Fieldsports Britain – Driven grouse, Birr Castle game fair and foxing, episode 144

Fieldsports Britain – Driven grouse, Birr Castle game fair and foxing, episode 144

[Music] Welcome to Fieldsports Britain. Coming up
Simon Barr, UK Realtree Pro-staffer, is learning how to protect his pheasants from foxes. We
are off to Ireland to Birr Castle Game Fair where terrier work may be becoming a new Olympic
sport. First, if you ever get the call up and you
want to know what to do, here is definitive guide to what is driven grouse. There is winged game and then there is winged
game. And then there is driven grouse – it is expensive – it is exclusive but with good
reason. Thousands of man hours go into creating a habitat that will allow these ground nesting
Stinger missiles to flourish. And someone has to pay for it. Today we join a family-and-friend-day shoot
in Yorkshire. We are on Bransdale moor and are guests of the Wilkinson family. Their
estate and their shoot is managed by William Powell Sporting. Because we are involved 365 days a year at
Bransdale and on our other moors we therefore have such a tremendous involvement we make
sure that every single day does live up to its expectations. Mark Osborne from William Powell is the man
who will be guiding us through the day – explaining the dos and the don’ts, butt ettiquette – no
tittering in the back row – and why grouse is flying royalty. They are really the most extraordinary birds.
You get grouse mid September probably as soon as they see you lift your gun and they flare
away up so that where you have shot is not where the grouse are. Really amazing, an amazing
bird. Marvellous. Before a hard day’s shooting there is a hearty
breakfast to be had at the recently refurbished Stoney Woods Manor. This amazing building
has been fitted out in preparation for shooting parties to come and have a ball… on the
moor and off it. There are nine bedrooms with day rooms and
dining rooms all with spectacular views across the great British countryside. The moor itself is a 25 minute drive away
– delving deeper into an uninterrupted moorland landscape. It truly is a privilege to be here. There are nine guns today and five drives
where the birds come at you at eye level, so there’s safety. There are people everywhere.
For this first one we’re letting Mark get his eye in before we start badgering him about
how one does things. Mark shoots four birds – the end of the line
does not often deliver the best shooting but he has done well. Dogs and beaters make sure
that all the grouse on the ground are accounted for. The second drive is a bit more exposed and
we should be able to see the birds coming at us from a distance. Mark is now in butt
three. Mark has a chance to talk us through the set
up… the action can be fast and furious. Safety is the number one concern. The first thing I do is to look around me
to see the topography, the line of the butts on either side and the good shooting angle
in front of me and then behind. The gun comes out of the sling we put the gun in front of
the butt with 2 cartridges in the gun so that we are ready, because we are live at any time
everybody is in their butts so we can shoot whenever it is safe and the grouse are coming.
We then get our butt sticks and our butt sticks are positioned by the gun rather than by the
loader and these are a frame that make sure that we cannot shoot into the butts either
side. So I look to see where a safe place to shoot and it is to stop there so the butt
stick has a window there which prevents us from shooting through into the butt on that
side. Then we take the other butt stick out to do the same on the other side. We have
got some flankers right up on the ridge there. They are probably out of shoot, but just to
be careful we will put a walking stick in front so there is no chance of us peppering
a fl anker either. The flankers are flagmen running
outside from the end butts, butt number one and butt number eight on either end and they
are to keep the grouse coming in as the drive comes in. Once the beaters get to a white marker in
front of the guns a horn blows telling the guns they can now only shoot birds behind
– to the rear of the butt. The beaters can then come right up to the guns. A second horn means the end of the drive and
the birds can be picked. The guns should also use this disc to mark where the birds have
fallen. Time for a quick break… and an opportunity
for us to speak to the man who is shouldering a lot of the pressure today – the head game
keeper. For him this shoot is the culmination of not months but years of work. This is the first big moor I have been a head
keeper on. I have been the head keeper on a small moor in Scotland. So coming here this
is the first moor I can really put my mark on and want to smash all records on Bransdale.
