them are ‘sad old ****’s. Like you said, each to their own. 

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On 30/08/2020 at 18:41, Balotelli said:

Well, you are correct in that I have never been on a pheasant shoot for many reasons. I've got all the kit, Longthorne etc. but at the end of the day it didn't really grab me. Once I stood in as a beater and it must have been one of the worst days of my life. Constantly stuck in brambles and undergrowth whilst making mindless noises and waving flags. God knows how people queue up to be beaters. What also struck me was that the beaters were transported in some sort of tumbleweed wagon whilst the guns were in an ex army truck. At the end of the drive I'd wander over to the guns and have a chat. This seemed frowned upon by the beaters. Odd really as I would have thought that the beaters and guns would be working in sync. From that day on I vowed never to beat again and if I was ever on a drive it would be as a gun. Having said that I think that pigeons are a more interesting quarry for many reasons.

For some game shooting has many aspects to it. I for one beat ,shoot  , work dogs have a bit banter and this is only one part of gaining experience of field sports . Some just focus on game shoots cos that's all the time they can spare for the sport  . Money does play a large part in what sort of shooting you can do but I know folk with money who like nowt better than a bit of ferriting or  roost shooting even a day on the pigeons. .In the end it depends on your attitude more than anything else.You get out what you put in .

Edited by scutt
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On 30/08/2020 at 18:58, JDog said:

In my view it isn't necessarily the sound of guns going off which may alarm the 'keeper but uncontrolled dogs hunting hedgerows.

I think the entire two pages of replies could be scrubbed off, leaving the above comment!

I see things from both sides, seems as I keeper a fair sized chunk of our DIY shoot.  I wouldn't want some **** coming up all the time driving around, stomping up and down, letting his dog hunt all over.  Notice I didn't mention shooting.

I'm firmly of the opinion that pheasants aren't disturbed by background noise or gunshots if they're given no reason to associate it with danger.  Two of my drives have bulk tippers clanking back and forth along an adjacent track 6 days a week with a bulldozer constantly clattering away, interspersed with horns being blasted and the drivers of said vehicles getting out and yelling.  Pheasants happily visit and feed in the plantation and game cover right under their feet.

I've sat decoying shooting over the heads of pheasants picking around in the ground amongst my decoys!  They don't even flinch.

But....

From mid-August, you feed up your drives outside the roosting woods and let your birds start to wander back and forth from the pens.  As time goes on, more and more will join the daily excursion until at this time, late September, you've pretty much got an empty pen and a full game cover.  Unless you're the keeper or you're driving his truck, it's really easy to alarm pheasants with your physical presence, pushing them off course if you happen to run into them walking or driving around the land.

A keeper doesn't want the natural flow of birds interrupted.  They need to be left in peace to pass back and forth from roosting wood to the outlying drives.  If they're put off too many times they may well just go a different way the next morning meaning the keeper will be left with an empty drive and/or birds that have wandered off his land.  Later in the afternoon you might just accidentally push birds the opposite way from the roost - and when there's a lot of them they can tend to play follow-my-leader, meaning one or two get up and fly the wrong way and then WHOOSH the whole lot follow them.  That's a recipe for fat foxes.

I can absolutely guarantee you that if I took you for a drive round my patch you'd just see woods, hedges and fields.  To me I see it as an entirely different picture - I'm looking through the eyes of a pheasant all the time and it's a completely different image.  Not many people understand it, I don't think!

The problem isn't the shooting itself, it's simply being there.

I feel you've failed to make an effort to understand game shooting.  As has been previously said there's two distinctly different worlds, ranging from the gob-smackingly priced commercial days on "posh" estates right down to rough-as-old-boots farm shoots where you need to speak fluent tractor to be welcome.  The middle ground is quite varied, but there's place for everyone.  The satisfaction to be gained from game shooting is seeing the whole operation work and produce results - there are so many people and so many variables, some you can control and some you can't.

Oh and if you don't enjoy being up to your nuts in brambles you've got the wrong clothes on ;)

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21 hours ago, Jim Neal said:

I think the entire two pages of replies could be scrubbed off, leaving the above comment!

