Shooting Gazette - - October 2017 - By Ben Sa­muel­son

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.

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