Hunters Natural have recently launched a new range of performance feeds for gun dogs. Known as Field Performance, the range is based around a high meat, and zero grains diet for active working dogs. We’ve been watching the progress of Hunters Natural closely, and so far it looks like they’ve got it right! All of their feeds contain a minimum of 50% meat, and can be delivered to your doorstep automatically. Whilst not the cheapest, the feeds most certainly represent quality.

Visit Hunters Natural to take a look around their new website, or click here to go straight to the different ranges of feeds they’re currently offering.

 

 


Get a free Marlborough World leather cartridge bag

For a limited time only, we’re giving away a free Marlborough World leather cartridge bag worth £224.95 with every Marlborough World leather gun slip purchase. This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire two pieces of luxury handmade leather goods with over £200 in savings.

To get your free Marlborough World leather cartridge bag, just purchase the Marlborough World leather gun slip by clicking here. Hurry! Offer ends soon so don’t miss out.

The Marlborough World Leather Gun Slip

The Marlborough World leather gun slip is one that stands out from the crowd by a country mile. If high quality and luxury is on your mind, the Marlborough World leather gun slip will most certainly impress you. This luxury leather gun slip features a timeless design that never fails to impress both in and out of the field. It is handmade in England by skilled craftspeople who take extraordinary steps in ensuring every leather gun slip they produce is the best it can be. Made from fine tanned papaya leather, the Marlborough World Leather gun slip incorporates traditional styles with luxury from the first stitch.

 

Marlborough World Brown Leather Gun Slip | Guns and Country

Inside the Marlborough World Leather gun slip, you will find a soft wool like fleece lining that offers exceptional protection to either your rifle or shotgun. Firstly, the soft rich lining cushions your shotgun or rifle in the event of the gun slip being dropped or when placed down. More excitingly, the lining also protects your gun from any moisture that could cause damage to it.

 

Marlborough World Brown Leather Gun Slip | Guns and Country Marlborough World Brown Leather Gun Slip | Guns and Country


The Marlborough World Leather gun slip
also benefits from a full length zip that allows for easy access to your chosen gun at any time. Fully secured, the zip is strong yet can easily be undone with using just one hand. Other great benefits of the Marlborough World Leather gun slip is the strong leather strap and polished buckle that allows for easy and secure carry wherever your shooting may take you.

Marlborough World Leather Cartridge Bag

As part of your purchase of the Marlborough World Leather gun slip, you will also receive a free Marlborough World leather cartridge bag. The Marlborough World leather cartridge bag allows for easy access to additional shotgun cartridges in style. Made from luxury papaya tanned leather that matches the Marlborough World Leather gun slip,The leather cartridge bag can hold up to 50 shotgun cartridges at any given time.

Marlborough World Leather Shotgun Cartridge Bag | Guns and CountryMarlborough World Leather Shotgun Cartridge Bag | Guns and Country

 

The Marlborough World leather cartridge bag is handmade in England by skilled crafts people allowing for a product to be created that will last a lifetime. The easy open lid gives easy access to your shotgun cartridges but can be secured with its solid brass polished buckle. Strong leather shoulder straps enables you to carry the bag anywhere knowing it’s strongly attached.

To get your free Marlborough World leather cartridge bag, just purchase the Marlborough World leather gun slip by clicking here. Hurry! Offer ends soon so don’t miss out.


Green Party to ban ‘sport’ shooting

The main political parties in this 2015 general election have now published their manifestos. Some are more worrying than others, most notably the Green Party. Through some careful research and sifting through each manifesto, we can now bring you each party commitments to the rural way of life.

Much of the Countryside Alliance’s election manifesto has been included in the political parties manifestos including commitments to housing, food labeling, and broadband. You can read more about this on the Country Alliance website.

Before we get on to the main topic of talk here which is the Green Party’s determination to ban ‘sport’ shooting, we must first mention the Conservative party. The Conservatives have announced in their manifesto their commitment to challenging the current Hunting Act. They further acknowledge their commitment to protecting hunting, shooting and fishing. All of which are greatly welcomed by us all for sure!

