Around the GWCT shoots

GWSDF Auchnerran Shoot

The shoot had a bit of a shake-up last season. Our small, wild bird shoot has always produced some challenging sport with a mixed bag of pheasants, pigeons, woodcock, the odd duck and lots of rabbits. Last season we hoped to expand slightly to better exploit the population of wild pheasants that we have. We put out additional feeders covering extra ground to support the wintering pheasants more effectively and placed them to encourage the birds into areas appropriate for driving.

The game crops established well and looked the best we have had yet – though the advice from Alan Johnson from Kings Crops earlier in the year had to be delivered remotely. Unfortunately, our monitoring of the autumn stock of pheasants was not as thorough as usual as we had staff on furlough, but we were confident that the game had responded to our management. Obviously Covid restrictions complicated shooting and curtailed our offering with a reduced number of mixedspecies and rabbit days. For more information see our annual report.

Allerton Project Shoot, Loddington

Despite the disruption of various lockdowns and additional restrictions throughout the winter, the whole shoot team achieved an incredibly successful (but short) season which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Covid restrictions meant that guns travelled in their own vehicles and enjoyed a very substantial al fresco elevenses in place of a sitdown lunch, and beaters walked between drives where possible. Lockdown also presented challenges for some areas of the shoot in terms of bird disturbance from nearby heavily used public footpaths, but gamekeeper, Matt Coupe, did a fantastic job of retaining and presenting very sporting birds in sometimes challenging conditions.

Matt was busy catching up and dispatching excess cock birds at the end of the season to reduce predation pressures to ground flora and fauna this spring. These birds go directly into the food chain with local suppliers. We will continue with some woodland work in the pens to improve holding and flushing areas in some drives ready for next season. We are also undertaking a comprehensive late winter and spring supplementary feeding programme to ensure the gamebirds are in good condition going into the breeding season.

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