Here is a post I’ve been really looking forward to posting, it’s a bit different to my normal post but it might give you a different insight into me. I know shooting isn’t for everyone but until you experience a shoot day first hand it’s hard to really comment. I first went beating in November and loved it. Beaters are used to walk through woods and fields pushing the birds towards the guns. Yesterday was Beaters Day, the day when the roles reverse, and the beaters finally get the chance to have a go behind a gun and the guns do the beating. My boyfriend Jack and brother Jack (confusing I know) were both shooting so I went along to see the other side of the day. It’s a day out in the country side, fresh air, food, Port and a combination of the best people. I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took because of course I took way too many (If you like dog photos then you’re in for a treat)…
After a bacon and sausage butty the boys went off to their first peg. This drive was a Duck drive. They both managed to get a few hits in, so they were both very happy. Here are some action shots of the boys shooting. If you look closely you can see the ducks flying towards them and maybe even a puff of smoke from a barrel…
Before we get too far into the day I thought I would write a bit about the birds themselves. For all of you reading this who aren’t too sure about the shooting of animals/birds I just wanted to mention that all birds that are shot are picked up and taken home by everyone to be eaten, no bird is wasted or left behind. Also, the organisers and game keepers of the shoots do so much for conservation and management of birds. Without shoots a lot of our native English birds and game birds such as Snipe, Fieldfair and other small birds wouldn’t exist. One thing I noticed the first time I went beating was how beautiful the birds are. Each feather and each bird has an individual design. The first picture below is a picture of a Red legged Partridge my favourite game bird. I love the bright red beaks, mixed with the soft grey/blue the brown and the prettiest striped feathers on their breasts. They may be a small and pretty bird, but wow can they move fast!! Blink and you’ve almost missed them they are so speedy! My brother managed to shoot his first one and he was so excited about it.
Up next the Pheasants! The Pheasant is the staple bird on most shoots in England. Most people probably see these guys strutting across the road at some point during a country car ride and don’t realise that they are such an awesome bird. You can see the difference in male and females in the photos below. The beautifully decorated Cock bird (male), and the more muted but still stunning speckled Hen bird (females). They are such a versatile bird that more people should try because they taste so good in a variety of different recipes.
It wouldn’t be a shoot day without the Dogs. It is always a highlight for me seeing the dogs doing what they have been bred to do. Retrieving the birds from water or hedges. Watching them flushing birds out. Just watching them do their thing is really cool to watch. They all love it so much! Not one of the 10+ dogs there yesterday was unhappy, they are just so excited and know exactly what they have to do.
After a few drives we stopped for lunch which consisted of a slice of Game Pie, some biscuits and a glass of Port or Whiskey. This is normally when everyone shares their stories from the first few drives. Either congratulating good shots or taking the mickey out of ‘the one that got away’.
A few more drives happen throughout the afternoon which consisted mainly of Pheasant and Partridge drives. I think the final drive of the day was my favourite. You can see below the tall wood in the picture below. The birds were flying so high out of the top of the wood it was so exciting to watch. You never knew which direction they were going to fly out of.
After the final drive everyone congregates back at the farm for the final count of the birds. Yesterday the guns managed 84 birds! That is a really good day for this shoot and is roughly the same amount that the normal guns would get. I think the ‘Jacks’ managed to get around 26 birds between them. But I have to mention the people! I have never felt so welcomed by a group of strangers in my life. So lovely, happy to take the banter and just genuine good people who love their dogs and being outdoors. I like that kind of people. I feel very welcome there. And I can’t wait to go back again next season. Everyone then meets at a local pub for drinks and a cooked dinner, which is much need after a long day walking and being outside in the cold. With lots of pints swallowed and stories of the day shared and laughed about it’s then straight home too bed.
Thanks for taking a look at my day.
I’m more than happy to answer any questions in the comments.
Chloe May x