THE GREAT DEBATE
I’ ve never been shooting with Giles Catchpole. In the interests of complete disclosure, he has never seen fit to invite me. I suppose I could have invited him but I’d rather he opened the account.
However, should we find ourselves shooting together, perhaps on neutral ground somewhere in the Midlands, I have a horrible feeling that he’d be a much better shot than me. You know exactly the sort of shot he’d be too. He’d bring the gun up late in one economic but fluid motion, dropping all the highest birds in a neat heap just in front of him and his impeccably behaved dogs.
This is why he’s a fan of shooting out in the open. Because he can. And because he likes other people to see that he can.
And that’s why I’m a fan of snap shooting in the woods. Give me enough time and I will wave my gun around like a sapling in a thunderstorm. If I can see the bird long before it’s in range, I’ll be thinking about line and lead, where I’m putting my feet as well as what the rest of the line is thinking and doing.
If you’re snap shooting in the woods, none of this is a problem. You only have a split second to work out if it’s your bird or your neighbour’s, whether it’s quarry or prohibited, whether it’s safe and indeed sporting. And then what line it’s flying along, how fast, how high, where to swing your gun and when to pull the trigger. Occasionally, without the time to think about it, I might even hit the blasted thing.
Unfortunately, as we’d be in the woods, Giles wouldn’t have seen a thing.