Green Party to end grouse shooting and ‘sport’ shooting

Since being able to sift through the Green Party’s 2015 general election manifesto, our eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to some worrying statements. Most notably, the following Green Party statement:

“On other animal issues we would: Maintain and strengthen the ban on hunting with dogs and extend this ban to all hunting of all animals for sport or pleasure”

“End the practice of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting”

These are just two statements that first drew our eye, but there are more, including the call to end the badger cull and to conduct a full review of horse racing. As a keen countryman, the idea of so many commitments to ban so many things all in one space utterly scared me to be frank.

If you are reading this, the chances are you enjoy partaking in country sports. Whether this be through fishing or shooting. We love our sport and I think it is only right that every one of us defends it in a polite and diplomatic manner. Even if one was to put aside feelings surrounding the enjoyment of shooting, the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) recently published research that factually prove shooting was and is beneficial to the UK economy. Here’s what they found:

  • Shooters in the United Kingdom spend £2.5 billion each year on goods and services
  • The shooting industry supports the equivalent of 74,000 full time jobs
  • Shooting is worth £2 billion to the UK economy (GVA)
  • Shooting is involved in the management of two-thirds of the rural UK land area
  • 600,000 people in the UK today shoot live quarry, clay pigeons and targets
  • Shooting provides nearly £250 million a year on conservation
  • Shooters spend 3.9 million working days on conservation (equivalent to 16,000 full-time jobs)
  • Two million hectares are actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting

You can read the full BASC report by visiting the BASC website

What does sport shooting mean?

In the Green Party’s manifesto as detailed above, they stated that they would “end the practice of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting. What about if you are someone who is in favour of banning live quarry shooting but enjoys a few hours down the clay ground? – In my eyes and many other peoples eyes, I view clay shooting as a sport. Does this mean that the Green Party would look to ban clay shooting also? In that paragraph, I couldn’t see anything that refereed to the exclusion of clay shooting from their proposed ban on ‘sport’ shooting.

Our understanding of the main points:

Green Party
The Green Party want to strengthen the hunting ban to include a ban on all hunting of animals for sport or pleasure. They further commit to ending the badger cull, the use of snares and to end all ‘sport’ shooting.

Conservative Party
The Conservatives in their manifesto have detailed their intention to protect hunting, shooting and fishing. They will furthermore also give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the hunting ban.

Labour Party
The Labour Party according to their 2015 general election manifesto will look to defend the hunting ban and end the badger cull. Labour have also mentioned they will deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting and further end the subsidy of firearm licences.

Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have stated in their manifesto that they will only support the existing badger cull if they are shown to be effective, humane and safe. They to the best of our knowledge have not made any mention to the existing Hunting Act nor the ban on shooting overall.

UKIP
UKIP unfortunately have not to the best of our knowledge specified anything in respect of shooting or the hunting ban in their 2015 general election manifesto.

 

Green Party to Ban 'Sport' Shooting


Advice on how to apply for a firearm certificate

A firearm certificate and a shotgun certificate both last for five years buts that’s where there similarities end. In this guide, we’re going to discuss how to apply for a firearm certificate. A firearm certificate is required for all firearms other than a shotgun and low powered air weapons.

Despite there being no age restrictions on using a low powered air rifle on private land where you have permission, in the United Kingdom you must be over the age of 18 in order to purchase an air rifle or ammunition. Applying for a firearm certificate in the UK currently costs £50 as do applications for a shotgun certificate.

How to apply for a firearm certificate: Application Form

As part of applying for a firearm certificate, you must complete form 201. Form 201 is the initial form that is complete by applicants for the grant of a firearm certificate. The form requires you to provide personal details, medical details, offences and the type of firearm you are applying for. Unlike applying for a shotgun certificate, you must declare which type of firearm you are requesting to acquire and hold. There is reasoning for this and we will talk about it later.

When applying for a firearm certificate, you must also provide four identical passport style photographs of yourself. Details of two people who have agreed to act as a referee for you are also required. Your referee’s must be British residents and have known you for at least two years and be of a good character. Unfortunately, a family member cannot act as a referee for you when applying for a firearm certificate. It should also be noted that you will be required to give the police the permission to approach your GP. If you are not currently registered with a GP within the United Kingdom, you cannot complete form 201 and therefor you cannot currently apply for a firearm certificate.

How to apply for a firearm certificate: Police Checks

As you can understand, the process of applying for a firearm certificate with the hope of later obtaining one, there are a number of checks the police will carry out. These checks come in the form of background checks including a criminal record check, interviews, visits to your property and references from friends.

