Fieldsports Britain - Whippets in Yorkshire and Cirencester pheasants

Uploaded by fieldsportschannel on 07.02.2012

Welcome to Fieldsports Britain.
Coming up:
The Yorkshire Dales are well known for being stuffed with rabbits.
We are after them with whippets.
So, you are 8 years old and you want to be in the Olympics we talked to some of the country's
top shooters about how they got started in the sport.
I shot a plastic milk carton on the floor with a little 4/10.
First, Mark Gilchrist has been asked to the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester.
Is it because many of the students are lovely young ladies with large Scottish estates,
no, he is going there for the shooting.
The guys and girls of the Cirencester shooting team have a high opinion of themselves.
We asked them to choose an adjective which best describes themselves.
[All] Best!
Sporting shooter chef, Mark Gilchrist, is a guest today, the last of the pheasant season.
They are a good gang of lads, you know one of them from home, don't you?
I know two of them from home, I know his father really well, he said would I take him pigeon
shooting and we have been pigeon shooting, rabbit shooting and all that kind of stuff
We used to go long netting, but as they tangled 300 yards of long net the other night that
might be off the list, but yes, I do know them from previously and they said that they
would love to be on the Fieldsports Channel, so I said I can sort it!
[laughter from Charlie]
Here we are.
How do you describe this day?
One of the student's fathers owns this farm and he very kindly let us have a walked up
boundary day, good hens or any cocks. We've just had a little walk round. The chap was
a little nervous as it hadn't gone so well. We just had a fantastic drive there. Then
we are going to have another couple of small drives and then maybe see what the beer is
like at the local pub.
They compete in clay competitions they enjoy game shooting on farms surrounding their college
and beyond and last week they shot 16 species over 2 days.
Because we are local there are few of us who are on the shooting team this year who are
quite local whereas last year it wasn't really like that so we didn't really get the opportunity
to go off game shooting as much.
So when Scotland sends down its farmers the shooting club dips a bit and when Wiltshire
sends its farmers it goes up a bit.
Above all they are out to do what every shooter should be doing, enjoying themselves.
It's more about having a good day out walking around with the chaps and that's what it comes
down to.
We are on shooting Captain Rory's farm, walking around the boundaries in 2 teams, one standing,
one beating.
Although everyone is grateful to Rory and his Dad for letting them onto the place, the
weight of responsibility for the day sits heavily on Rory's shoulders.
Things do not start well.
He is a member of the RSPB.
Rory has to do what he promised himself he wouldn't do.
You promised you wouldn't do the pens, is that right?
I've changed my mind, I think we will go back there.
So we are going to do the pens.
See what's about I think.
Is that a terrible admission of failure.
Well after my last shot yes, I think it is.
The pen produces a couple of birds, but it is not as good as Rory hopes. They lost a
lot of birds to foxes at the start of the season here. Being a keen hunting family Rory,
his father and the keeper do not shoot the foxes here.
It's like that at home in Hampshire, they would rather leave them for the hounds.
Obviously not for the hounds as that is illegal.
Oh well you know what I mean.
Then we go to walk up a game crop and then Rory's fortunes change bird after bird gets
up and fly well over the guns. George's shooting is superb and Will gets a right and left,
which, says George, he will be hearing about all week.
Two dead in the air at once you must be reasonably happy with that.
Well that was Will next to me actually.
Oh was it oh right.
Will had two down there so he will be going on about that for the rest of the day I think.
Rest of the week.
Won't hear the end of that. No I had two quite nice ones there. Roy wants to leave quite
a few hens for breeding and not what. If it's a good bird shoot it but if low then leave
it. That was a good drive, plenty of birds in there.
It has all turned into a marvellous morning's shooting.
Is that what a student shooting day should be like?
I think it should be fun, I think these chaps are certainly a lot more keen on shooting
than they are going to the pub.They are a really good bunch of guys and they have good
fun doing it so you can't fault it.
Girls as well and they all seem to shoot quite straight too.
The girls?
No everybody.
Yes, they do, apparently the lady who is shooting is extremely proficient. I gather she worked
for the Oxford Gun Company so maybe she got some lessons there.
Mark Gilchrist there. The thinking woman's ugly rural bloke.
Now to a better class of crumpet. It's David on the Fieldsports Channel News stump.
This is Fieldsports Britain News.
We start with the Hunting Act and following recent support for repeal of the 2005 Hunting
Act by the prime minister and other members of the cabinet, the veterinary establishment
has given its reasons why the ban is bad law.