The record is 4,200 brace for the season and we would want to get it to 6. I would be very
disappointed if we didn’t get it to 6. And also the day record although because it is
a let moor getting a team that is willing to pay for 500 brace of grouse could be quite
difficult. So that maybe is not as realistic a goal, but certainly the season record is
the one we want to go for. Do you love your job? Yes, you have to. You wouldn’t do it if you
didn’t. Once fed and watered, there is more sport
to be had. For this third drive, we join one of the best game shots in the world. Simon
Ward. Simon used to compete very successfully on the clay circuit but now concentrates on
teaching sporting guns how to deal with a bird flying at just above ground level at
65mph. So as we have him cornered, it would be rude
not to ask him for a few pearls of wisdom. First of all it would be safety and the second
major tip would be learn to mount the gun accurately on to a moving object. In this
situation you have got grouse coming in at eye level and if you tend to stand too upright
and mount the gun with your head up in that position like so you are looking at the grouse
but the barrel will be beneath your eye. So the idea is that with anything at your eye
level or below you bring your head forwards so your balance comes over your front foot
and as you mount the gun on to the bird the gun comes up to the cheek naturally and when
it comes to crunch your lead eye, my left eye, is in effect the back sight. If I stand
too upright with my head up my eye will be in this position and as a consequence I will
be looking at the grouse up here and the barrel will be beneath my eye so I will shoot low.
So if you start with your head a little bit further forwards, nose over your toes and
then bring the gun up naturally to the eye, now the gun will shoot where I look. We don’t get much shooting but what does fly
past doesn’t need a second barrel. Lunch means a three-course meal in this wonderful
carriage. Life is good and so is the food. And so is the shooting – for the penultimate
drive again we join Simon. This is the drive we’ve been waiting for [Music] With the weather cooling, the birds are flying
really fast. Nothing gets past Simon. [Music] I am sure you can see from the film it was
all fairly exciting stuff and the grouse were whizzing around left, right and centre and
a few nice coveys coming through. We had to pick the right bird and set ourself up for
a left and right and one or two tricky ones out the back. You have seen it in the flesh
there. That is driven grouse shooting in all its glory. For the last drive, we are really pushing
the boat out. There is a chance of using a fourth barrel – sort of – Mark is shooting
a pair of William Powell Zenith side-by-sides. Why is it important to have good guns when
you are grouseshooting? To me it is lovely to shoot with a traditional
gun, the side by side. The design of these guns is based on Holland and Holland action
and it hasn’t changed for about 100 years. So that actual design of that action is nearly
100 years old and Holland and Hollands are still made today exactly like that and there
is something really inherently wonderful about shooting with that traditional gun in this
very traditional environment. If there were a place where these deserve
an outing it is here and Mark believes that a side by side is actually better suited to
grouse. When you are shooting high pheasants or partridges,
having that tremendous balance of that over and under which goes on a single plain and
doesn’t flick about is a great advantage. When you are shooting a bird which is jinking
right to left and backwards and forward like a grouse will do, having a gun that you can
put into your shoulder and move it very quickly, a side by side is that gun and is probably
an advantage. With the odd covey coming through, the loader
and guns are busy – and Mark is once again having some sport. It has been a fabulous
day and we have bagged 102 brace. Grouse shooting is deep-seated in the fabric
of this country. It is high octane sport, that brings so many added benefits from conservation
to cash for rural communities, and there is a super social side whether you are gun or
a beater. If you want to book some grouse shooting or
would just like to find out more about the estates managed by William Powell, go to
and if you want to turn up with a pair of smart William Powell shotguns in the back
of your car – prices start at £7,500 for a pair of side by sides or £4,500 for a pair
of over-and-unders. For more information go to Now from open moorland to a closed mind. It’s
David on the Fieldsports Channel News Stump. [Music] This is Fieldsports Britain News. A wildlife charity is claiming that shooting
magazines should join other kinds of magazines on the top shelf in news agents. Animal Aid
claims that lurid pro-violence content of country sports magazines could have a corrosive,
long lasting effect on impressionable young minds. Professor Peter Squires of the University
of Brighton goes on to say the magazines such as Shooting Times and the Field are a kind
of shooting porn. He clearly doesn’t realise that both shooting porn and traditional porn
is readily available on the internet. Apparently. The Paraolympics are set to get under way.