In order for a firearm certificate to be granted, the police need to be satisfied with the following:

  • You are able to possess the requested firearm or ammunition without being a danger to public safety or peace
  • You are fit to be entrusted with a firearm and aren’t prohibited from possessing one
  • You have good reason for possessing or purchasing a firearm

How to apply for a firearm certificate: Good Reason

As you will already know from reading this guide, you are required to demonstrate to the police ‘good reason’ when applying for a firearm. The police need to be satisfied that you require the firearm for the purposes of either work, sport or leisure. The chief of police can however exercise his or her right over what ‘good reason’ actually constitutes as. For the purpose of target shooting for example, ‘good reason’ can only be demonstrated if you are a member of a Home Office approved target shooting club. A probationary membership is not acceptable for the purpose of demonstrating ‘good reason’ when applying for a firearm certificate.

Applying for a firearm certificate variation

Unlike a shotgun certificate where you can freely change between different gauges and types as you please, the freedom is much more restricted in the case of firearms. A variation is required when you want to change details of the firearm(s) on your certificate. This therefore means more paperwork and in particular, form 202.

Don’t forget to take a look at our rifle sandbags, vices and cleaning stations by clicking here!


A Simple Guide To Treating Allergies In Gundogs

Whilst humans who are affected by hay fever, better known as pollen allergy get runny noses, red eyes and sneeze between every other word whilst talking. Dogs meanwhile itch. What can appear to be somewhat minor can quickly develop into both a frustrating and uncomfortable condition.

Allergies in gundogs left untreated can lead to misery and more often than not also leads to changes to their skin that are sometimes irreversible. Allergies in gundogs is usually a result of an inherited susceptibility to develop hypersensitivity-mediated skin disease against environmental allergens. Whilst you do not need to be a vet yourself in order to diagnose it, it’s important to note that it can be easily mistaken for many other conditions.

What do allergies in gundogs look like?

When your gundog has become a victim of pollen allergy, you would normally expect to notice a certain amount of inflammation around the face. This is usually accompanied with persistent itching of the face, ears, belly, armpits and feet. You may also notice a brown staining on the feet which is caused by the transfer of saliva during licking. Hair loss along with an increase in pigmentation and skin thickening are usually also noticeable. Allergies in gundogs can also lead to ear and eye infections also so it’s worth monitoring them for any symptoms.

As the scratching continues, it spreads secondary bacteria and yeasts including malassezia and staphylococcus around the body. These bacteria’s and yeasts cause further flaking and skin issues.

Allergies in Gundogs | Guns and Country

Why do allergies in gundogs occur?

Unfortunately know one fully understands why allergies in gundogs occur in the first place. We do know that seasonal pollen allergy is thought to be associated with dysregulation of cytokine production and aberrant T cells. In simple terms, this meerly refers to the release of inflammatory chemicals such as histamine and interleukins. Most gundogs that suffer from seasonal pollen allergy also suffer from other allergies such as dust mites and so forth.

Can allergies in gundogs be predicted?

Unfortunately allergies in gundogs cannot be predicted. Certain breeds of gundogs are more susceptible to allergies than others however allergies as a whole cannot be predicted in any such way. Figures suggest that Labradors and golden retrievers along with Westies are among the breeds that are more likely to develop allergies. Allergies in gundogs younger than one year are extremely uncommon and therefore makes it nearly impossible to identify a potential sufferer. Another interesting point is that allergies tend to affect females more so than males.

Treating allergies in gundogs

Firstly it’s important to understand that no article or anything else you hear about or read on the internet should replace veterinary advice. If you believe your gundog is suffering from a pollen allergy or any other pollen allergy, you should seek proper veterinary advice and treatment. Recently, the Guns and Country office dog, Louie began suffering from such an allergy. Alarmingly, Louie’s first symptom was an inflamed muzzle that changed the overall shape and appearance of his face followed by itching and raised lumps across the whole of his body. In this case, it was important that quick medical treatment was available as Louie’s allergic reaction was developing quickly and could have affected his ability to breathe. This takes us onto our next point.

This takes us onto our next point. If you notice any inflammation around the muzzle and/or throat, it’s important to seek immediate treatment. In Louie’s case, once he had received an injection he’s reaction appeared to subside until the following day where another trip to the vets was made. Bloody testing can help reveal the cause of the reaction however this is usually expensive. Most vets will typically offer advice and a prescription for an anti-histamine such as Piriton.

