Hi guys, new member but been lurking for a couple of weeks.
After a lapse of a few years, I'm looking at getting back into shooting, and stalking in particular, so I'm after some advice.
I trained as a Gamekeeper in the early 90's, did a lot of stalking, and hold a BTEC national in wildlife management, plus the old BDS woodland stalkers competence cert. I've got a fair amount of stalking experience, and I've been loosely on the edge going stalking every now and again and plenty of foxing using estate rifles and with friends whilst living 'up north' but not much in the last two years, have not held my own FAC for about ten years now.
I've now recently moved down to Surrey/Hants border, meaning I'm no distance from Bisley or another smaller .22 rifle club, and the itch is getting to me again. I'd like to reapply for my ticket but want to make sure I go about it in the best way possible.
I always liked .308 as a round when I was taking mainly roe and Sika, however down here and given the species in the area, I'm wondering if I'd be foolish to ask for .308? I'd prefer to have only one CF rifle and since Bisley is close I'd like to use if for target shooting too.
I'll also be honest and say I'm loathe to have to mess around with closed tickets etc given I'm fairly well experienced and have not yet tied up any land, I'd like to try and tie down my ticket first before wasting time and effort tapping up my local landowners.
So, I guess the questions are
i) would I be foolish to apply for a ticket before tying down shooting opportunities in my local area, given the fact I do have a reasonable level of knowledge and qualifications to match.
ii) would I be foolish to go for a 308, or should I go for a .243 and also a more "target shooting friendly" rifle (poss. even a SMLE)
iii) would I be an idiot to ask for an open condition, given a fairly good history on the stalking/wildlife mgt side
iv) should I get involved at a local rifle club first, or is this going to set back my application on the basis of the police wanting me to go through the rigmarole of club vetting and supervision for X months before applying for my own ticket.
v) is it worth looking at registering or beginning training for a DSC level 1, assuming that my WSCC is now just a piece of toilet paper?
Any advice warmly received