I’m still in denial about my advancing years, so I don’t yet have a bucket list, but if I did, walked-up grouse shooting would definitely be on it. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a driven day on the grouse moors of North Yorkshire, with the camera and dog, so I know how breathtaking the landscapes are and how exciting the sport is. And having walked-up for woodcock, I also know the immense satisfaction this sort of shooting brings – so to combine the two would surely be epic! For the Rough Rovers syndicate, a walked-up grouse day last season provided an affordable way to shoot this most glorious of gamebirds. You can read all about the ‘best day’s shooting they’d ever had’ on page 20, together with some tips on how to get the most out of a day like this.
Still on the subject of grouse, we are heading stateside this issue. Writer and hunter Jarrod Spilger offers us a glimpse into the ‘American way’ as he describes hunting for prairie grouse on the Great Plains of Nebraska. There are parallels with our own rough-shooting scene, but also some big differences and it makes for very interesting reading [p14].
Whether it’s grouse you’re walking-up, or any other bird, the shooting technique you’ll need to ensure you don’t go home empty-handed is, of course, very different from that required for driven shooting. We’ve got a double dose of advice for you this month: Steve Rawsthorne explains how to consistently connect with walked-up targets [p18], while Tim Maddams finds himself in the rather enviable position of needing to hone his skills for a driven grouse day – double guns, no less! He books a lesson at Calvert Sporting, where he finds the simulated version of the ‘sport of kings’ is almost as thrilling as the real thing [p50].
It’s an action-packed issue all round this month… Andy Crow and friends have a bumper day on a field of flattened wheat [p28], managing to turn a problem into a triumph; while Deano is busy keeping the foxes at bay on a friend’s smallholding [p54].
These last few weeks leading up to the game season are usually frantic for keepers, but Rod Greenwood’s advice may offer some welcome relief. He suggests that by slowing down, you actually see and learn more about your birds and what’s happening on the shoot [p64]. It’s a nice idea and probably something we could all benefit from trying in our everyday lives. So why not sit back, relax and enjoy a leisurely read of your favourite shooting mag… REBECCA GREEN Editor