You should try and avoid taking your gundog outdoors at times where there is a risk of high pollen concentrations. Rinsing your gundog off upon returning from an outdoor activity can also help.

Whilst you’re here, why not take a look at our dog collars, leads and dog beds? All are available to buy online today with free UK delivery.


Our Guide to Spaying Gundogs

It’s a question that you will hear thrown about the gun room many times. Should I spay my gundog? Spaying Gundogs despite what people say does encourage further good health in the long run. Although there are cons to spaying gundogs, the benefits in our opinion far outweigh them. For many years now vets throughout the UK and elsewhere have been recommending the routine spaying of all bitches and there’s good reason why.

Vets in the UK state that spaying you gundog will help protect her from life threatening illnesses and diseases. Most commonly, these being mammary cancer and pyometra.

Spaying Gundogs: How common is mammary cancer & pyometra in Gundogs?

Unfortunately the risk of your unspayed gundog developing mammary cancer is relatively high. Most sources state that 26% of all unspayed gundogs will develop mammary tumours at some point in their lives. The figures go on to also suggest that around half of these will further develop to become malignant.

Research also suggests that whilst mammary tumours in dogs spayed before their first season is negligible, the risk increases by approximately 8% before her second season before then rising to 25% thereafter. As these figures explain, if you delay spaying your gundog until after her second season, it is then too late to reduce the risk of mammary tumours.

Pyometra for those of you who don’t know is an infection of the birches uterus or womb. Pyometra tends to develop in older bitches but is not uncommon in younger ones. When a bitch develops Pyometra, pus quickly builds up inside the uterus which then leads to the uterus becoming swollen and inflamed. Pyometra is also known as being the silent killer in bitches and this is because sometimes the cervix remains closed and therefore you may not notice any discharge. As a result of this, Pyometra can be diagnosed in its later stages when treatment is not effective leading to death.

The benefits and disadvantages of spaying gundogs

The over all evidence of spaying your gundog early in life for the protection against mammary tumours is rather weak. We do know however that spaying your gundog later in life may be less likely to offer protection than spaying at an early age. More research is needed into the link (if any) between spayed gundogs and mammary tumours.

Spaying your gundog at any age does however offer your bitch almost complete protection agains Pyometra. As we have already mentioned, research suggests that the risk of developing Pyometra increases with age and this is why we would recommend spaying gundogs.

There are also other benefits to spaying gundogs. Other than the health benefits we have already discussed, spaying your gundog also alleviates the worry of your bitch becoming pregnant.

Now before you pick up the phone to book your bitch into the vets, there are some disadvantages to spaying that we must cover. Some research in spaying gundogs has shown that it may actually be disadvantageous to their health. Studies have show that a bitch that has been spayed is at increased risk of developing joint problems, several types of cancer, temperament issues and urinary incontinence.

Spaying Gundogs: Our Conclusion

Everyone is going to have a different view on whether or not spaying gundogs is overall beneficial. Until more research is done into this subject, no one will know the true answer. Whether or not you decide to spay your gundog is up too you. In our opinion, we’re convinced that spaying gundogs is the way forward purely for the prevention of Pyometra. Pyometra as we have already discussed is a nasty infection and one that can be a silent killer. If we can prevent our gundogs from developing Pyometra, it can only be a good thing.

 


A Full Guide To Simulated Game Shooting

Now that the driven game season has come to a close, it’s a great time to consider taking part in a simulated game shooting day. In our last article we spoke about why you should practice clay shooting in the summer and furthermore, why it’s important not to just simply lock your shotgun away until the following season.

Simulated game shooting can vary greatly between providers up and down the United Kingdom so in this guide we’ll be explaining what you should expect. Typically speaking, simulated game shooting is much more flexible when compared to traditional driven game shooting in that it often takes place in the summer months. One of the benefits to this is that no one is in a hurry to finish up before dark.

