Thursday, 16 July 2015

In the thick of it

I was pleased with this nicely timed shot which I took at a recent World Pheasant Association charity shoot at the excellent Oxfordshire Shooting School. This was the flush, with 80 or so clays thrown over four guns in what feels like no time at all. Things get very heated, not least the barrels! It's one of the few occasions when a side-by-side is an advantage, but you do need a good glove on your left hand.

This shooter is doing the sensible thing, holding the breech high to throw the empties over his shoulder without hitting the loader in the face, and presenting the empty chambers ready for loading while keeping his eyes on the targets. The loader has one shell in each hand, which I've found is the quickest way, rather than trying to get too clever and manoeuvre two cartridges into the breech with one hand.

When my turn came I was keeping up a good rate of fire when suddenly my gun wouldn't close. In the heat of the moment I grabbed someone else's Beretta o/u and kept going. It turned out that a screw on the barrel lump had started to undo itself, and the head was hitting the floor of the action before the gun was shut. Not what you need in the middle of a flush!

More photos from the day here.

Probably the best ferret in the world...

Just a random ferret photo really, but I couldn't resist. This is one of three youngsters born to my jill a few weeks ago. And no, I wasn't really getting it drunk, although it did seem interested in the taste around the rim of the can.

World Pheasant Association - a great conservation success

Much of what appears on this blog is shooting videos of one sort or another, but of course I write several columns each month in various publications, one of which is Sporting Shooter - the mag I edited for several years.

A recent issue featured this article on the World Pheasant Association, a terrific organisation that does a great deal of conservation work around the world to help the galliformes, or game birds, that are related to our familiar pheasants, partridges and grouse.

I do what I can to help the organisation, as they do a lot of good conservation work with very limited funds, and rarely get the recognition or support they deserve. Their Pipar Project in Nepal is a wonderful example of practical, pragmatic conservation that works with the local population rather than against them.

The WPA celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Check out their website and see if you're tempted to make a modest donation, or even join as a member - for a mere 30 quid a year it's a great way to support a conservation organisation that is pro-shooting rather than ravingly anti!

Monday, 22 December 2014

New look

I've switched to a calmer look to this blog, mainly because the old white-text-on-black-background made my eyes go funny. Hope you like it, but do let me know either way. It's a simple matter to apply a different theme if readers prefer it.

That parakeet video

Good grief, the tabloids had a field day with my short video on AirHeads, about decoying a parakeet that was shredding my apple trees. I was labelled "deranged" by the Evening Standard, and "super posh" by the Mirror.

In fact this destructive alien invader has been on the General Licence for a while, for the specific purpose of allowing people to protect things like... well, fruit trees. That didn't stop the RSPB, Animal Aid, PETA and other loonies making misleading statements to the press, giving the impression that shooting parakeets was probably illegal and I would most likely be banged up.

The video attracted some classic "hate" comments - the usual threats to kill or maim me (you gotta love these animal lovers), including one from a chap so incompetent that his mobile phone number is still just two clicks away from his threat to "put me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life". My favourite was the one that said I deserved to "be sodomised by a large African man". Tautology, racism and homophobia in one short phrase - that's got to be some sort of record!

Anyway, enjoy the video!

Shooting rabbits off a quad bike

Just go and film Geoff, they said. He's shooting rabbits off his quad bike, they said. Sure, no problem. Filming off a quad bike zipping across rough ground - I can handle that. Oh, and it's in the pitch dark...

Actually it came out not half bad, with the aid of some cunning lighting rigs powered by the fabulous Deben lithium lamping batteries (how does the film industry cope without these things?).

Mind you, my thighs took a week to recover from all that clinging on. I don't ride horses, but I imagine the problems are similar - at least, they would be if you were riding a horse and trying to hold a camera steady at the same time.

Filming foxshooting through a thermal imager

The second half of this episode of the Shooting Show is a piece I filmed with foxshooter Robert Bucknell and his friend Nigel Fulton - we were trying out some night vision gear, including a thermal imager. I managed to rig up a recorder to the thermal viewer, which gave a unique view of the night's events. Scroll to 11:32 for my bit.