Fieldsports Britain - Driven grouse, Birr Castle game fair and foxing

Uploaded by fieldsportschannel on 26.09.2012

Welcome to Fieldsports Britain. Coming up Simon Barr, UK Realtree Pro-staffer, is learning
how to protect his pheasants from foxes. We are off to Ireland to Birr Castle Game Fair
where terrier work may be becoming a new Olympic sport.
First, if you ever get the call up and you want to know what to do, here is definitive
guide to what is driven grouse.
There is winged game and then there is winged game. And then there is driven grouse - it
is expensive - it is exclusive but with good reason. Thousands of man hours go into creating
a habitat that will allow these ground nesting Stinger missiles to flourish. And someone
has to pay for it.
Today we join a family-and-friend-day shoot in Yorkshire. We are on Bransdale moor and
are guests of the Wilkinson family. Their estate and their shoot is managed by William
Powell Sporting.
Because we are involved 365 days a year at Bransdale and on our other moors we therefore
have such a tremendous involvement we make sure that every single day does live up to
its expectations.
Mark Osborne from William Powell is the man who will be guiding us through the day - explaining
the dos and the don'ts, butt ettiquette - no tittering in the back row - and why grouse
is flying royalty.
They are really the most extraordinary birds. You get grouse mid September probably as soon
as they see you lift your gun and they flare away up so that where you have shot is not
where the grouse are. Really amazing, an amazing bird. Marvellous.
Before a hard day's shooting there is a hearty breakfast to be had at the recently refurbished
Stoney Woods Manor. This amazing building has been fitted out in preparation for shooting
parties to come and have a ball... on the moor and off it.
There are nine bedrooms with day rooms and dining rooms all with spectacular views across
the great British countryside.
The moor itself is a 25 minute drive away - delving deeper into an uninterrupted moorland
landscape. It truly is a privilege to be here.
There are nine guns today and five drives where the birds come at you at eye level,
so there's safety. There are people everywhere. For this first one we're letting Mark get
his eye in before we start badgering him about how one does things.
Mark shoots four birds - the end of the line does not often deliver the best shooting but
he has done well. Dogs and beaters make sure that all the grouse on the ground are accounted
The second drive is a bit more exposed and we should be able to see the birds coming
at us from a distance. Mark is now in butt three.
Mark has a chance to talk us through the set up... the action can be fast and furious.
Safety is the number one concern.
The first thing I do is to look around me to see the topography, the line of the butts
on either side and the good shooting angle in front of me and then behind. The gun comes
out of the sling we put the gun in front of the butt with 2 cartridges in the gun so that
we are ready, because we are live at any time everybody is in their butts so we can shoot
whenever it is safe and the grouse are coming. We then get our butt sticks and our butt sticks
are positioned by the gun rather than by the loader and these are a frame that make sure
that we cannot shoot into the butts either side. So I look to see where a safe place
to shoot and it is to stop there so the butt stick has a window there which prevents us
from shooting through into the butt on that side. Then we take the other butt stick out
to do the same on the other side. We have got some flankers right up on the ridge there.
They are probably out of shoot, but just to be careful we will put a walking stick in
front so there is no chance of us peppering a fl
anker either. The flankers are flagmen running outside from the end butts, butt number one
and butt number eight on either end and they are to keep the grouse coming in as the drive
comes in.
Once the beaters get to a white marker in front of the guns a horn blows telling the
guns they can now only shoot birds behind - to the rear of the butt. The beaters can
then come right up to the guns.
A second horn means the end of the drive and the birds can be picked. The guns should also
use this disc to mark where the birds have fallen.
Time for a quick break... and an opportunity for us to speak to the man who is shouldering
a lot of the pressure today - the head game keeper. For him this shoot is the culmination
of not months but years of work.
This is the first big moor I have been a head keeper on. I have been the head keeper on
a small moor in Scotland. So coming here this is the first moor I can really put my mark
on and want to smash all records on Bransdale. The record is 4,200 brace for the season and
we would want to get it to 6. I would be very disappointed if we didn't get it to 6. And
also the day record although because it is a let moor getting a team that is willing
to pay for 500 brace of grouse could be quite difficult. So that maybe is not as realistic
a goal, but certainly the season record is the one we want to go for.
Do you love your job?
Yes, you have to. You wouldn't do it if you didn't.
Once fed and watered, there is more sport to be had. For this third drive, we join one
of the best game shots in the world. Simon Ward. Simon used to compete very successfully
on the clay circuit but now concentrates on teaching sporting guns how to deal with a
bird flying at just above ground level at 65mph.