Simulated game shooting days are more often than not run similar to game days. Upon your arrival in the morning, coffee and a bacon roll along with a briefing is both common and widely welcomed. Following this you and the rest of the guns will then move off to the first drive where you will notice there are pegs just like you would see on a game day. The pegs are usually positioned closer to one another but apart from this, you shouldn’t notice any other distinct changes. Unlike driven game birds, clays are much more predicable and therefore you will usually find the sky in front of you changing colour to orange as the amount of clays coming into your window increases dramatically. Another great fact about simulated game shooting is that where on a traditional pheasant shoot, you may find a team of 8 guns, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in between a team of 16 here. Pegs are usually accommodated by two guns, both of which take it in turn to load and shoot. This creates a great opportunity for some social laughter and so forth. This is not to suggest that the amount of shooting opportunities will decrease because of this, if anything they’ll increase. As we mentioned earlier, clays are much more predicable than game birds which in turn allows them to be positioned in your arc of fire as well as allowing for the drive to be paused whenever.

After a few drives comes the traditional elevenses break. As you would find on a game shoot, sausage rolls and drinks are never to far away. After this, it’s straight back into action where the drives will continue until lunch. At the end of your simulated game shooting day, it is considered normal by the guns to put some money in the pot for the trappers who work hard behind the scenes to ensure the day runs smoothly. The amount differs but generally speaking, £20 is more than acceptable.

What should you wear to a simulated game shooting day?

Unlike clay grounds, it is common for guns who are taking part in a simulated game shooting day to dress as if they were on a game shoot. Breeks, shirts, waistcoats and plenty of tweed is a common sight that helps make the day feel more real. As the majority of simulated game shooting days take place during the summer months, it does pay dividends to check the local weather forecast. The last thing you want to do is dress for a cold day and find that it’s piping hot upon your arrival. On some informal shoots, jeans and shirt conclude to be acceptable attire however it is important to check this beforehand.

One further note you should consider is your safety. As the game birds have been replaced with clays, it is important to ensure you have a good pair of glasses and preferably a hat. Take a look at our clay shooting glasses now – it’s just not worth taking the risk with all those clay fragments flying around.

What shotgun should you use on a simulated game shooting day?

On a simulated game shooting day, it’s not uncommon for guns to complain of a sore shoulder come home time. This is simply due to the amount of shooting that takes place so it’s best to prepare in advance. Selecting the right shotgun for you along with a suitable cartridge will most certainly help. We recommend the use of a light over-under shotgun simply because the barrels on side-by-sides can get hot fairly quickly. In general though, it is best to continue using the same gun you use on a game day. If this happens to be a side-by side shotgun, you need to ask yourself whether or not you are taking part in the shoot for long term overall practice or just for fun. The latter of these allows for flexibility on the shotgun you should select.

As well as selecting a suitable shotgun, you should also think about what cartridge you will be using on your simulated game shooting day. Just as you would use at the local clay ground, 7s or 8s are perfectly acceptable and offer great performance. It’s important to remember that a clay is not living and therefore pheasant loads are best left at home. Plus you’ll be doing your shoulder a favour!

How much does simulated game shooting cost?

The price of simulated game shooting days varies from provider to provider right across the country. You should expect to pay around £150 for a very basic package whereas days at prestigious estates can amount to anything up to £350. The benefit being that you are shooting on a renowned estate with almost guaranteed excellent catering facilities and drives. Your choice should depend on your budget but whichever provider you choose, we’re confident you’ll have a great day.

Whilst you’re here, why not take a look at our men’s shooting jackets and shirts. We’ve got some great bargains!

 


Clay shooting in the summer: Why you should be visiting your local clay ground

There’s many reasons why you should be clay shooting in the summer this year. Like most people at this time of year, we’re all waiting for some warm weather. As the temperatures begin to climb, you should be heading down to your local clay ground.

Many guns simply lock their shotguns away come February and wait patiently for the following driven game season. There are many different types of shooting available come the closure of the driven game season such as pigeon shooting if clay shooting in the summer is not your cup of tea. For most though, a few hours down at the clay ground with some friends is all you need to both keep your skills up to date and involved in the shooting world until the next season.

Once the driven game shooting season closes, even the most passionate of guns simply clean and lock away their pride of joy and there’s no reason too. Clay shooting in the summer is most defiantly worth considering and we’ll explain why.

Shooting a shotgun is a highly skilled eye-to-hand coordination sport that all of us attempt to master to perfection. It can take years of practice to perfect and some, including us never do seem to perfect it. Simply by locking your shotgun away come February not only excludes you from taking part in the sport with friends but it can also have a detrimental affect on your shooting ability. There are of course going to be some people who can simply forget about their shotgun and pick right off from where they last left off come the next season but for the majority of us, it’s just not the case.