Hunting is natural, natural because the wild animal is hunted in the environment it knows,
natural because hunting doesn't use any alien technology like shooting or snaring for which
the wild animal has no natural defence.
For the second time in just a couple of weeks we have deer crashing through shop windows
in America. This particular window belongs to a library in Washington DC, USA, and the
deer was caught on CCTV. The animal broke a jaw and was later caught and put down.
Winners of the Countryside Alliance awards – the 'Rural Oscars' – are being announced
by regions across the UK. The National Judging Panel, which includes Clarissa Dickson Wright,
will choose an outright winner, which will be announced at the final in the House of
Lords on 7th March.
And finally anglers know all about holding the fish well in front of them when that all-important
photo is being taken. Well, this African village takes a new world record for faking a record.
This picture was posted on the internet. It didn't take long for experts to point out
that the villagers are a long way behind the crocodile, which explains its apparently enormous
You're now up to date with Fieldsports Britain News.
Stalking the stories fishing for facts.
Thank you David, lovely as ever.
Now, some of the UK's top long dog people got in touch with us and asked whether we
would like to go chasing rabbits with whippets in the Yorkshire Dales. We said yes.
Yorkshire Dales has a well known rabbit problem. I am in Wenslydale and we are working whippets.
If we don't do it the sheep go hungry and what's more these guys love doing it. The
walk up to the buries is a long hard trudge, but imagine living up here the few sprigs
of tough grass provide thin pickings for sheep and rabbits alike. The day starts badly John
loses a ferret finder collar in the first bury and blames Darren.
We could cheat and say there is a rabbit down there.
I bet that's a rabbit
But it's a collar.
So how much do those collars cost?
About £60.
And how much does a ferret cost?
But it is all about the animal's welfare and that is why we have the collars on to begin
with because again it isn't fair just because the ferret is only worth pennies, you are
not going to leave it in a place like this just to fight for itself, that's why we put
the collars on.
Very! I shall make sure I put my own collars on next time.
Then things get better and rabbits start bolting.
Nigel and Darren are both nuts about whippets.
I help run a farm called Poachers Rest Forum. We just want to say we want people to see
that whippets are great little dogs. 20 years ago Brian Plumber was trying to create the
all round lurcher he didn't have to look far, the whippet was there they are the ant?? of
the dog world they punch so far above their own weight and they can do anything a good
lurcher can do. Breed 2 whippets together you get a whippet breed 2 lurchers together
and you and you haven't got a clue what you will get. You might pay a little more but
you are saving money in the long run. You are getting a great little dog which as you
can see can cope with any condition here we are in the Yorkshire Dales in places 8 or
9” of snow the dogs weren't cold and shivering and they just carried on doing their job as
you saw.
Darren is one of the top dog people in the country. Nigel runs a Forum too.
A friend of mine called Geoff Hutchins set up the Forum a few years ago because basically
it's quite a large population of owners who use whippets now for work who might traditionally
have owned lurchers I suppose and there wasn't anywhere they could go to sound their opinions
off a lot of the traditional forums were based around showing and racing and there wasn't
really anything available for owners or people who like to work their whippets. So we started
the Forum off and it has been a great success to be honest. We have got members from all
over the world and we work hand in hand with a lot of the other forums, including Darren's.
So of the 2 forums who has got the biggest and best forum?
Mine of course but I am sure Darren would tell you his is the best as well.
What is good is that the internet has brought them all together. Darren from East Anglia,
Nigel from the West Midlands and John from here in north Yorkshire. There is a great
deal to learn from all of them such as John's method of paunching a rabbit without using
a knife. He says his Dad wouldn't give him a knife until he learnt to do it this way.
With all their years of long dog experience they have strong views about the criminal
end of working lurchers.
You are using whippets today but you are a lurcher man?
Yes, I am an advocate of the lurcher. I am more of a traditionalist than the 2 guys.
But you like to draw a line between the illegal use of lurchers and whippets.
Yes, I would like to draw a line between illegal coursing or even poaching. What a lot of people
don't understand is that it is the farmer's land, if you went and asked him I would say
a good 8 times out of 10 he would let you on because you are providing a service, but
if you pull up at a gate and climb over he doesn't know you are there, the implications
of you having an accident on his land then he has to come out, he's worried about his
sheep, he's worried about his cattle are you going to leave gates open. He just needs to
know you are there.
