Monday, 27 August 2007

More Clays shot at!






The BBQ passed well enough, about 60 guests gorged on Bambi burgers, bangers and free range food on the saturday evening. I didnt think it would go as well as I spent saturday morning collecting used curry paste drums from Sevenoaks. I managed to get 20 in the trailer and only had to stop once to load them back on! Anyway we eventually all awoke, dragged ourselves to breakfast and loaded the trap on the trailer. Richard delivered us all safely and we used the last clearing of coppice to present coming on birds over head. I as usual showed off. I'll find those pictures and save them for later!


We ran a coming on type of skeet match at the end with a bit of poaching going on!

Today was spent walking around an 80+ acre ancient wood over near Rotherfield. the client wants to buy it and set up a little pheasant shoot. It seems money isnt an issue and he wants it pricing up! Some work for the train to town this week as I have two days surveying before I go to Cornwall!
I spent this afternoon making feeders from the curry drums and loaded them and the two big feed bins onto my little car! Nothing fell off but I struggled to make 60mph on the bypass. Feeders all stockpiled now, wheat or corn is ready for collection next weekend. So next weekend I'll start to put the feeders out away from the pen. As the birds have started to grow tail feathers I'll remove the feeders from the pen by the end of the month or at least cut it down to one!
I have the drives worked out, now to plot the drives, feeders and peg out the stands. There is also a footbridge to put in next month before it gets too wet!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Corncrake or Marsh Harrier?

A late finish on Friday night having taken a new client out to one of my woods. I had hoped knowing he has his DSC level 1 that he would be hot stuff, sadly he had only stalked once before, although he knew his stuff this was a practical stalk. I took my Bitch Sheba out and she certainly pointed a few deer. Plenty of fresh droppings and when we had worked our way around into the wind I called in a Roe Doe and a Button Buck that was with her.
Nigel couldnt get into a decent position to take the shot and they were less than 40 yards away. I was gutted but at least we saw deer. On the way back to the car we saw a large family group of Fallow and the two Roe appeared fleetingly. I'll have to go back there again.






Saturday morning and after the cash and carry booze run (BBQ Next Saturday) I went out to another shoot (I'm a member of this one but for weekend duck flighting as they shoot pheasants on a Friday!) to help with some fencing that was needed. Typical work party day only 3 others there and two of those had the fence in hand. I went over to the Keeper, Mike, and helped him erect some goal posts. These are made from chestnut fencing rejects and are used to suspend feeders. They seem to be quicker than putting legs on feeders so I'll raise a few on my shoot.







This shoot differs from mine in that it has open fields, strips of cover crop such as Shorgum and maize. It prompted me to collect some abandoned chestnut cuttings on my shoot and I'll start making some new feeder posts later on as its almost time to get the grain in and feed the birds outside the pen! Putting out the feeders we were surprised by either a Marsh Harrier or a Corncrake. Now the Harier is the likely bird but it is difficult to be sure.






Anyway, my dogs were fed up with being in the car so I let them have a run around the woods on my shoot. I caught up with the woodsman and we discussed his workload, making chestnut laths. All done by hand!

I collected enough wood for a start and I need to get some drives cleared slightly to allow us to beat them this coming season. The birds are growing well and when found outside the pen are starting to fly already!





Back to town for a monkey suit fitting, I'm giving away my sister in 2 weeks time (Iknow but I dont think I'd get much on E Bay for her!) so a monkey suit it is. I have resisted the same suit as the others route and have finally found a use for my Regimental Cravatte:
The only problem is the wife thinks I look like the Fat Controller, and she picked the suit!


I thought I'd leave you with a gratuitous dogs and wood picture! I have a few long days work to put in and may be delayed posting again

Thursday, 16 August 2007

The pond

or not as it would seem. Just after taking the lease on this wood I found a couple of old maps in Waterstones. One was 1813 and the other was 1920. Both of these maps showed the wood. Now reading the blurb sent me by the land agent about it being semi ancient woodland so I was pleased. Both maps showed a couple of ponds in the south eastern corner. I have been around these this evening whilst dogging in the birds. One of the ponds seems full if a little stale as there is no flow.
The pond on the highest point just behind the pen is a dried up mud wallow. I would like to consider clearing it out but where to start? I would like to clear a lot of the chestnut away from the surrounds which will clear a flight path in amongst the oaks. I wood have to get a digger in to clear the pond
There was definetly a pond here and if we keep the shoot then releasing ducks and feeding a restored pond will be a great bonus allowing us to shoot on a sunday evening.
I followed the dried out overflow stream down hill away from the old dried out pond. It hasnt seen any water from a long time! I think there might be a way of getting grants to pay for some of the work so anyone that knows if this is possible please let us know!


Well we got some rain at last, this resulted in my getting the car stuck and having to use low ratio to get off the wood. The birds are now all being fed from hoppers in the pen to get them used to when we push them out. I refurbished my free standing feeders with New Nozzles from Patrick Pinker Game farm and bought some extras to be hung from trees in the clearings.