So as we have him cornered, it would be rude not to ask him for a few pearls of wisdom.
First of all it would be safety and the second major tip would be learn to mount the gun
accurately on to a moving object. In this situation you have got grouse coming in at
eye level and if you tend to stand too upright and mount the gun with your head up in that
position like so you are looking at the grouse but the barrel will be beneath your eye. So
the idea is that with anything at your eye level or below you bring your head forwards
so your balance comes over your front foot and as you mount the gun on to the bird the
gun comes up to the cheek naturally and when it comes to crunch your lead eye, my left
eye, is in effect the back sight. If I stand too upright with my head up my eye will be
in this position and as a consequence I will be looking at the grouse up here and the barrel
will be beneath my eye so I will shoot low. So if you start with your head a little bit
further forwards, nose over your toes and then bring the gun up naturally to the eye,
now the gun will shoot where I look.
We don't get much shooting but what does fly past doesn't need a second barrel.
Lunch means a three-course meal in this wonderful carriage. Life is good and so is the food.
And so is the shooting - for the penultimate drive again we join Simon. This is the drive
we've been waiting for
With the weather cooling, the birds are flying really fast. Nothing gets past Simon.
I am sure you can see from the film it was all fairly exciting stuff and the grouse were
whizzing around left, right and centre and a few nice coveys coming through. We had to
pick the right bird and set ourself up for a left and right and one or two tricky ones
out the back. You have seen it in the flesh there. That is driven grouse shooting in all
its glory.
For the last drive, we are really pushing the boat out. There is a chance of using a
fourth barrel - sort of - Mark is shooting a pair of William Powell Zenith side-by-sides.
Why is it important to have good guns when you are grouseshooting?
To me it is lovely to shoot with a traditional gun, the side by side. The design of these
guns is based on Holland and Holland action and it hasn't changed for about 100 years.
So that actual design of that action is nearly 100 years old and Holland and Hollands are
still made today exactly like that and there is something really inherently wonderful about
shooting with that traditional gun in this very traditional environment.
If there were a place where these deserve an outing it is here and Mark believes that
a side by side is actually better suited to grouse.
When you are shooting high pheasants or partridges, having that tremendous balance of that over
and under which goes on a single plain and doesn't flick about is a great advantage.
When you are shooting a bird which is jinking right to left and backwards and forward like
a grouse will do, having a gun that you can put into your shoulder and move it very quickly,
a side by side is that gun and is probably an advantage.
With the odd covey coming through, the loader and guns are busy - and Mark is once again
having some sport. It has been a fabulous day and we have bagged 102 brace.
Grouse shooting is deep-seated in the fabric of this country. It is high octane sport,
that brings so many added benefits from conservation to cash for rural communities, and there is
a super social side whether you are gun or a beater.
If you want to book some grouse shooting or would just like to find out more about the
estates managed by William Powell, go to and if you want to turn up with a pair of
smart William Powell shotguns in the back of your car - prices start at £7,500 for
a pair of side by sides or £4,500 for a pair of over-and-unders. For more information go
Now from open moorland to a closed mind. It's David on the Fieldsports Channel News Stump.
This is Fieldsports Britain News.
A wildlife charity is claiming that shooting magazines should join other kinds of magazines
on the top shelf in news agents. Animal Aid claims that lurid pro-violence content of
country sports magazines could have a corrosive, long lasting effect on impressionable young
minds. Professor Peter Squires of the University of Brighton goes on to say the magazines such
as Shooting Times and the Field are a kind of shooting porn. He clearly doesn't realise
that both shooting porn and traditional porn is readily available on the internet. Apparently.
The Paraolympics are set to get under way. The shooters are competing from the 30th August
to the 6th September. Great Britains 12th person team includes Di Coates in her 8th
Paraolympic games and the 2008 gold medallist Matt Skellern who may also win a medal for
his hair.
BASC is hosting a number of events to help people improve their shooting skills. There
are one day courses with classroom and practical sessions with BASC staff and BASC accredited
shotgun coaches. They cost £65 for a BASC member and £100 for a non member and are
being held all over England and Wales. Visit
And finally, Essex was briefly excited over the weekend when there were reported sightings
of a lion on the loose. However, police believe it is a domestic cat.
You are now up to date with Fieldsports Britain News. Stalking the stories. Fishing for facts.