Nice hat John! Always glad to advertise our friends at BASC. Now we would not be ferreting
if we did not lose a ferret and there are always one or two who linger underground while
we are waiting on the surface. The last rabbit from this series of buries has 2 ferrets attached
to it. The Countryside Alliance campaigns for all fieldsports. We are committed to putting
the hare back on the quarry list for whippets, lurchers and greyhounds alike. Visit
[roar from stag]
February is a great month to get on top of wood pigeons. The birds are mature and every
one you knock down counts as it prevents their future offspring from damaging crops later
in the year. Team Wild Killer and Wildy are in the middle of one of their busiest pigeon
shooting months in the year. Today they are on a farm in Staffordshire and they are out
to protect Farmer Fontys precious rape crop from this winged menace.
We have been watching this field for a couple of days now and there a quite a lot of wood
pigeons coming in and feeding on it so we are going to give it a go this morning and
see if we can get some down with the decoys.
The first job is setting out the pattern, drawing those pigeons in like moths to a flame.
Wildy looks after the real birds on the whirly.
In proper Blue Peter fashion we always carry a few in the freezer, I fetched them out the
freezer last night so we can put them on the magnet so that we're not waiting for anything
coming in to have a shot so when we are set and ready to rock we are ready to rock, not
waiting for anything to do the magnets or the dead bird cradles that we have got here.
So I am going to whack these on now before we put the plastic ones out. They'll see the
other pigeons going round on the magnet and on the dead bird cradles and think wow dinner
time look at those boys over there and then they come. So it's just moving them into the
pattern and will hopefully getting them all around here. The ones that are crossing over
on the flight line will bring the others in where we want to shoot them.
Killer is in charge of the plastic ones.
We have got some flock coated decoys here they are like other decoys but they have a
flock coating on them which stops the sun shining or bright light shining back off them.
It takes the glare off them and makes them more realistic. We are going to put these
out in a horse shoe pattern, the idea being we will bring the birds straight in, straight
down the middle of us, straight to the shooting zone. Putting these birds up today on a spring
loaded peg, just adds a bit of movement the idea being you want to get as much movement
into your decoy pattern as well that's why we have the whirlies the flappers and these.
Decoys into the wind facing into the wind, so that any wind catches the bird and gives
a slight bit movement which makes it more attractive to the passing pigeons.
This is not a kit light sport. The boys have a pile of equipment to take into the field.
Once there everything has its place. However, this new lightweight hide could save you lugging
round a few extra pounds with its special telescopic legs.
It is just a case of unlatching these at the back, sliding the hide up, clipping the latches
back down again, so putting them all up together at the same time, making sure you don't pull
them out of the ground and there you have one half of a pigeon hide.
Decoys should face more or less into the wind and the hide must be a masterpiece of camouflage.
It is a good thing the boys are top to toe in real tree.
So does Keith have trouble with dressing himself?
All the time that is why we have to take Carol everywhere with us. It's true.
When everything is in its place and the countryside has settled back down the pigeons start pouring
in. There is little food at this time of year the birds go for anything that looks promising
and these decoys are full of promise. Of course it is not all hard graft and the banter between
the lads is as regular as the shot.
OK we've just been to look for the one that Steven shot, we found a patch of feathers
up there where he stopped, got his breath back had a bit of a laugh then carried on,
there was no body, so a no kill, but that is pigeon shooting, better than being at work
isn't it - definitely.
Having 2 people in a hide is sociable, but it has its safety issues too of which Killer
and Wildly are keenly aware.
Safety is on.
There are some good shots and some excellent shots which of course the camera misses.
Good shot – this camera is a bit ropey today it's missed some of your shots.
Yes, well it's good like that because I like Nick he's a nice man, but professional? We
use the word loosely round here!
At least Bracken is on hand to prove all the birds did really hit the deck.
We take Bracken where ever we go she is very reliable, very steady in the hide, one of
the best Springers we have ever known in fact she even drives Keith home from the pub every
now and again she is that clever.
There are moments to keep a gun safe and there are moments when a gun needs to be dangerous
such as when a pigeon is coming into the pattern and in those dangerous moments it is good
to know that you have got the right gun.
Today we have been shooting this Armsan A612 semi auto shotgun. Imported to the UK through
Viking Arms. Cracking bit of kit comes up well no recoil and for a budget priced shotgun
it really is good. We both shot it today we both shot fairly well with the gun, got a
decent bag very impressed with it.