Some people view clay shooting as boring and we disagree. Clay shooting in the summer is most defiantly far from boring and there are plenty of different options to keep you occupied.

Our favourite option for clay shooting in the summer

Our favourite for clay shooting in the summer has to be nothing other than a simulated game shoot. Simulated clay shoots are both realistic and fun to take part in. Typically speaking, they are run similar to game days in an attempt to keep the day as realistic as possible. In the morning, you’ll meet for coffee and a bacon roll before then moving off to the first drive. If you’ve never tried taking part in a simulated game shoot, it’s defiantly worth considering.

Clay shooting in the summer is not expensive

A lot of people can be put off with the idea of extra expense clay shooting brings but this is nothing more than a common myth. In fact, the Guns and Country team recently visited a local ground and enjoyed 50 clays each for £12. For those that are interested in taking part in a simulated game shoot, prices vary but generally start from around £150 each for a basic day.

Important tips and advice for clay shooting in the summer

  1. Make sure the shotgun you are planning on using fits you. If you’re at all concerned, we recommend you visit a local shooting school and have a professional gun fit. Most people will see an improvement in their shooting abilities straight away.
  2. If you’re new to clay shooting, you should consider booking a course of lessons. The amount of lessons you will need is down to you to decide but generally speaking, six lessons is typically more than sufficient.
  3. We recommend you purchase a clay shooting vest. They’re great for ensuring you always have the next cartridge close to hand, plus they look great too!
  4. Invite a few friends to join you. The more people you involve, the merrier. Clay shooting in the summer can be just as sociable as game shooting in December.
Our two must have items for clay shooting in the summer
 Clay Shooting In The Summer  Clay Shooting In The Summer
 Just £26.99 Including Free Delivery  Just £59.99 Including Free Delivery

For the vast majority of shooters at some point in their lives have been asked by friends what a particular shoot was like and was it worth it. Just like anything in this world, it’s impossible to please everyone at the same time. Some game shooters for example prefer to travel around the estate in their own vehicles whilst others prefer the communal gun bus. If there is a limit on what they can and can’t do, slight frustration or even disappointment can occur. Here we have researched and gathered what we feel makes a great game shooting experience.

Shake your hand and park the car?

We don’t know of a game shoot that parks your car for you on arrival but you never know, someone out there might expect it. In this section, we’re going to talk about your arrival at the shoot and what degree of welcome you should receive.

We’re sure we say this on behalf of all game shooters out there. It’s essential that you are met by a visible host upon your arrival. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere and then not having a clue which direction you should walk and so forth. It goes without saying that the morning of a shoot can  be a stressful time for many hosts. There’s lots to do and organise in order to ensure the day gets off to a great start, but a host that greets you upon arrival with great humour is a must!

If like most game shooters you have travelled a long way to the shoot, the next thought on your mind is either going to be about coffee and/or bacon. A bacon sandwich or for those that prefer a lighter option along with a strong tea or coffee can be restorative upon arrival. A good functional game shoot room can also have a big impact on your opinion of the shoot from the very beginning. This is not to suggest you should arrive at the shoot in your Range Rover and expect a room in a castle with cashmere, but if it’s both cold and raining outside, an old barn with large holes in the roof is not ideal. A warm barn with food and drink along with happy faces is all that is actually required (and access to toilet facilities of course).

It is also important that you are given the opportunity to greet the game keeper shortly after your arrival. It’s important to remember that both the host and the gamekeeper are going to be under a lot of pressure in the morning but if the opportunity arises, one would expect a greet.

What about the general atmosphere?

It’s important that there is a great atmosphere from the start of your days game shooting right through to when you leave. Obviously there are days that just don’t go to plan and many things can affect the general atmosphere of the shoot but it is important to ensure you feel welcome and ‘looked after’. It doesn’t take much from either side to remind everyone present that the day is to be fun and enjoyable. An exchange of a smile and a pleasant greeting is all it takes to initiate a good conversation that can really help the atmosphere stay at its best. The worst comes when there is one gun who waves etiquette out of the door or displays dangerous behaviour.

Quality birds

An obvious factor but one that is worth mentioning. Sometimes the birds just don’t display and more often than not, the day can still be viewed as a success simply because everyone had a great time. Nevertheless, the quality of the birds is important and should be viewed as such.

Where’s my peg?

