The seasonality and diversity of our fieldsports is integral to their beauty. By their very nature, the array of activities which have us yearning to spend time outdoors take us to some magical places. If we're not crunching across frosty parkland on a game shoot in winter, or sat against a thick hawthorn hedge beside a decoy pattern in spring, we might be creeping through a bluebell wood in search of roebuck at dawn or wading methodically through frigid water in search of salmon or trout. The June/July issue of Fieldsports celebrates this diversity in all its glory...
Quotes from this issue...
“... the rest is shared between the Guns and two nearby schools which I have persuaded to serve pheasant breasts at lunchtimes.” – Will Pocklington visits a shoot in Buckinghamshire that is setting a standard in sustainability and good practice.
“He slowly turned it in his hands so the top-side faced me. Somehow – as if by magic – it appeared that Humphrey had carved out a deep slice of the River Test...” – Matt Kidd meets sporting artist Humphrey Stanley.
“... it is very much his influence that has shaped my passion for fieldsports and the natural world. Photographing both of these things helps preserve the otherwise ephemeral moments to ensure our way of life remains eternal.” – We hear from the winners of this year's Leica Fieldsports Photographer of the Year competition.
“I am convinced that well-intentioned releasing of this sort has completed some of the extinctions that we have seen over the last 40 years.” – Dr Mike Swan explains in detail what happened to the once common grey partridge and how, with the right approach, we can restore and nurture their numbers in modern Britain.
“As a result, an incredible 600-700 man-hours goes into the making of each Watson Bros. shotgun...” – Marcus Janssen visits Watson Bros., the last independently owned and run London gunmaking firm.
“Long gone is the fuss and noise and clatter of the gun, the organisation, the rostering, the kit – now is the time for executing great plans, for nuturing the gift of nature, for sowing the seeds, for rolling up the shirt sleeves...” – Lord James Percy's sporting year.
“I carried on shooting until I was 94, but I still run a small syndicate shoot now. There are four of us in our 90s, but I'm the eldest. We are the backbone of it.” – In the first part of a new series, we speak to four members of an extremely elite club – octogenarians and nonagenarians who are still passionate about game shooting.
“... I know they work, and there's no question of not pulling the trigger as I know they kill out to 50 yards easily.” – Rupert Godfrey discusses shot sizes for pigeon shooting.
“It is an historically important and indeed unique piece of masterful gunmaking and design that I feel immensely privileged to have examined..” – Mark Crudgington is blown away by what is almost certainly the very first hammerless ejector over-under ever built in the UK.
“There's plenty of science that has been undertaken on the impacts of pike removal... At the very least it's a waste of time and money.” – For years, the presence of pike in trout streams has been considered bad news. But as Tom Darling dicovers, evidence now suggests otherwise.
“You're looking a bit peaky,” she said. “A bit peaky!” I replied. “I had to swim across a freezing cold burn! That's it, if I can't get a dog, I'm giving this shooting lark up.” – Buccleuch gundog manager David Lisett recounts the story of how he came to acquire his very first gundog.