So, what did Team Wild think of the shooting today.
We have had a great day we have shot 32 pigeons, we have still got 2 to pick which went off
into an ash tree, we watched them we hope they will be dead under there we will go and
fetch them in a bit. So we have had a great day shooting. Both had good fun, we are going
to go round now and make sure we have picked up all the cartridges, all the bags, everything,
make it nice and tidy and leave the ground as we found it.
For more about the Armsan shotgun the guys are using visit Team Wild
UK will be back with avengence next Wednesday visit
[roar of stag]
How did you get into shooting? Well here's how some of our top shots did it.
Here are the top reasons why people say they don't want to try shooting: I don't have a
licence, I don't have a gun, I'm frightened of guns, I couldn't hit a barn door and you
need to start shooting when you are a kid. Sound familiar? Well here are 2 people who
started shooting less than a dozen years ago and they are both representing their country
and winning medals in the sport. Abbey Burton won silver at the Common Wealth Games in 2010
held in India. Peter Wilson earnt England an extra Olympic place when he won silver
at the 2011 Shooting World Cup in Chile.
Well I started shooting with my Grandfather, he basically took me out and I shot a plastic
milk carton on the floor with a 4/10 so that is how I started and then he sent me on for
lessons up at E J Churchills in High Wycombe. I was then spotted by a county representative
which then got me into trap shooting. I then met some friends in trap shooting and then
went on to the GB selections and then went on to compete as a junior abroad.
I was mad keen on cricket and squash at school, they were certainly my main sports. I damaged
my shoulder, I dislocated my left shoulder which broke the nerves and I had to have a
number of operations which meant I had to give up every sort of sport I was involved
with at that time. I had shot before, but never in a serious capacity. The physios were
very keen that I held the weight in my left hand so shooting was a great sport to do.
Every Wednesday we were going out with the school and shooting. The physios were keen
that I carried on, so I carried on and when I came back to everything else I was pretty
rubbish, so I decided to carry on with shooting and I was really enjoying it by then and I
left school as national champion and was just enjoying my shooting.
Stevan Walton is another double trap shooter.
I've got a friend who owns a shooting ground on his land just down the road from where
I live in Redditch, just went there as a kid and progressed to county level shooting down
the line and sporting, then on to England shooting down the line and then Great Britain
for door trap.
George Digweed is probably the best known clay pigeon shooter in the world. In a competition
career spanning 4 decades he has won 19 world titles in the discipline of sporting and FITASC
which is what most people shoot in the UK.
I started when I was about 12, 12 to 14. We had a family butchers business and when Grandfather
used to take me out shooting I had a 4/10 to carry empty. In my view I was given correct
grounding and shooting went on from there really and I became competitive. I am competitive
by nature in everything I do and I wanted to take clay pigeon shooting further as I
thought I possibly had a talent in it and the rest is history really.
How old were you when you won your first memorable competition?
For me my first major win was to win the Home International Chief Championship, shooting
200 straight in 1986 at Melton Mowbray Gun Club. That for me was really my career defining
moment, which said to me as I was driving home, I can do this at the top level.
Clay pigeon shooting is a broad church covering all shotgun sports. Whether you do it at the
top level like George, Stevan, Abbey and Pete or whether you simply enjoy a few shots around
a clay ground with a few mates, it is fun and just as accessible as golf or tennis.
To answer those people who say they don't want to try shooting, you don't need a licence,
you don't have to own a gun, which are nothing to be frightened of. You don't need to start
shooting as a kid. Many people take it up late in life and you can hit a target a lot
smaller than a barn door after just one lesson. Shooting takes a few minutes to learn and
a lifetime to master. The CPSA is the governing body for clay pigeon shooting in England.
It is a membership organisation committed to bringing more people into the sport, as
commercial manager Simon Barber explains.
Trying to attract people into the sport you don't want to frighten them by thinking they
have got to achieve a certain level of attainment from day 1, nobody does. Interestingly enough
we were talking with George Digweed at the Bisley Live very recently and he was advocating
encouraging people to come into the sport at any level, not necessarily with the aspiration
of achieving gold at the Common Wealth Games, but actually just get a taste of the sport
and find out what discipline of clay shooting suits them and then further their abilities
there to the level that suits them. Again it doesn't have to be to competitive level
For more about how to start shooting go to
Well that's enough for this week. We are back next week and if you are watching this on
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This has been Fieldsports Britain.
Many people say what have we got coming up next week, we have no idea!