Next - it's all the fun of the fair the Irish Game & Country Fair at Birr Castle, Co Offaly
Now here's how to turn terrierwork into an Olympic sport for Rio 2016. Birr Castle hosts
the finals of the All-Ireland Hole Digging competition.
When I started the shows there was very little to do. After the initial show when the thing
was over. There was always plenty of banter in the rings who can dig and who couldn't
dig. We have had some varied comments over this competition. One wee lad reckoned he
was digging like his Granny that was his way of spurring him on. It all comes down to digging
towers. So it does. northern Ireland is to promote it in a good light on TV as
we all know it is only promoted in a bad light so it is our way of saying we are all a varied
range of people there is nothing wrong with it.
Triumph again. 2 years in a row now, 2 years in a row.
From spades to guns. You could hear the bangs of the shooting line during the hole-digging.
The clay shoot at the Birr Castle game fair is organised by the local pheasant shoot
We are the hosts game keepers in the castle here at Birr and we are hosting this clay
shooting on behalf of the clay game fairs.
So you are more used to real pigeons than clay pigeons.
Oh yes. Well we are game shooters in heart and we are doing this I suppose to support
our shooting. We are predominantly pheasant shooters and duck shooters. Well all forms
of game really.
Birr Castle attracts standholders from all over Ireland. William Holmes runs his tackle
and fishing business in Northern Ireland, where it has been a bumper year for salmon
It has been very very good up round Derry and up round the County Derry end, the County
Derry and Antrim.
With the .....system and the ......system?
Yes, with the .....system and the ......system. There has been a few of them with quite a
few regulation changes this year where a few rivers are total catch and release. A lot
of the rivers they have cut down on the number of fish that people can take. That is really
a reaction to the number of rod caught salmon over the last few years. The ban system has
gone totally catch and release so it has and we saw the figures very much up.
Everyone here is a hunter, shooter, fisher, in short, imbued with Irish spirit. Ireland
is a paradise for fieldsports enthusiasts. But there is a threat on the horizon. Birr
this year sees a call to action by a new pro-hunting group supported by all the major Irish fieldsports
RISE is the acronym for rural alliances which is a movement of country sport organisations
and indeed other country organisations who are concerned with how our way of life in
the countryside is being pressurised and even being regulated out of existence and it is
a common popular uprising if you like of rural Ireland in defence of its way of life.
Senior government officials insist the bill is no threat to hunting in Ireland but, after
the English experience, the locals here are taking no chances.
There is vast support which has been demonstrated today by the RISE campaign the amount of feeling
out there in the rural communities that they will not accept this change and people have
to respect our livelihood and our heritage.
It has been another great show organised by Great Game Fairs of Ireland. Philip Lawton
is one of the organisers
Shooting, hunting, fishing, dog work, fly casting, giant telescopes, canon re-enactments,
medieval nasty pieces going around and butchering each other in the arena - well at least there
will be no blood spilt.
Next Realtree TV Pro-Staffer Simon Barr is protecting his pheasants from foxes.
The harvest is just about over now and it is a critical time of year if you have got
pheasants on a farm. The young naive foxes are still about and this will give us a perfect
opportunity now the crops have come off to see if we can mop a few of them up before
the pheasant shooting season starts proper.
I am out this evening with fox shooter Gary Tate. He has got a couple of new pieces of
kit to see whether or not they will make any difference on the foxing that he normally
does. It looks like quite an interesting contraption you have got on top of the quad bike. What
is going on here. What is it all about?
Well it is a shooting frame which I am trying this year. It is manufactured by K & A Services
and I am giving it a go to see how I get on with it. I usually use just a front mount
rest and throw myself over that, but with this the idea is that you can shoot all around.
It has a place to rest your rifle when you are not using it. It has a place to hang game
on the back of it as well if you are out rabbiting. And for me the main advantage that I like
is the fact that I have got somewhere to put my lamp when I am not holding it and not picking
up foxes so if I go on my own this does give me the versatility to shoot on my own and
to mount the lamp whilst I am taking the shot.
So what would you like me to do this evening Gary?
Well tonight Simon I think all I would like you to do is watch and see how I go about
doing things if I was out on my own and if we do find a fox, I'll get set up, you pass
me the rifle, I'll take the shot. Hopefully there is plenty out here, we should see some
action very early on.
Do you think I might get a chance at a fox?
There could well be a chance of a fox or two, I think. Yes.
Excellent, excellent.Ok, well why don't we get set up and make for some foxes.
Good let's go.