The shooters are competing from the 30th August to the 6th September. Great Britains 12th
person team includes Di Coates in her 8th Paraolympic games and the 2008 gold medallist
Matt Skellern who may also win a medal for his hair. BASC is hosting a number of events to help
people improve their shooting skills. There are one day courses with classroom and practical
sessions with BASC staff and BASC accredited shotgun coaches. They cost £65 for a BASC
member and £100 for a non member and are being held all over England and Wales. Visit And finally, Essex was briefly excited over
the weekend when there were reported sightings of a lion on the loose. However, police believe
it is a domestic cat. You are now up to date with Fieldsports Britain
News. Stalking the stories. Fishing for facts. [Music] Next – it’s all the fun of the fair the Irish
Game & Country Fair at Birr Castle, Co Offaly Now here’s how to turn terrierwork into an
Olympic sport for Rio 2016. Birr Castle hosts the finals of the All-Ireland Hole Digging
competition. When I started the shows there was very little
to do. After the initial show when the thing was over. There was always plenty of banter
in the rings who can dig and who couldn’t dig. We have had some varied comments over
this competition. One wee lad reckoned he was digging like his Granny that was his way
of spurring him on. It all comes down to digging towers. So it does. … northern Ireland
is to promote it in a good light on TV as we all know it is only promoted in a bad light
so it is our way of saying we are all a varied range of people there is nothing wrong with
it. Triumph again. 2 years in a row now, 2 years
in a row. From spades to guns. You could hear the bangs
of the shooting line during the hole-digging. The clay shoot at the Birr Castle game fair
is organised by the local pheasant shoot We are the hosts game keepers in the castle
here at Birr and we are hosting this clay shooting on behalf of the clay game fairs. So you are more used to real pigeons than
clay pigeons. Oh yes. Well we are game shooters in heart
and we are doing this I suppose to support our shooting. We are predominantly pheasant
shooters and duck shooters. Well all forms of game really. Birr Castle attracts standholders from all
over Ireland. William Holmes runs his tackle and fishing business in Northern Ireland,
where it has been a bumper year for salmon It has been very very good up round Derry
and up round the County Derry end, the County Derry and Antrim. With the …..system and the ……system? Yes, with the …..system and the ……system.
There has been a few of them with quite a few regulation changes this year where a few
rivers are total catch and release. A lot of the rivers they have cut down on the number
of fish that people can take. That is really a reaction to the number of rod caught salmon
over the last few years. The ban system has gone totally catch and release so it has and
we saw the figures very much up. Everyone here is a hunter, shooter, fisher,
in short, imbued with Irish spirit. Ireland is a paradise for fieldsports enthusiasts.
But there is a threat on the horizon. Birr this year sees a call to action by a new pro-hunting
group supported by all the major Irish fieldsports organisations RISE is the acronym for rural alliances which
is a movement of country sport organisations and indeed other country organisations who
are concerned with how our way of life in the countryside is being pressurised and even
being regulated out of existence and it is a common popular uprising if you like of rural
Ireland in defence of its way of life. Senior government officials insist the bill
is no threat to hunting in Ireland but, after the English experience, the locals here are
taking no chances. There is vast support which has been demonstrated
today by the RISE campaign the amount of feeling out there in the rural communities that they
will not accept this change and people have to respect our livelihood and our heritage. It has been another great show organised by
Great Game Fairs of Ireland. Philip Lawton is one of the organisers Shooting, hunting, fishing, dog work, fly
casting, giant telescopes, canon re-enactments, medieval nasty pieces going around and butchering
each other in the arena – well at least there will be no blood spilt. Next Realtree TV Pro-Staffer Simon Barr is
protecting his pheasants from foxes. [Music] The harvest is just about over now and it
is a critical time of year if you have got pheasants on a farm. The young naive foxes
are still about and this will give us a perfect opportunity now the crops have come off to
see if we can mop a few of them up before the pheasant shooting season starts proper. I am out this evening with fox shooter Gary
Tate. He has got a couple of new pieces of kit to see whether or not they will make any
difference on the foxing that he normally does. It looks like quite an interesting contraption
you have got on top of the quad bike. What is going on here. What is it all about? Well it is a shooting frame which I am trying
this year. It is manufactured by K & A Services and I am giving it a go to see how I get on
with it. I usually use just a front mount rest and throw myself over that, but with
this the idea is that you can shoot all around. It has a place to rest your rifle when you
are not using it. It has a place to hang game on the back of it as well if you are out rabbiting.
And for me the main advantage that I like is the fact that I have got somewhere to put
my lamp when I am not holding it and not picking up foxes so if I go on my own this does give
me the versatility to shoot on my own and to mount the lamp whilst I am taking the shot. So what would you like me to do this evening
Gary? Well tonight Simon I think all I would like
you to do is watch and see how I go about doing things if I was out on my own and if
we do find a fox, I’ll get set up, you pass me the rifle, I’ll take the shot. Hopefully
there is plenty out here, we should see some action very early on. Do you think I might get a chance at a fox? There could well be a chance of a fox or two,
I think. Yes. Excellent, excellent.Ok, well why don’t we
get set up and make for some foxes. Good let’s go. Excellent. Tonight we are lamping only 2 large areas
of the same farm. Gary has already taken half a dozen foxes off this stubble, but he knows
it promises more. There is even the chance of an urban fox from the local village. The
quad bike is a great tool for this type of work and we cover a lot of ground scanning
as we go for foxes and those deep ruts which would make my life on the back of the quad
very uncomfortable. A couple of fields on and we get our first
set of eyes. Gary barks to keep it interested and starts calling with the lamp off the target.
