Game and wildlife management students from across England and Wales competed at the first clay shoot challenge for students of gamekeeping organised by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). Eighty eight students from nine colleges tackled a difficult 100 bird sporting layout at the BASC Gamekeeping College Challenge at Doveridge Clay Shooting Ground, Derbyshire, on 16th March.
BASC’s game and gamekeeping officer, Stephen Toft, said: "This event is just one of the ways in which BASC is supporting colleges which provide courses in gamekeeping. Over the years the work of the gamekeeper has evolved and employers now require a different type of game manager. BASC recognises the need for change and for high quality training given that these students will play an important part in the future of shooting. This is why we are keen to support the colleges and students who are the backbone of the profession."
The winning team of four from Sparsholt College, Hampshire, scored 258 points out of a possible 400 and took the BASC Gamekeeping College Challenge Shield. The team consisted of Keegan Walker, Gary Thurgood, Matthew Bird and Nathan Jewell. Top high gun Andy Newman from Shuttleworth College, Bedfordshire, scored 79 points out of a possible 100, winning a pair of boots from Bushwear, binoculars and a gun slip. The top three individual high scores qualified to shoot at BASC’s National Gamekeeper Clay Shoot final at BASC’s Gamekeepers’ Fair at Catton Park in Derbyshire on 18th April 2010.
Rod Greenwood, course tutor at Sparsholt College, said: “BASC’s event was hugely rewarding for all the students who took part at Doveridge, they produced a good range of testing clays for the event.”
Steve Bignell, tutor at Coleg Gwent, Usk, said: “The initiative from BASC gamekeeping team is great for the promotion of gamekeeping courses and the chance for the colleges to get together. ‘Keepering is a solitary job and students need experience in the social aspects of the industry. I feel this event is not only good for the students’ morale but will help to teach them networking skills that can only benefit them and the industry in years to come.”
Anthony Wright, a second year student at Plumpton College in East Sussex, said: “It was a very enjoyable day with excellent sporting birds and I would always go again.”
Other colleges which took part were Newton Rigg College, Cumbria; Myerscough College, Lancashire; Easton College, Norfolk; Moreton Morrell College, Warwickshire and Lackham College, Wiltshire. The event was sponsored by Janssen Animal Health, Bushwear, the Sportsman Gun Centre in Exeter, animal health tonic Verm-X and the BASC Gamekeepers’ Advisory Committee.
Pictured is the winning team from Sparsholt College with Robert Crofts, chairman of BASC’s Gamekeepers’ Advisory Committee.