Tonight we are lamping only 2 large areas of the same farm. Gary has already taken half
a dozen foxes off this stubble, but he knows it promises more. There is even the chance
of an urban fox from the local village. The quad bike is a great tool for this type of
work and we cover a lot of ground scanning as we go for foxes and those deep ruts which
would make my life on the back of the quad very uncomfortable.
A couple of fields on and we get our first set of eyes. Gary barks to keep it interested
and starts calling with the lamp off the target. I lower the lamp to the sitting fox to fully
illuminate it for Gary to see it through the scope and the fox instantaneously drops. Here
it is again right to frame. It is a great start.
Quite small in the body isn't it?
It is quite small in the body. But for me it is a pleasing result because being a vixen
this is going to go on. This is going to produce more. The same philosophy I use and is used
within the deer world. If you want to control deer numbers you shoot females you don't go
shooting males. The same goes for foxes. It only takes one dog fox to cover another female.
Here we have got a vixen she is now out of the breeding programme, so we have got a job
well done.
And a very good shot Gary.
Thank you very much.
Many fox shooters choose ballistic tipped bullets when after charlies. Tonight Gary
is using 243 ammunition loaded by a friend of ours. He is using my new Blaser Professional
Success with its ergonomically designed pistol grip stock.
These are 70 grain ballistic tip home loaded rounds. The ballistic tip gives us a very
fast expanding bullet so what happens on impact is that this polymer tip here is driven back
into the bullet forcing the bullet to rapidly expand and lose as much energy inside the
animal as possible without penetrating through. We are not looking for a blood track. We are
not looking for a bleeding hole. We are looking for an instantaneous dead animal and this
bullet will you that.
We cover acres of ground. Gary knows the lay of the land on this farm, so he could probably
drive blind folded, but it is sensible not to. The badgers have dug some enormous sets.
The perfect trap for a quad bike. We light up fox number 2. Gary once again decisively
finds the target. This time it is a youngster.
What have you managed to knock over there.
It is another vixen Simon, which pleases me. This is definitely a cub. You can tell. Very,
very fluffy, furry coat as opposed to hair - more fluff than hair. Definitely a cub.
Much, much smaller teeth. Almost pristine condition.
And Gary that ballistic tip has literally taken that fox apart hasn't it?
It would have felt absolutely nothing would it?
Now it is my turn on the Blaser and I hope there are still some ....targets for me to
have a shot at. On the next sweep we find one. The quad multi make rest gives me a steady
shot and I have comfortably accounted for another female.
So what was that about 100 metres or so Gary?
It was about 100 metres away mate. It is nicely shot. Straight through the neck. Good shot,
clean kill. Another vixen. This time quite an older one. I would say very old actually.
Comparatively speaking tonight, I think everything has been quite young, but this one is quite
I am very, very pleased with that.
Good shot.
I tell you what the rest on the quad bike made a massive difference, being able to rest
my right elbow, it was kind of bench rest conditions to be able to take that shot. It
was excellent.
The reason why I put the rest on there was because I have always been able to rest as
every one can on the front of the bike, on a rest on the front of the bike, but you always
find if you are right handed that your elbow is flapping around in the wind and that is
really what you are looking for that sort of bench rest set up where you are absolutely
solid and then you know you are going to get a good shot.
Yes. I mean I felt very comfortable there when I took the shot.
It was a good shot. Well done.
Having covered every field on this side of the farm we hitch up and head off to the other
side, a couple of miles away.
The pheasant release pens are located on this part of the farm, so it is crucial we eliminate
as many foxes as possible. The first foxes we spot make for cover and will not stand.
Gary thinks these animals know a little too much and have been lamped unsuccessfully before.
We lift the lamp hoping they might drop their guard, but to no avail. We drive through the
cover crop and again spot a fox which knows the score. Eventually we get a response which
we all hoped for. The fox stops long enough for me to shoot. Amazingly the lamp's beam
picks up the path of the bullet as it sent across the field which you can clearly see.
It is a satisfying long walk to retrieve it. Gary reckons it is about 180 metres which
I am very pleased with. It is a mature dog fox.
Gary thank you very much. It has been a brilliant evening. 4 foxes, 3 vixens and that last dog
fox which I am particularly happy with.
That was a very good fox.
It was a very good fox. 180 metres, nice and steady and he dropped to the shot very, very
Yes. Good shot.
Yes, very pleased with that. So thank you very much. I have learnt a huge amount this
evening about the way that you fox. The techniques that you use. There were a few that weren't
standing this evening.