I see things from both sides, seems as I keeper a fair sized chunk of our DIY shoot.  I wouldn't want some **** coming up all the time driving around, stomping up and down, letting his dog hunt all over.  Notice I didn't mention shooting.

I'm firmly of the opinion that pheasants aren't disturbed by background noise or gunshots if they're given no reason to associate it with danger.  Two of my drives have bulk tippers clanking back and forth along an adjacent track 6 days a week with a bulldozer constantly clattering away, interspersed with horns being blasted and the drivers of said vehicles getting out and yelling.  Pheasants happily visit and feed in the plantation and game cover right under their feet.

I've sat decoying shooting over the heads of pheasants picking around in the ground amongst my decoys!  They don't even flinch.

But....

From mid-August, you feed up your drives outside the roosting woods and let your birds start to wander back and forth from the pens.  As time goes on, more and more will join the daily excursion until at this time, late September, you've pretty much got an empty pen and a full game cover.  Unless you're the keeper or you're driving his truck, it's really easy to alarm pheasants with your physical presence, pushing them off course if you happen to run into them walking or driving around the land.

A keeper doesn't want the natural flow of birds interrupted.  They need to be left in peace to pass back and forth from roosting wood to the outlying drives.  If they're put off too many times they may well just go a different way the next morning meaning the keeper will be left with an empty drive and/or birds that have wandered off his land.  Later in the afternoon you might just accidentally push birds the opposite way from the roost - and when there's a lot of them they can tend to play follow-my-leader, meaning one or two get up and fly the wrong way and then WHOOSH the whole lot follow them.  That's a recipe for fat foxes.

I can absolutely guarantee you that if I took you for a drive round my patch you'd just see woods, hedges and fields.  To me I see it as an entirely different picture - I'm looking through the eyes of a pheasant all the time and it's a completely different image.  Not many people understand it, I don't think!

The problem isn't the shooting itself, it's simply being there.

I feel you've failed to make an effort to understand game shooting.  As has been previously said there's two distinctly different worlds, ranging from the gob-smackingly priced commercial days on "posh" estates right down to rough-as-old-boots farm shoots where you need to speak fluent tractor to be welcome.  The middle ground is quite varied, but there's place for everyone.  The satisfaction to be gained from game shooting is seeing the whole operation work and produce results - there are so many people and so many variables, some you can control and some you can't.

Oh and if you don't enjoy being up to your nuts in brambles you've got the wrong clothes on

Thanks for going to such length for a most interesting read. I've certainly picked up a lot from your discourse. As for the wrong clothes, maybe a brushcutter might have been the answer. Excellent article, very informative and well word-smithed.  Must have attended a better school than I did!

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22 hours ago, Balotelli said:

Thanks for going to such length for a most interesting read. I've certainly picked up a lot from your discourse. As for the wrong clothes, maybe a brushcutter might have been the answer. Excellent article, very informative and well word-smithed.  Must have attended a better school than I did!

Thank you.

I notice from one of your posts elsewhere we're practically next-door neighbours.  Hazel Leys used to be one of Corby's better quality schools if I understand correctly?!  I doubt if Latimer where I attended, not many miles away, was much different, although it sounds like you might have been through the system a few years before me because they'd dropped the "modern" bit by my time ;)

I'm sure you weren't off the Exeter estate, many echelons below, because if that was the case you probably couldn't read or write :D

A brushcutter might increase your comfort but decrease your ability to keep up with the rest of the line, and I don't think your fellow beaters or their dogs would feel comfortable with it!  The trick to beating through brambles is to firstly have a decent pair of leggings on, and to lift your knees up and swing your lower legs more horizontally rather than vertically so you don't get snagged up, thus avoiding going flat on your face and eating a prickle sandwich.  A relatively easy technique to master but you do feel it the next day.

