Preparations for 2010 season

Andy R

New member
Thought I'd start a thread to take my mind off my absmal seatrout (9) and salmon season (0).

We've 26 feeders down around the shoot, and some of last years' birds are appearing as if by magic- tails about 4 foot long with a nervous look in their eye.

The foresters who thinned our main plantation did a wonderful job, we've got five new drives that were far too thick to use last year. The only issue was they didn't finish till late May/June so we didn't get huge amounts of undergrowth re-growth. It will be better next year.

We also didn't get our pen built (weekends in June, July and August were fishing months) but we did get all the feeders made and out, and five new stiles built.

We were going to put down some ex-layers, as I haven't the time to visit poults on a daily basis (away overnight, down to London, back at 9pm etc. etc.) but we'll make a pen in the spring and put some down next year.

We're in that transition period between walked up and mini-drives and 'walk one, stand one' but as this is the third year, we'll start to get some flak from neighbouring shoots if we don't start putting some birds down next year.

Mind you, last seasons total was only 81 pheasants, they'll loose more to foxes, and both shoots are more than a mile away from our ground, so we're not that guiltly.............. I estimate we have 50 or so 'permanent strays' who have been on the ground throughout the summer, though I've not seen the grey partridge that were about last year, which is a shame. Too many crows I'm afraid.

We expect we'll get some good Woodcock shooting in due course, just by being able to get into the woods properly will help. I presume that the last full moon in October is the earliest they will arrive?

Our first day is the 30th October, we did think of a boundary day on the 16th, but some of the 'new birds' are too immature as yet.

Andy
 

outside

New member
I like the sound of your shoot. I don't think there is any shame in not putting birds down at all, as long as you are feeding all year and are taking steps to preserve your wild birds you can simply call yourself a wild bird shoot, and enjoy it all the more for that. You could take it a stage further and shoot 'cocks only' to establish your breeding stock. If you do go for ex layers, make sure you get 'old english' pheasants. They hold much better, are better parents and are strong fliers as I bet you don't have much time for dogging in! A few ex layers, some hard work with pest control and you can have a really good wild shoot.

Do you have any flight pools? feeding in wild ducks is very easy, and adds some variation!

I agree, end of October is plenty early enough to disturb pheasants, unless you want to be finished by christmas! Round here that would be early for woodcock too, but its very regional isn't it.
 

sewinbasher

New member
I often think it would make very little difference if they moved the pheasant season to 1st November as so few of this year's birds have full tails in October and not too many shoots start seriously before then unless they also have partridge and/or duck.

I saw skeins of about 80 greylag making their way down the Vale of Clwyd as dawn broke this morning in a totally cloudless sky with a little mist hanging in pockets down in the valley, a perfect Autumn day, and that incomparable music of wild geese. I love this time of year!!
 

Aled

Member
Not quite ready for the dog yet, so shooting activity will be limited this winter. Some rough shooting with a few mates, hopefully around 4 to 6 trips will do nicely.
Shoot sounds great Andy.
Cheers
Aled
 

Andy R

New member
Outside,

Thanks for the advice on the Old English strain, I think that's what we'll do next year, as for starting in November I agree, though 30th October is a Saturday so it's close enough.

I for one would be an advocate of starting pheasants on the 1st November and finishing on the 28th February, there's more and better sport to be had in Feb than in October (some of our commercial shoots have started, or are starting this weekend.)

As for dogging in- no time, plus to be fair if I was dogging in on our boundary, I'd loose as many as I'd gain, (my birds going back into my ground, commercial shoot birds heading the other way) so its 'bird neutral'.

As for feeding, I keep the feeders topped up until late April/ early May this last spring, it was amazing at how much grain kept disappearing, although there were fewer birds that at the start (we're not all bad shots).

As for wild birds, I'd love to take a walk with a gun every night and do some rounds checking larsen traps and tunnel traps- but I just can't commit to doing it. Next week for example I'm in Immingham Monday, then London, then Newport SW, then London, arriving back home Thursday night. With the law as it is there's no way I could stay within it, so I'm afraid unless I can account for some by decoying in the spring, the corvid numbers are too high, as for foxes, luckily we have a farmer who's a very keen lamper, he's accounted for 6 foxes on one field in August alone.

