Partridges and pioneers
As part of its Young Shots programme, BASC takes eight youngsters on a walked-up day in Cheshire. David Egan goes along for the ride
Date: Weather: Size:
Young Shots: Tom Bettson, Uttoxeter; Brogan Moss, Wigan; Dan Perks, Wolverhampton; Ben Roch, Lancaster; Rhys Plum, Hertfordshire; Alex Milroy, Wilmslow; Sarah Taylor, Buxton; Chloe Hilldrith, Lincolnshire
Drives: Margarets, Tip Top
Bag: 85 head
There is nothing quite like a walked-up partridge day in early September when the cool morning mists lift to reveal ancient rolling green hills and lush pastures where great sporting memories are made. Even more so when the day is about a group of eight BASC Young Shots who travelled across the northern and Midland regions to Checkley Wood shoot in Cheshire to experience partridge shooting on this estate.
Three regional BASC officers had also made the journey: Gareth Dockerty, Mike Thornley and Louise Farmer. Throughout the day each Young Shot had a mentor — experienced game Shots, volunteer co-ordinators and shotgun coaches — to guide them on safety as well as loading for them.
Hosting the day was Ivor Beavis, who has owned the shooting lease on the 4,000-acre mixed arable and dairy estate for 42 years. Ivor’s son, Nick, is the gamekeeper. “We used to have Young Shot days at Checkley of our own, but they all grew up and moved on and we just didn’t have the numbers to put on the days any more,” revealed Ivor. “As I enjoyed those days so much and wanted to continue having the next generation here, I contacted BASC to offer some youngsters an early-season day on partridges once a year.
“Walked-up shooting is how most of the older generation started off; hunting around the hedgerows, identifying our surroundings, our prey and working hard for our quarry. Pulling the trigger was a bonus and that is how the youngsters of today should be taught,” he added.
Emphasis on safety
Nick briefed the team, putting strong emphasis on the importance of safety, keeping a straight line and gun position while walking through the dense beet cover crops.
Mike Thornley, north-west regional officer for BASC, presented the two teams of four with 10 pictures to identify, which covered all aspects SHOOTING TIMES & COUNTRY MAGAZINE • 13
Chloe Hilldrith, who shoots on the ladies’ team for Lincolnshire, lines up a shot