Sometimes no matter how luck you may feel, you may just draw the peg nobody wants. Typically this will be confirmed by the sound of laughter surrounding you but nevertheless, you should take it will pride. The spacing between pegs is one which has been debated over and over again throughout the years. The old guideline of spacing between pegs was 40 yards which we feel is perfectly suitable. If the pegs are spaced out too far between one another, one could expect perfectly presented birds to just fly through the line. Pegs that are spaced closely to one another more often than not lead to confusion and frustration; It’s impossible in this situation to tell whose bird it is.

Transportation

We briefly touched on transportation earlier on this article. Some guns prefer to drive themselves around the estate whilst others enjoy and look forward to the gun bus banter. For us, provided the host and gamekeeper see no problem with either of these transportation methods, the offer for both should be on the table.

Food

You hear it all the time. Some guns prefer to shoot through whilst others do not. Depending on what your preference is will ultimately help decide whether or not you feel elevenses and so forth was adequate. For us, the nice glass of red at the end of the day can make all the difference!

Treatment and respect

We don’t know of one gun who wouldn’t want to see shot game been treated with respect. This comes down to game shooting etiquette, but it is one that we feel is worthy of mentioning in this article. Beyond this, guns enjoy being told about the different drives and what one should expect. Furthermore, the overall efficiently of the beaters is rather important.

Pickers-up

Pickers-up and guns should work hand in hand at the end of a drive. There is no reason why a gun if able should not pick up their own shot game. This is something that differs between shoots, but it’s only polite.

Gamekeeper’s love…

  • Guns who thank the whole team at the end of the day. Beaters, pickers-up and keepers at the end of the day
  • Guns who know their own limitations and refrain from taking shots out of their personal comfort zone
  • Guns who attend to an injured bird rather than use the second barrel on another passing bird

Guns love…

  • Great company
  • Great food
  • Well presented birds with evenly spaced out pegs and drives
  • no fines!

 

 


For most people who practice the fine and wonderful art of shooting, there can be nothing more exciting than being accompanied by their very own dog. It’s important to understand however that no matter what breed of gundog you choose, a gundog is only as good as the training it has been given in the first place. It can take many hours of training over a period of months to produce a gundog.

You’re probably already aware of it but more of than not, there is a growing heated debate over which breed of dog is best for rough shooting. There are several factors that need to be carefully considered when considering which dog is best for rough shooting.

Spaniels & Cockers

When most people think of a gundog, most will automatically think of a spaniel or a cocker. There’s good reasons as to why this is the case and we will talk about these here. If you’re planning on taking your new friend out duck shooting as well as game shooting, rough shooting and so forth, then a a springer spaniel may be the way forward. Small cocker spaniels are not the best when they’re constantly wet and cold. Whereas, if you’re going to be rough shooting through long grass then you won’t go far wrong with a cocker spaniel. You may also consider a Clumber Spaniel. The important thing to realise it that you should choose a gundog breed that best suits the type of shooting your going to be engaging in.

Pointers & Retrievers

There are many good dog breed that fit into this category but some that stand out to us are the German shorthaired or wirehaired pointers as well as the Hungarian vizsla, Weimaraners and the Italian spinone. These breeds can all make a great rough shooting gundog. Unlike our native pointers and so forth, these breeds will also retrieve much better than most which can be handy! They lean more towards large open spaces such as woodlands and hedgerows rather than thick growing crops however.

Retrievers

Despite what you may have heard, Retrievers such as the Golden Retriever and so forth can make a great rough shooting dog. Given the opportunity and careful training, they can hunt, sit and flush all in a days work with ease. As the name suggests, they are best at retrieving and will excel at doing this over any other breed we can think of.

It’s all about training…

As we said earlier on, it does not matter what breed you pick. The dog you choose will only work as good as they are taught to so it’s important to get a grip on training right from the start. To really get the best out of a rough shooting dog, it pays dividends to ensure your teaching him to work a consistent tight quartering pattern that is ideally withing your normal shotgun range. There’s no point having a great rough shooting dog that executes a perfect flush every time if they only ever flush birds out of your shotguns range so keep this in mind.

Teamwork is important and so you should try and teach your dog to understand this important element. Your dog should poses good listening skills if you are both to succeed.

When hunting hedgerows whilst rough shooting, it can be useful to work the dog downwind. This is because more often than not, your dog will appreciate a scent being blown in its face rather than the other way around.