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A Little Walked Up Shooting


WalkedUp
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Today as I was not “shooting” I decided to take my eldest son to one of our permissions in Wales for a quick explore. He’s been out on pigeon before but never game, so was very excited. The cover was mixed woodland, heavy bramble and nettle, marshy ponds, then some turnip fields. 

My boy was delighted to see the new born calfs in the shed as we started off. A few mallard on the river lifted too far ahead, then a lone cock broke on the boundary but didn’t present a safe shot. To cross the marsh I had to jump over a small but deep stream, 1.5m wide and steep banks.  I left the empty gun and jumped back, then putting my son in my back, ran and jumped gap. Fully expecting to end up drenched miraculously we made it clean across but 8 teal lifted together due to the commotion. We decided to wait in the long reeds and brush to see if they would circle back around. After 5 minutes I was frustrated and locked onto a stratospheric woodpigeon. It was out of range and I had no right to connect to it (though legal justification under the GL), however it was one of those long crossers where the gun just sweeps itself and the shot was barely perceptible on the sweep. The pigeon was dead in the air and plummeted to the ground the other side of the marsh. A decent length retrieve, which the old boy made into a very long retrieve by going around the long thin pond. I was very happy to leave the day there, one shot one kill, but we carried on through the wood as my boy wanted a fox. I knew it was unlikely but we had the dogs in the copse and us on the outside. After 10 minutes a fox bolted out 100m ahead. My boy was desperate for me to shoot as it stopped and looked back at us, but I explained it was hopelessly out of range for a shotgun with 6s. 

After the fox we got to the turnip fields, fortunately these last two haven’t been grazed off yet. I had not realised how difficult my son would find the turnips, which were at full height with significant weed growing between. It was slow progress. Halfway across the bottom edge of the field the dogs picked up some scent and turned up hill. A hen bird lifted 30 yards ahead of them with no pressure on her, rather than climb up over the hill she turned back onto a path directly over us. I took it early to give myself time for a second barrel but it was such a simple shot the second was not needed and she folded in the air. The old dog delivered back to my son’s hand. It was a big old, bird and not this season’s. The rest of that field produced nothing else so we started on the second one. No sooner had we negotiated the gate and my son was mithering me with 1000 questions about turnips (“why is that one so big?, “why is that one so small?”, “will the farmer let us take one?”, “how do you cook them?”, “can he eat it now?” as he’s hungry etc...) when the dogs bumped a cock, probably the pair to the hen. This bird stayed low and took a line towards my son, then beyond him. I couldn’t engage it and so waited until it was well past us and arcing into distant cover before turning, closing the gun and taking a pointless shot at a long gone bird. Not setting a good example. 

The dogs put up a few birds but these were too close to the road to risk shooting at. As we left the field my younger bitch showed scent along a hedge line going away from us, I let her work it on the backside and she produced a hen ahead on our side, which presented a simple shot then her retrieve.

As we headed back to the car we spied a cockbird in the last field of pasture near to the barns. We skirted around to the trees and scrub near to where the bird was last seen. The dogs showed scent but did not initially find the bird, it eventually broke from a dense thicket of bramble. As it was against a bank (not against the sky) I let it gain some distance as I took the time to make myself sure of the situation and then took it first barrel as a going away bird. It dropped but ran on sprightly towards the big woodland. Despite its speed the young dog had the legs to catch it, encouraged on by supporting shouts from my boy. He was very pleased to have the cock in the bag but outrageously claimed I had missed, and the bird had just got scared and landed. Unable to argue my corner we we headed home and the birds are butchered ready for supper tomorrow, he’s more excited by the food than any of the shooting in all honesty.

 

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Edited by WalkedUp
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Brilliant , Great write up , excellent photos and one very happy young man ( and dad ) , Of all the forms of shooting with a shotgun I would chose a good walk around rough shooting , I love the work involved and the anticipation of every step taken , what better exercise for both yourself , your dog and any youngster who enjoy the countryside and what it have to offer .

 

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Thank you for all the lovely messages. I took the three boys to the syndicate today to feed the birds. All really enjoyed it and we shot a tree rat. Home to find wife is unwell so I had to cook supper, which I have never done before. Started off by asking her where the onions live as I couldn’t find them in the fridge. Cooked a Pheasant, Pigeon and chorizo pasta in a tomato and onion sauce. I had to then remove and dry the pigeon as my eldest wanted to eat it alone without sauce as some sort of antipasto. He loved it and when then they wolfed down the main course, not a scrap of meat was left, just plenty of part-cooked penne. 

Edited by WalkedUp
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