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Thread: Forgetful game shooting

  1. #1

    Forgetful game shooting

    I remember talking on many occasions about wasteful game shooting. I was reminded of it on the weekend after a friend had an invite day down south, 10 guns for seven hundred and something pheasants. Now I like my game shooting, second of course to my stalking and I have done my fair share of shooting, luckily in many parts of the world.

    I have run a small shoot for around 30 years, mostly driven and fighting for 5 or 6 guns, maximum bag of 60 and also done bigger days from the more normal 100-200 bird days through to 500 plus days.

    Now what I quickly came to realise, was the more you shoot the more you forget and I don't think it's untypical that when you get to shoot 150 plus, the number of shots actually remembered at the end of the day dramatically falls to a point where you would have had better memories from a walk around and a bag of half a dozen.

    I remember suggesting to my friend only a few weeks ago that on the larger days, if you can actually remember a handful of shots you are doing well. So I asked my mate a question bearing in mind he's a fit young guy, a national coach at another sport who loves his shooting and someone that has a fantastic memory, does a lot of public speaking, commentates for a TV company and someone you can rely on to remember something.

    The question was...... "how many shots can you remember after using nearly 200 shells?"

    The answer was......"three".....followed by "one really, I had to see the other two on the Go Pro to remind myself"

    So it just confirmed to me once again that I am not unusual. On larger days, I cannot remember each and every shot, far from it and I guess the limit for me would be 100 birds or so between a team of guns. On a day like this I'll have a chance of remembering what I will have shot and hence will not have wasted my money or a friends hospitality. If I had the time or could afford to shoot large bags every day, I would choose not to do so. I may have chosen to shoot every day the half dozen..... a different matter.

    I'm not sure what people actually get out of it unless they have some sort of incredible memories. I know that the guy that goes out of a weekend and bags a couple of birds or even nets a couple of rabbits will have exactly the same amount of fun doing so, maybe more so, not concerned about the rubbish weather or getting annoyed because the gun next to him constantly poaches your birds at a cost of *!*! each.

    Now stalking......a different matter.....

    I shoot between 20 and 50 deer every autumn/winter and I have been stalking for over 30 years. There will not be many shots I cannot remember and if I'm in a bit of woodland, I'm sure I can remember all the deer I've shot there and even the deer I've seen.

    Now that's value...... memories....

    Without memories you are nothing and what you MAY have done is pretty meaningless wiyhout them. That's why whenever I can, my wife or myself films as much as possible so when the day comes when I cannot remember so well, I'll be able to put on a dvd and remind myself ... :-)

    I'm not sure what it is but it will be a mixture of planning, the countryside, the smells, weather, all the wildlife you see from close encounters with the smallest firecrests to having ravens talking in the trees around you waiting to pinch some gralloch once you've departed. Maybe it's the adrenalin that's still there after more than 30 years, and always there whether stalking the humble muntjac doe to the grandest stag or buck. Time helps and the adrenalin is easy to control nowadays, but when it leaves me, that will be the time to stop stalking unless it's done for a job.

    So there we have thoughts on a successful days hunting....... a couple of hundred birds or a day with deer?

    Not to mention respect for your quarry........

  2. #2
    Being a foxing man I rarely shoot at birds with a scattergun, however, I can say that if I were to hit a hundred foxes and missed one, it'd be that one that I remembered...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy_SP View Post
    Being a foxing man I rarely shoot at birds with a scattergun, however, I can say that if I were to hit a hundred foxes and missed one, it'd be that one that I remembered...
    That sounds about right, the ones I remember very well are those problem Foxes, the artful ones that you have to work hard to get.

    ATB WB.

  4. #4
    I think it is dangerous to try and set a limit on bags as it provides ammunition for those who would like to restrict game shooting. I think as long as the birds are sporting and the estate is run ethically i.e. good rearing practices, contribution towards conservation and promotion of biodiversity etc then it is up to the individual as to what is an acceptable bag.

    Pheasant shooting does more good than harm to the countryside on the whole and for many large estates that employ a lot of keepers then the figures have to add up, after all commercial shoots are just that commercial! A well keepered estate has a greater diversity of wildlife than ground that is not.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by willowbank View Post
    That sounds about right, the ones I remember very well are those problem Foxes, the artful ones that you have to work hard to get.

    ATB WB.
    Agreed! Out here in the countryside almost every single fox we encounter is a wary one that we have to work for. We had 355 last year - every one of which we took on foot. We were aiming for 365 so that we'd have an average of one a day, but in spite of being well ahead of the numbers in early autumn, three months of solid rain slowed that right down. Having busted our souls to achieve this, it's lovely to see the other side of the coin - the 'prey species' wildlife are thriving at last - the other night I saw more hares than I've seen for a very long time; only three years ago they were a rare sight around here. We've also got hedgehogs, skylarks, and so on. And the farmers/keepers with chickens, lambs and game birds love us!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Deermanagement View Post
    So there we have thoughts on a successful days hunting....... a couple of hundred birds or a day with deer?
    Your post made a lovely read, thank you!

    fwiw, I enjoy game shooting and stalking in equal measure but for different reasons. Like you I've had my share of big bird days, and I can't say that I'll put them at the top of the list. However, for many years now I've been part of a working syndicate (3000 acres, 1000 birds) where we shoot about 45 on the day, and I wouldn't give this up for the world! The reasons are more to do with the camaraderie and banter than for the shooting. its a classic beat and shoot syndicate, with everyone getting involved, including the kids who all love it! We have a fabulous variety of wildlife in great scenery, and the common feeling at the end of a day is how lucky we all are to have had such a great day and have a few shots at some challenging birds as well.