I lower the lamp to the sitting fox to fully illuminate it for Gary to see it through the
scope and the fox instantaneously drops. Here it is again right to frame. It is a great
start. Quite small in the body isn’t it? It is quite small in the body. But for me
it is a pleasing result because being a vixen this is going to go on. This is going to produce
more. The same philosophy I use and is used within the deer world. If you want to control
deer numbers you shoot females you don’t go shooting males. The same goes for foxes. It
only takes one dog fox to cover another female. Here we have got a vixen she is now out of
the breeding programme, so we have got a job well done. And a very good shot Gary. Thank you very much. Many fox shooters choose ballistic tipped
bullets when after charlies. Tonight Gary is using 243 ammunition loaded by a friend
of ours. He is using my new Blaser Professional Success with its ergonomically designed pistol
grip stock. These are 70 grain ballistic tip home loaded
rounds. The ballistic tip gives us a very fast expanding bullet so what happens on impact
is that this polymer tip here is driven back into the bullet forcing the bullet to rapidly
expand and lose as much energy inside the animal as possible without penetrating through.
We are not looking for a blood track. We are not looking for a bleeding hole. We are looking
for an instantaneous dead animal and this bullet will you that. We cover acres of ground. Gary knows the lay
of the land on this farm, so he could probably drive blind folded, but it is sensible not
to. The badgers have dug some enormous sets. The perfect trap for a quad bike. We light
up fox number 2. Gary once again decisively finds the target. This time it is a youngster. What have you managed to knock over there. It is another vixen Simon, which pleases me.
This is definitely a cub. You can tell. Very, very fluffy, furry coat as opposed to hair
– more fluff than hair. Definitely a cub. Much, much smaller teeth. Almost pristine
condition. And Gary that ballistic tip has literally
taken that fox apart hasn’t it? Yes. It would have felt absolutely nothing would
it? No. Now it is my turn on the Blaser and I hope
there are still some ….targets for me to have a shot at. On the next sweep we find
one. The quad multi make rest gives me a steady shot and I have comfortably accounted for
another female. So what was that about 100 metres or so Gary? It was about 100 metres away mate. It is nicely
shot. Straight through the neck. Good shot, clean kill. Another vixen. This time quite
an older one. I would say very old actually. Comparatively speaking tonight, I think everything
has been quite young, but this one is quite old. I am very, very pleased with that. Good shot. I tell you what the rest on the quad bike
made a massive difference, being able to rest my right elbow, it was kind of bench rest
conditions to be able to take that shot. It was excellent. The reason why I put the rest on there was
because I have always been able to rest as every one can on the front of the bike, on
a rest on the front of the bike, but you always find if you are right handed that your elbow
is flapping around in the wind and that is really what you are looking for that sort
of bench rest set up where you are absolutely solid and then you know you are going to get
a good shot. Yes. I mean I felt very comfortable there
when I took the shot. It was a good shot. Well done. Having covered every field on this side of
the farm we hitch up and head off to the other side, a couple of miles away. The pheasant release pens are located on this
part of the farm, so it is crucial we eliminate as many foxes as possible. The first foxes
we spot make for cover and will not stand. Gary thinks these animals know a little too
much and have been lamped unsuccessfully before. We lift the lamp hoping they might drop their
guard, but to no avail. We drive through the cover crop and again spot a fox which knows
the score. Eventually we get a response which we all hoped for. The fox stops long enough
for me to shoot. Amazingly the lamp’s beam picks up the path of the bullet as it sent
across the field which you can clearly see. It is a satisfying long walk to retrieve it.
Gary reckons it is about 180 metres which I am very pleased with. It is a mature dog
fox. Gary thank you very much. It has been a brilliant
evening. 4 foxes, 3 vixens and that last dog fox which I am particularly happy with. That was a very good fox. It was a very good fox. 180 metres, nice and
steady and he dropped to the shot very, very beautifully. Yes. Good shot. Yes, very pleased with that. So thank you
very much. I have learnt a huge amount this evening about the way that you fox. The techniques
that you use. There were a few that weren’t standing this evening. Yes, if they are not going to stand, leave
them alone. Don’t start taking wild shots at them because you won’t get another chance. Yes, it is a delicate process isn’t it? Yes. We left quite a lot this evening. Are you happy with 4? Yes. Very happy with it. It was a good evening.
