Yesterday William and I were lucky enough to be reunited with old friends and family for one of my father-in-law’s syndicate’s shoot days. William was to be a back Gun, and I took to the beating line. It was a beautiful, warm winter’s day and while a very small bag (10 pheasant and one woodcock), plenty of birds were shown and the shoot banter was second-to-none
We even had the pleasure of the company of Shooting Times contributor Graham Downing – a gentleman I had had much contact with over email while at the magazine, but with whom I previously had not encountered face to face. He brought with his his irrepressible five-year-old Labrador Teal, who I swear had springs for feet, and all the dogs performed with enthusiasm on the day.
Having not picked up a gun more than a couple of times this season, the day reminded me just how worthwhile a day’s beating can be to a novice shooter; improving my crop and bird identification and my understanding of the placing of beaters and pegs. My plucking skills are also improving immeasurably! Long may these informal friends and family shoot days continue.