Andy
 

outside

New member
It is catch 22 with trapping isn't it. Its a shame you couldn't rope in some friends for larsen trapping at the end of the season, its very easy, but yes you need to be there at least once a day. I couldn't spare the time either though! I would suggest feeding right through, even if it was at every other hopper to keep resident numbers up. You should get better bang for your buck by that than anything else.

In the spring doing anything you can to upset or disturb territories of corvids is a big bonus. Blast out all the nests with some bb's at the end of the season and don't forget to be out after young 'branchers' as soon as they start to find their way out of the nest. Hastling them when they are setting up breeding territories is the very best time.

Hope I am not teaching a granny to suck eggs here!
 

Andy R

New member
Outside,

no not at all, I feed right through to April, there were some feeders with wheat still in when I filled them again in September- tipped it out as probably stale. But we've kept birds on the patch....I think it's not morally right to stop feeding once the seasons over, I proud to say that all my feeders were full on our last day in January.

As for the corvids, yes I do go nest blasting, 42g of no.1's through a choke barrel brings them down. As for friends, same issue with time, they're either 40 minutes away, or away on business same as me.

Andy
 

plotter

New member
Never ever been shooting, and know absolutly nothing about it, but would love to try it. Do i need a licence permit? is it expensive? where to go etc..

anyone got any suggestions.
 

Aled

Member
Plotter the best advice i can give you is have a look at the British Association of Conservation and Shooting (BASC) web site, you will find a lot of advice there.
Hope this helps.
Aled
 

outside

New member
I suppose the best place to start is to find your local clay pigeon ground off there and have a go with an instructor.
 

Andy R

New member
I'd agree with Outside, go to a clayground to have a go, safely and with some instruction, alternatively most country fairs have 'have a go' stands- although these can be silly expensive (at the midland it was £10 for 10 shots- total rip-off).

Have a look on-line at BASC, there's plenty of info there about all the types of shooting, pest control, rough shooting, walked up etc.

If you find you're keen, you can either stick with clays, or move onto live quarry shooting of any type to suit your wallet.

Basic set up: 2nd hand gun, circa £500 for a good over-and-under (I started with side-by-sides which can be far cheaper, but for a beginner an O&U is easier to use) ,25 cartridges £4 a box- less for bulk, shotgun cabinet £120, licence from the plod £70 odd- plus application form. Shooting rights: anything from nothing (pigeon and rabbit shooting) to £1000's per day (grouse).

ONE MAJOR POINT:

Many people get into shooting as a family 'thing', it's 'passed down' through families, my grandfather was a gamekeeper as was my uncle, many of my friends were and I first fired a shotgun under supervision at the age of 12. To be honest, much of my early 'ranging about' with a gun was a little unsafe, yes I knew to unload at fences and stiles, but I shot at a few things that I shouldn't have- and wouldn't do now. As such, being 'brought up with it' safety does (in the end in my case) get drummed into you and becomes natural.

I was able to take my cousin's son Harry through early days (12) shooting an air-rifle, through to supervised shotgun shooting, to now being a safe shot at the age of 16, with several pheasants and two woodcock to his 20 bore last season.

I'll cut to the chase; in order to get this sort of experience I'd strongly suggest you go beating as a really good way to get into shooting. Yes the beating is for driven game shooting, which is out of my price range, BUT the other beaters will be pigeon shooters, wildfowlers, rough shooters, etc. Make friends and you'll get to go along, have a go and get involved.

Andy
 

outside

New member
Andy R have a gold star,

If you want to get into shooting, ferreting etc go beating! You can even join a club about it called NOBS! You will meet the people who can make it happen.
 

Andy R

New member
Outside,

Thanks for the gold star, I'll stick on my good behaviour board my wife has set up for me......:D

Andy
 
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