Taking out the vixens I always think is worth while, they are the breeding animals. So 3 to 1 ratio tonight. So Gary thank you
very much. You are welcome. Well done. Foxing is such an important job. As a crafty
predator they can really impact a pheasant shoot. So accuracy and commitment are needed
to outwit this most cunning of adversaries. It is a hugely satisfying task when it goes
right and pleasing to know that many more birds will make it to the season. If you like this show why not tune into Teamwild
TV to see my buddy Ian Harford on his latest bow hunting adventure to Hungary where he
takes the monster boar at 8 yards. If you enjoy shooting you will love the shooting
show. This week it is a call to action for rim fire and airgun shooters. Episode 16 of
the shooting show is the pest control bonanza. Byron Pace makes it a family matter as his
brother Daryl joins him to deal with rabbits on a new shooting ground in the Angus Glens.
South of the border Byron is joined by Sporting Rifle writer, Tony Megson, for airgun pest
control on a Yorkshire farm curbing the population of pigeons that roost in the barn and contaminate
the feed. There is another big bag to be had here provided the pair can avoid angering
the resident pigs. If you are watching this on Youtube you can
click on the screen behind me to go straight through to the shooting show. Next it is Hunting YouTube. This is Hunting YouTube, which aims to show
the best hunting, shooting and fishing videos that YouTube has to offer. We start with Mark Gilchrist hanging out with
a beatiful girl. Star of the Scandinavian hunting world Kristoffer Clausen joins Mark
for a day’s pigeon and goose and, crucially, he brings Kristine Thybo Hansen. Kristoffer
promises an actionpacked episode. Not that kind of action. We make fims for GunOnPegs but occcasionally,
they get hold of their own cameras. And here they are with a pair of the new I-KAM glasses,
which puts the camera right between your eyes, which makes for good filming when they are
doing the same with shot at pigeons. Love the oldfashioned hessian pigeon hide. They
should get that listed. The Arab spring saw North Africa join up on
YouTube en masse. And some of them are hunters. Here is MNayyer from Tunisia showing off his
HPR and catching birds with it. Might not be your bag but shows what the world is up
to. It’s open to argument but not with me. Top
of the saltwater flyfishing world is permit – and here is AddictiveFishing spinning for
them. Dear me. Give him both barrels will you James? But you do get to see plenty of
fish in this film, made off Boca Grande, Florida. The new motto for KineticFishing is ‘shut
up and fish’. Cannibals on the Hunt – Big Perch Fishing in Midwater is a romp set to
rock and roll through catching five big perch, from 1.2kg to 1.6kg (that’s three to three-and-a-half
pounds), somewhere in Scandinavia. They shut up and they fish. Roebuck hunting in Scotland is the kind of
holiday video anyone would be pleased to show. OK, it’s a bit wobbly but it’s a great showcase
for a Czech stalker’s trip to Britain’s last great wilderness. Bad news for VisitScotland,
he chooses the theme tune to The Last of the Mohicans as his soundtrack. Now for some good ol’d American knowhow. The
National Shooting Sports Federation offers its definitive guide to shooting off anything
but prone with former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner. If you are American,
watch and learn from Shooting Positions in the Field – NSSF Shooting Sportscast. If you
are from anywhere else, you will probably find something wrong with it, but that’s nationalism
for you. Now it’s hard to find anything wrong with
Doug and Regis Giles. : They are on a wild boar hunt in Florida. These guys’ homspun
enthusiasm is a big part of the American YouTube hunting scene. Doug runs, Regis
runs and she is is using a double rifle in 9.3×74 with some
success on a pineywood rooter. You can click on any of these films to watch
them. If you have a YouTube film you would like us to pop in to the weekly top eight,
send it in via YouTube, or email me the link [email protected] Well if you are watching this on Youtube please
hit our subscribe button that is somewhere on the outside of the screen there or go to
our show page where you can subscribe to just this show
which is out every Wednesday from 7 o’clock or go to our website
scroll down to the bottom. You can put your email address into the constant contact box
there and we will get in touch with you. Or you can click to like us on Facebook, follow
us on Twitter. This has been Fieldsports Britain from County Offaly Birr Castle Game Fair.

6 Replies to “Fieldsports Britain – Driven grouse, Birr Castle game fair and foxing, episode 144”

  1. Hi – Fieldsports Britain is out as usual – click on our channel page to watch it. We reuploaded this film because viewers were worried about one of the shots in the grouse film – it looked like one of the guns swung through the line. As it happens, they didn't – it was just the camera's POV – but here's a 'cleaner' version (for safety's sake!). Thanks for watching

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