Was this experience local? I'm wondering if you were in a similar place to some of our drives which can be challenging to say the least... The reason I ask is that around our way we've got lots of formerly quarried land due to the steel works.  Great swathes of it, after back-filling, were planted up afterwards with pine trees in the "Ridge-Furrow" fashion.  I don't know what the exact function of this style of planting is - possibly to prevent creating a bog out of the heavy clay sub-soil which is now on top of the land instead of underneath.  The upshot of this plantation style, upwards of 30-40 years later is that the furrows become 8ft deep bramble pits!  When the pines start to age and fall over in the wind it becomes a bit like a prickly bear pit.  I had to call to be rescued once after falling into one of the furrows when the fallen timber snapped under me.  The only way I was spotted was by the muzzle of my gun poking up above the brambles as I was yelling for help!!  Of course, my shooting companions rushed to the spot double-time... and proceeded to take photos of me down a big hole whilst wetting themselves with laughter 😕

 

 

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On 26/08/2020 at 23:56, Balotelli said:

On one large estate that I'm fortunate enough to shoot, as soon as the game season approaches (late July/August) pigeon shooting is knocked on the head over the whole estate. The result,  prime shooting time over stubble is banned. Is this the case on other estates/shoots? I appreciate that the landowner "calls the shots" but is it really necessary? Do game birds experience some sort of trauma at a loud noise? Surely they must get used to the discharge of guns on umpteen days of driven shoots? 

I have to sometimes cease shooting for a few weeks by request of the gamekeeper when he is settling birds in and not get them used to going to the boundaries where they can obviously start feeding on another shoot or maybe your estate is trying to entice birds from a neighbouring estate; remember big money involved and big tips to the keeper if he provides great days out ( obviously you could open your wallet and get as much access as you want but unsure if you want to go down that road )

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On 23/09/2020 at 22:54, Jim Neal said:

Thank you.

I notice from one of your posts elsewhere we're practically next-door neighbours.  Hazel Leys used to be one of Corby's better quality schools if I understand correctly?!  I doubt if Latimer where I attended, not many miles away, was much different, although it sounds like you might have been through the system a few years before me because they'd dropped the "modern" bit by my time ;)

I'm sure you weren't off the Exeter estate, many echelons below, because if that was the case you probably couldn't read or write :D

A brushcutter might increase your comfort but decrease your ability to keep up with the rest of the line, and I don't think your fellow beaters or their dogs would feel comfortable with it!  The trick to beating through brambles is to firstly have a decent pair of leggings on, and to lift your knees up and swing your lower legs more horizontally rather than vertically so you don't get snagged up, thus avoiding going flat on your face and eating a prickle sandwich.  A relatively easy technique to master but you do feel it the next day.

Was this experience local? I'm wondering if you were in a similar place to some of our drives which can be challenging to say the least... The reason I ask is that around our way we've got lots of formerly quarried land due to the steel works.  Great swathes of it, after back-filling, were planted up afterwards with pine trees in the "Ridge-Furrow" fashion.  I don't know what the exact function of this style of planting is - possibly to prevent creating a bog out of the heavy clay sub-soil which is now on top of the land instead of underneath.  The upshot of this plantation style, upwards of 30-40 years later is that the furrows become 8ft deep bramble pits!  When the pines start to age and fall over in the wind it becomes a bit like a prickly bear pit.  I had to call to be rescued once after falling into one of the furrows when the fallen timber snapped under me.  The only way I was spotted was by the muzzle of my gun poking up above the brambles as I was yelling for help!!  Of course, my shooting companions rushed to the spot double-time... and proceeded to take photos of me down a big hole whilst wetting themselves with laughter 😕

 

 

Hi Jim,

I was unfortunate to live in Corby for far too long! How dare you denigrate the Exeter Estate! I did live there and learned so much there, for example, returning empty bottes (the days when they were returnable) and using the money to buy fags from the off-licence at the age of 8 or 9. Proud to have attended Exeter Infants school, followed by Rowlett Junior School (Old Corby) which backs onto the Steel Works and literally couldn't see from one end of the playground to the other because of the reddish smog. Happy Days. Then spent some time at Apethorpe Approved School, beautiful surroundings. I also remember the opencast mining at Corby and Big Bertha. Followed by the landscaping and golf course. I know Kettering pretty well as my dad worked at the Henry Gotch school which I'm sure that you are familiar with and I certainly know of the Latimer.

I suspect that your gameshoot is somewhere between Stanion and Oakley judging by your description of your drives 

I'll p.m. you.

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