Out on a high
PUBLISHED: 17:09 27 March 2013 | UPDATED: 17:09 27 March 2013
Did the last day of the season at Court Shoot all go to plan?
It’s been a while since we last ‘wrote’ and the shooting season is now over. We ended ours well, with a total bag of 33 on our last day, made up of 23 pheasant, three partridge and seven ‘various’. This took our total number of pheasants for the season to 368 – a return of just over 50% on the 700 we put down, which we are very happy with. Even better is the figure for the partridge – 21 shot, but with zero put down that’s a return of 2,100%! We’re over the moon, but the next door keeper might not be!
Our penultimate day was another bitterly cold one and, not surprisingly, only a handful of birds appeared out of the first drive. Well, three to be exact. But did we start the day with three in the bag? No, we did not. For reasons known only to themselves, nobody shot at the three birds that went over their heads – even though two of them were cocks and Graham was clear in his briefing at the start of the day that we wanted some cock birds accounted for! There was much ribbing from Derek, who was back-Gunning to try to get some cock birds shot!
He managed to do just that on Tower drive, as did John – he shot three nice cock birds from the relatively small pheasant flush. Richard, one of our neighbouring farmers, is out shooting today as a guest and he also manages to contribute to the bag on the third drive, from which we shot four birds. At Handkerchief Derek makes a judgement call from his position as back Gun and shoots a fox. It’s our first shoot day fox since 26 January 2008 (so the game book tells us). By lunchtime he is not doing too badly, with five of the 11 pheasant, a pigeon and a fox to his name. Thanks to Scotty, there is also a partridge in the bag, and he’s in the running for shot of the day as it was a cracking bird.
As we head out after lunch the weather worsens and the beaters up on the top of the hill heading around to the back of Top Court have to contend with driving rain, then snow. It’s no wonder the birds want to tuck-up here in the relative warmth. Luckily we have a few dogs with us today to help push them out, and we add six or so to the bag here. The cover crop is looking a little sparse now, which doesn’t help matters.
So that just leaves Bottom Court to bump up the numbers and, as usual, it doesn’t disappoint. John and Scotty are in the ‘hot spots’ at the bottom of the cover strip and both get some good shooting, despite a little ‘mishap’ along the way! We get 23 off the last drive, taking our day’s bag to 48. At this late stage in the season that is good going. The mishap, by the way, involved Scotty’s young dog getting a little over-excited on the peg and leaving him rather red-faced. But there was no harm done and to make up for it he did get shot of the day for that partridge.
So now the season’s over and some of the luckier ones are heading for warmer climes for a couple of weeks, before attention turns to work parties, shoot barbecues and the like. We’ll be keeping you posted on our progress and, like most shoots out there, we will be keeping our fingers crossed that the weather dries up and we get some better cover crops next season.