The 29th October saw Roger Draycott and myself tutoring the next generation of game shooters and conservationists on our young shooter’s course. I have to say that this is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Several of the young delegates had travelled from far and wide to join the day – showing real dedication. The day started quietly with everyone a little unsure and apprehensive but as the day developed many of the youngsters had clearly made great friends and were chatting away between the presentations and activities.
We began with the clay shooting, ably run by Explore 4x4 and the first job was to hand out ear defenders, eye protection, demonstrate how to handle the guns safely and check for eye dominance. Once this had been established the shooting began at a variety of crossing and going away targets offering something for the complete novice or more experienced shooter alike. Shooting and safe gun handling occupied the morning and then after an excellent lunch we headed back out to talk about game and wildlife management.
Roger’s parent’s farm is tucked away not far from Newmarket and is typical of the area. An excellent effort is made to balance a viable farming business with plenty of opportunities for game and wildlife to thrive through environmental stewardship and the youngsters learnt about hedgerow management, wild-bird covers, over-wintered stubbles, woodland and pond creation. This gave us plenty to talk about and demonstrate to the group.
We also covered at length the subject of legal, humane and target specific predation control demonstrating the different methods available and how to use them properly. This in particular generated a number of questions and clearly had the group captivated.
The rain unfortunately closed in during the afternoon which was timely for us to head back under cover to run a short quiz testing the group on what they had learnt about game management during the day. We concluded the day with a pigeon preparation demonstration showing how to remove the crown from a bird and also fully pluck and gut ready for the oven. Each delegate was given their own bird to dress and then take home with them and I must say they were very well prepared.
Register your interest
We run Young Shooter’s courses for 12-15 year olds around the country. If you have an aspiring young shot at home why not email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest. We would be delighted to let you know when next year’s course dates and locations are finalised.
The GWCT is enormously grateful to the Norman Clarke fund, which has provided funding for this series of courses for youngsters. The late Norman Clarke was an immensely popular shooting instructor for Holland and Holland.