    Stalking for me is far more of a solitary pursuit, and to be out in the countryside on a late spring dawn is one of the most perfect feelings that I know. Although we manage the deer on our shoot, and have a cull plan, it never seems like a chore or a job, its a pleasure.

    I think thats the thing for both the pheasants and the stalking though, neither really revolve around numbers or a need to have a deer in the larder, I'm extremely grateful for the venison and the pheasants when I have them, but my day isn't spoilt if I don't take a shot in either case.

  7. #7
    Some good sentiments here I think. I'm in the same camp that wants to remember. The more I shoot on any particular occasion the more I won't remember. My pheasant days pretty much all have bags that are in two figures, very rarely three and occasionally ones. The low bag days are generally at least as enjoyable.

    I suppose many people will want to experience what it's like on a big pheasant day. Fair enough, say I. But really, don't you find that most of the guns on these big days really don't do anything countryside related apart from turn up and blast away. Likely merchant bankers or the like where it's a firm's outing or a perk for big customers. I suspect that if you asked them any searching questions about their quarry, they wouldn't know. It's all just an extension of their "big business" personas.

  8. #8
    One or two for me too. When I was younger I could certainly remember a lot more but it was new and more exciting back then and of cause I hit less. Now I remember a bad miss and it plays on my mind though. As you get older it becomes more about the craic anyway. Shooting on these 3000+ bird days would IMO become slightly boring by the end of the day. That said, I would love an invite in order to find out!

  9. #9
    Whle i believe personally that if u can't remember ever bird than mibee u have shot too much. Everyone else can do as they please really

    But if it wasnae for these big bags/guns shooting would be a lot dearer even for small bags. So really don't have a problem with them as long as birds treated sportingly (which is not always the case,and not just on big shoots either heard of bad behavior on small syndicates too) and plenty off pickers up to retrieve as much as possible (also sometimes scrimped on).

    But for some people it is a numbers game, i know someone whos been to argentina twice to shoot large large numbers of doves in a day and was near the record, can't remember now but big big numbers ur talking 4 or 5K doves in a day to his gun. Thats his thing and he will spend an awful lot off money doing it.

    While DIY typesyndicates might be far nore explainable/justifiable to the general public they do not fill hotel beds or provide FT/PT jobs for keepers, beaters and pickers up, even the cooks that make the luches. Also ur game farmers, feed merchants would not survie on DIY shoots alone
    Know 1 estate that has shoot over 120 driven days last season and already got 40 booked for next september alone, thats big money into the area and a big teams of beaters working 4-6 days a week from sept to Feb

    Possibbly have more problem for the trend for high birds and most folk not having a clue wot a high bird is and if ur not an experienced shot have the skill to deal with them and using 36g $'s for everything, so wasting 'normal' birds.

    Dunno wot the optimal size of day is but say for 10 guns shooting 5 drives, a 100 bird day is only 1 brace per gun per drive, even a 300 which is a biggish day is only 6 a drive a few singles and a R and L. Not that much really (althou i know it is never shared out evenly)

    Never actually paid for a big day as coudlnae justify the money, (usually infront or behind the guns) but shot on plenty of decent sized keeprs days, sometimes if the pegs are against u u might not fire many shots at all. Biggest day i've been on was a 50 quid day where we had over 600 duck but i only shot at the duck i wanted and most drives even if in a hot seat would stop after about 15 shells ( mibee 2-4 at wild teal/widgeon 2-4 at wild mallard and rest at the better mallard ) and go to help pick up.
    Thats plenty for me but if someone wants to get there ful money's worth thats up to them

    I take it the 3000+ day is a typo bagio? Never really heard of days just as excessive as that

  10. #10
    When it comes to game shooting with birds that have been reared for shooting, I believe that it's each to their own really. But in my case, with wildfowling, it's nice to get a good bag of a dozen to 15 birds. This rarely happens, so is easy to remember. But I wouldn't dream of doing this week in week out on a fed flight pond. The reason is you work hard for a good bag when wildfowling, or get extremely lucky out on the marsh, and the most important part is you are taking wild birds, so should not want to take large numbers every time.

    A day on the marsh when you fire one shot and get one bird are always remembered fondly and vividly. I've had red letter days and I agree you can't remember some individual shots, but you remember the experience as a whole. And with stalking I completely agree. You remember each place you shoot a deer, and even see them. It is a strange one how it works.The experience is what should be remembered combined with a respect for what you're shooting and the type of shooting. If someone wants to shoot 50 pheasant thats fine, but 50 wigeon is different as they are wild, migratory birds.

    If the experience as a whole is remembered as pleasant and fun then good. If it's remembered as stressful and frustrating as you haven't 'shot enough for your money' then go and shoot clays!

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