When the days get shorter and colder, and the time of misty mornings and hard frosts approaches, the pheasant season begins. From 1st October to 1st February driven quarry are shot on farms and estates across England, and the shooting season is something my Dad and I are always part of. My Dad is a member of a small syndicate and when I’m back from uni for a weekend and over Christmas I go along to beat.
A couple of weeks ago the syndicate held a pre-season clay shoot. It was designed for all the guns to get their eye in before the season begins with a few different stands with different directions and speeds of clays, and a competition running between the guns. There was also a have-a-go stand for a warm up and for friends and family to come along who wouldn’t normally shoot, to try some easy clays and see what they could do. This is where I spent most of my time (most of the friends and family that had come along seemed more interested in the BBQ than the shooting) and it’s fair to say I was in need of a bit of practice! Having barely shot before and with no proper instruction I fired cartridge after cartridge and the clays went sailing on past. I didn’t miss ALL of them, but I’m not telling you how many I hit!
Dad’s always keen for me to learn to shoot and decided that I was in need of a shooting lesson before I go back to uni. So off we went to the Oxford Shooting School for one of their have a go sessions, using Dad’s gun because I’d be more likely to use that in the future so I should get used to that. We started on an easy stand, clays just coming slowly up and over. I was showed where they would go, where the gun should be in relation to the clays and *blat blat blat* they smashed into thousands of pieces. Brilliant! We moved onto the next stand, and again the clays shattered. We used such a variety of stands: driven game, rabbits, left-right, high birds, the clays kept coming and I kept hitting them!
50 cartridges later it was time to call it a day, and I was beaming! I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t just hit a few, I’d hit loads! It just shows what a bit of tuition can do! I hope to go back there and have a go by myself, and although I don’t expect to hit the same % as I did on Saturday I hope I can at least hit more than the odd one! I really was looked after so massive thanks have to go to everyone at the Oxford Shooting School.
And who knows, in a season or two I might even be out in the field after a brace of pheasant.
Thanks for reading,