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

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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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

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