I'll start to site and fill the outside feeders next week as the birds are starting to wander around the outside of the pen.

There is of course the need to get some wheat in as the grower pellets I have bought will run out at some point and I'd like to start mixing wheat in soon. The birds will need the wheat, I will need a supplier and with all the rain recentlyharvests are definetly runnng late!
The good news is that the birds seem to be taking food from the feeder nozzles, roosting at dusk (See picture) and I am now cleaning the waterers each evening before dogging in around the pen to encourage the wanderers to use the pop hole and go back inside to safety. I think from the original 102 birds we are down to 92 or 93 now.
I have plotted 3 drives and am working out how to beat them with 3 beaters to 4 guns.
Fun and games, at least I was back last night watching the gogglebox by 9pm with a generous glass of Jamesons in my grubby mit!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

A day at the clays

We (a friend and I, his son, and my youngest) spent a few hours today out on the wood breaking clays. Last year I bought a Laporte 75 trap (it holds 75 clays) and it works on a 50 metere lead using a car battery. A great toy as they supplied a pallette of clays with it and I still havent got through them yet!

Dusting clays:
This was Nick attempting to scare a disc of bitumen that had done him no harm.
He spent most of the day taking photos with his new digital camera but when persuaded behind the butt from the lens he shot a lot better than last year!
I'll post more pics later. we visited the pen and cleaned out the waterers, caught up a couple of errant birds and generally had a big boys couple of hours away from the wives!
Nick is the coach of the football team that my son plays for, this is about the only non ball related sport he gets to do. He is getting better.

Thursday, 9 August 2007



I thought that with all the talk of pheasants going on some would think I have forgotten Bambi. Not so I am extremely busy at the altar of filthy lucre which while being a pain in the whatsit allows me to carry out my core activities, slotting Bambis.

Above are featured a couple of Roebucks from last years season. Both good cull targets one badly deformed and the other going back and quite elderly. These pair were a result of a morning assesment stalk on Joes land near my own but with a client who is really a very good shooting mate. He is a Kiwi and a very fast learner, after missing many opportunities over the year he spent an ages at the Running Deer at Bisley and the result was an amazing ability to shoot moving deer. He also was placed in the top 3 at 1000, 1100 and 1200 yards match rifle this year!

This one is a nice silver medal head that Joe guided me to a couple of years ago. Nice fella and if anyone wants guided stalking he will take those that I cant.


This one eventually came back from the taxidermists:









I think you'll agree he did a nice job and it sits on my office wall at home! Well worth the wait!


If you want to know how it all started then one morning about 7 years ago after many years of rabbit shooting I was dropped off in a high seat to wait for dawn. Along came the biggest animal I had ever seen through a telescopic sight!:

And as they say it was all downhill from here!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007




Well, The youngest and I went for a wander around the wood, checked the pen, topped up the feeders and washed the waterers.



Alex watched his pup run onto the electric fence protecting the pen whilst chasing Hiltz our errant escapee around the outside of the pen.
I have still to meet our woodsman but if the weather is good this weekend I'll see him when we have our pre season warm up clay shoot.
The area in the picture above is where he turns the harvested Chestnut Coppice into fence posts and pailings. He has a nice set up and if I had no mortgage its the life I'd choose!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Update on the birdies

Bad news this morning, Janie our local semi naked dog walker (you'll have to see her to believe me) had called in a find of 5 dead birds. Good egg she bagged them up and I collected them this evening. I spoke with her and we discussed the Steve Mc Queen Character Hiltz, the cock bird that keeps doing a runner, the canny bird comes back at dusk for his feed, ever so important to keep the pop hole open. luckily a local vet gave advice so wait a few more days and if we lose more the they will do a PM for £25. bargain compared to the rip off merchants that sting me for my pack of mutts.
Still a good look around the woods today with my 9 spaniels and we found a few good drives, a few good sites for feeders and a spot for a clay shoot this sunday. I will now sniff around for a couple of guests as we need at least 4 all told, 1 walking and 3 standing, after all its only a friendly little DIY shoot!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

The Eagle has Landed



Well the pheasants at least!
Here I am putting in a new gate post as the fly tipping Pikey b*sterds from the local dole queue (town) ripped the old one out so we sank a new pair in about 6 foot deep!







Here I am a couple of weeks ago running the chicken wire out for the pen, we used as many existing trees as possible for fence posts and utilised the coppiced chestnut available in the wood for where we needed posts.




Here is our pen with the unusual gate from the inside, still despite our manic attempts to put up an electric fence:




We did manage to get the perimeter fence for our pheasant pen built in time!


With water plumbed in the small amount of 100 poults was delivered eventually and seem to have settled in ok. One or two escapees that we have put back each evening since and all seems well. Despite sods law prevailing with the plumbing they seem to be happy! Just a battle to ensure Charley and his friends dont get in!



So a couple or so months to go and we can start killing the little blighters!