There is no doubt that the enjoyment of having your own shoot can be immense, weekends in the fresh air building pens, clearing rides, planning game crops, trapping, a bit of pigeon shooting, feeding etc., etc. can be very rewarding and give you a whole year of fun making the shooting season more rewarding.
However, a word of caution, nothing comes cheap these days and once you start buying birds, feed, posts and wire, traps, game cover etc., the bill adds up and simple avoidable mistakes can have a devastating impact on the final result and it won’t be long before questions are asked – is it worth it?
I have recently been invited to a number of shoot meetings and A.G.M’s where I have been pleased to have the opportunity to talk face to face with members and answer questions that they might have relating to BASC or any other shooting / keepering matters. Following my talk or presentation, and over a pint, the conversation usually turns to the dos and do not’s of running small shoots on a part-time basis.
Questions I am often asked include
· My tunnel traps and larson traps have stopped catching. What should I do?
· How do I know if my birds are ill before I start losing them?
· How long should I keep feeding after the shooting season has finished?
· Something is killing the poults, I’m not sure what!
· What is the best / safest way to release poults?
· How should I release ex-lay stock?
· Why do we not see many birds on shoot days when we see plenty in the covers?
· Why can’t we hold partridges on our shoot?
· Why do the cover crops keep failing?
· We have got plenty of woods but the birds won’t hold in them, why?
The list is endless and whilst it can be obvious to the experienced eye, the answer will often elude the amateur.
So, with this in mind and responding to members concerns, the Midland region will develop an awareness day for amateur, part-time keepers and anyone else interested to spend the day on a typical small shoot in the company of experienced keepers and foresters who will demonstrate and talk through all aspects of management enabling attendees to ask questions and learn useful tips.
The day itself will deal with all aspects of running a shoot from planning right through to shoot days and will enable attendees to observe, handle and ask questions as the day progresses.
The venue for the day is a small family owned farm where the owner has run a shoot on a part-time basis for many years, learning from mistakes and slowly developing a workable and successful shoot. Set in the heart of the National Forest on the Derbyshire Leicestershire border the shoot has had its fair share of challenges, most recently over the last ten years changing from a typical small mixed farm with paddocks, arable, spinney’s and game crops into a landscape covered predominately in mixed woodland as the farm joined that National Forest Scheme. With two carp lakes and a stream running from end to end it is the perfect venue to learn about woodland / habitat management, duck, pheasant, partridge, vermin, mink and what ever you want to ask that may be causing you concerns.
As well as myself, with 30 years experience in gamekeeping, our gamekeeping officer Glynn Evans will be in attendance. Glynn has spend the last 24 years as a wild bird keeper on one of the country most prestigious wild partridge shoots and is a an expert in pest control and habitat management . Completing the team will be David Burchell, the owner, who is a forestry consultant and runs training courses in the use of chainsaws to N.V.Q. level. With David’s expertise in forestry and his own experience in running his shoot over the last 25 years, we believe we have the recipe for helping you develop a more successful and enjoyable shoot.
The day will cost £50.00 per person and will include an information pack. Places will be limited but there is no limit on the amount of days that can be held. It is hoped that this day can be held within other regions so please do get in touch if you would like further information.
Please contact the Midland regional centre for further information and register for the first two dates 5th and 12th March 2011.