Yes, if they are not going to stand, leave them alone. Don't start taking wild shots
at them because you won't get another chance.
Yes, it is a delicate process isn't it?
Yes. We left quite a lot this evening.
Are you happy with 4?
Yes. Very happy with it. It was a good evening. Taking out the vixens I always think is worth
while, they are the breeding animals.
So 3 to 1 ratio tonight. So Gary thank you very much.
You are welcome. Well done.
Foxing is such an important job. As a crafty predator they can really impact a pheasant
shoot. So accuracy and commitment are needed to outwit this most cunning of adversaries.
It is a hugely satisfying task when it goes right and pleasing to know that many more
birds will make it to the season.
If you like this show why not tune into Teamwild TV to see my buddy Ian Harford on his latest
bow hunting adventure to Hungary where he takes the monster boar at 8 yards.
If you enjoy shooting you will love the shooting show. This week it is a call to action for
rim fire and airgun shooters. Episode 16 of the shooting show is the pest control bonanza.
Byron Pace makes it a family matter as his brother Daryl joins him to deal with rabbits
on a new shooting ground in the Angus Glens. South of the border Byron is joined by Sporting
Rifle writer, Tony Megson, for airgun pest control on a Yorkshire farm curbing the population
of pigeons that roost in the barn and contaminate the feed. There is another big bag to be had
here provided the pair can avoid angering the resident pigs.
If you are watching this on Youtube you can click on the screen behind me to go straight
through to the shooting show.
Next it is Hunting YouTube.
This is Hunting YouTube, which aims to show the best hunting, shooting and fishing videos
that YouTube has to offer.
We start with Mark Gilchrist hanging out with a beatiful girl. Star of the Scandinavian
hunting world Kristoffer Clausen joins Mark for a day's pigeon and goose and, crucially,
he brings Kristine Thybo Hansen. Kristoffer promises an actionpacked episode. Not that
kind of action.
We make fims for GunOnPegs but occcasionally, they get hold of their own cameras. And here
they are with a pair of the new I-KAM glasses, which puts the camera right between your eyes,
which makes for good filming when they are doing the same with shot at pigeons. Love
the oldfashioned hessian pigeon hide. They should get that listed.
The Arab spring saw North Africa join up on YouTube en masse. And some of them are hunters.
Here is MNayyer from Tunisia showing off his HPR and catching birds with it. Might not
be your bag but shows what the world is up to.
It's open to argument but not with me. Top of the saltwater flyfishing world is permit
- and here is AddictiveFishing spinning for them. Dear me. Give him both barrels will
you James? But you do get to see plenty of fish in this film, made off Boca Grande, Florida.
The new motto for KineticFishing is 'shut up and fish'. Cannibals on the Hunt - Big
Perch Fishing in Midwater is a romp set to rock and roll through catching five big perch,
from 1.2kg to 1.6kg (that's three to three-and-a-half pounds), somewhere in Scandinavia. They shut
up and they fish.
Roebuck hunting in Scotland is the kind of holiday video anyone would be pleased to show.
OK, it's a bit wobbly but it's a great showcase for a Czech stalker's trip to Britain's last
great wilderness. Bad news for VisitScotland, he chooses the theme tune to The Last of the
Mohicans as his soundtrack.
Now for some good ol'd American knowhow. The National Shooting Sports Federation offers
its definitive guide to shooting off anything but prone with former Army Ranger sniper team
leader Ryan Cleckner. If you are American, watch and learn from Shooting Positions in
the Field - NSSF Shooting Sportscast. If you are from anywhere else, you will probably
find something wrong with it, but that's nationalism for you.
Now it's hard to find anything wrong with Doug and Regis Giles. : They are on a wild
boar hunt in Florida. These guys' homspun enthusiasm is a big part of the American YouTube
hunting scene. Doug runs, Regis runs and she is
is using a double rifle in 9.3x74 with some success on a pineywood rooter.
You can click on any of these films to watch them. If you have a YouTube film you would
like us to pop in to the weekly top eight, send it in via YouTube, or email me the link
Well if you are watching this on Youtube please hit our subscribe button that is somewhere
on the outside of the screen there or go to our show page
where you can subscribe to just this show which is out every Wednesday from 7 o'clock
or go to our website scroll down to the bottom. You can put your
email address into the constant contact box there and we will get in touch with you. Or
you can click to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. This has been Fieldsports Britain
from County Offaly Birr Castle Game Fair.