▲ TOP SHOTS 2017 AN­NOUNCED,

The Field - - CONTENTS - com­piled BY jonathan Young

The thumb-screws have been tight­ened, honey traps trig­gered and dark con­ver­sa­tions held in dingy bars. Fi­nally, af­ter months of covert in­tel op­er­a­tions, we can an­nounce those who will take the pur­ple in 2017 and be crowned

The Field’s Top Shots. To those who are suc­cess­ful, we of­fer our congratulations. To the lesser stel­lar, we hope to buy you a warmish in­stant cof­fee at your lo­cal clay shoot.

All-rounders

James adeane “Suf­folk-based har­vester of every­thing.”

nick Baikie “The mae­stro on grouse and equally deadly on the long­tails. Peo­ple re­mark when he misses.” Another ad­mirer adds, “He shot some grouse last year up in the High­lands that had to be seen to be be­lieved - sim­ply clin­i­cal.”

rob­bie Bux­ton “A nat­u­ral shot who de­lights in the sport, be it pi­geon, grouse, teal or Jan­uary ditch par­rots. Also fits ef­fort­lessly into the ‘Party An­i­mal’ cat­e­gory.”

sir ed­ward dash­wood “Loves any­thing wild and still up there with the best.”

ale­jan­dro santo domingo “El­e­gant, accurate, gen­er­ous, charm­ing and lethal. Kind of makes you sick.”

richard Faulds The gold medal Olympian is still a stel­lar per­former but isn’t too proud to fill the clay traps at his shooting ground.

rob Fen­wick “The MD of EJ Churchill is a co­nun­drum. On the one hand he’s al­ways work­ing; on the other, he’s al­ways shooting. We sus­pect a dop­pel­ganger.”

david Flux “Prob­a­bly the best all-rounder I have ever seen and some­one who does plenty of it yet never has an off day. Has the rare abil­ity to switch suc­cess­fully from 28-bores one day on grouse to 12s for the next on high pheas­ants yet is al­ways in­cred­i­bly mod­est.”

an­drew hud­son “Shoots grouse and low­ground game beau­ti­fully. Also a Master of Fox­hounds. Accurate, and mod­est.”

dun­can law­ton “The most un­der­stated man in shooting, just qui­etly gets on with it.”

oliver moore “Shoots with a 28-bore in the most ma­jes­tic form; smooth, un­hur­ried and deadly accurate to boot. He is the most gen­tle­manly and con­sid­er­ate per­son on the shooting field bar none. Also good with grouse and pi­geon. Charm­ing per­son­al­ity, un­der­stated and some­one you’d want in a shooting party.”

the duke of northum­ber­land “Still stun­ning to watch.”

nick Peto “He makes it all look so easy and ef­fort­less as the greats in­vari­ably do with the high­est and most chal­leng­ing birds – be they grouse, par­tridges or pheas­ants.”

steve smith “A true sport­ing gentle­man with im­pec­ca­ble man­ners and match­ing abil­ity with a gun.”

lord Fran­cis stafford If you wanted to wa­ger a month’s salary on some­one con­nect­ing with a bird – any game­bird – the 15th Baron Stafford would be an odds-on favourite.

tom van strauben­zee “A lovely shot and still in the tra­di­tional way with a side-by-side. I reckon he is one of the best shots with a side-by-side I have ever seen.”

si­mon ward “Any­one who could shoot as con­sis­tently as him would be very happy.”

george winn-dar­ley “Walk­ing up wood­cock in Wales, grouse in York­shire or hedg­ing and ditch­ing at home at Aldby, George is the ul­ti­mate sports­man. He goes nowhere with­out his adored labradors, who also share his bed. Prob­a­bly loves a day’s rat­ting or fer­ret­ing as much as a day’s pheas­ant shooting.”

mark winser “Top game-shot and field in­struc­tor who spends his sum­mer months com­pet­ing and coach­ing on the world com­pet­i­tive shooting stage – and does both at the high­est level.” Walks out with Miss Rachel Car­rie.

nick zoll “A fiend on all game, he’s the man you need to cre­ate a bag on a species day.”

grouse

Duke of Bed­ford “Quick re­ac­tions, very ef­fec­tive and al­ways tak­ing great and gen­uine plea­sure in see­ing his neigh­bours shoot well.”

Vis­count Boyne “Un­der­stated, mod­est and un­flap­pable, he ex­cels at grouse, par­tic­u­larly walked-up on his moor, Bays­dale.”

Jeremy clay­ton “Al­ways seems to shoot more than any­body else.”

fran­cis franco “In a dif­fer­ent league to most of those with a grouse rep­u­ta­tion. He still misses a few but the speed of the guy is amaz­ing and with his loader sat in front of him, Span­ish style, he takes some beat­ing and builds a bag from noth­ing.”

Jonathan Good­hart The MD of CCI In­ter­na­tional qui­etly bops away with his Aya side-by-sides and fills the bag. Max­imises

his chances wher­ever he is on the moor but is never greedy.

Jeremy her­rmann “De­serves the nom­i­na­tion both for vol­ume and en­thu­si­asm. He can only be de­scribed as ‘deadly’; last sea­son I wit­nessed him shoot all five grouse in a covey with five shots.”

Do­minic hol­lamby “Lon­don-based banker, en­thu­si­as­tic and deadly; can hold forth on par­ti­cle physics while tak­ing two out front and two out back.”

ru­pert knauf “Softly spo­ken Ger­man An­glophile who has qui­etly be­come one of the best grouse shots of his gen­er­a­tion.”

lord James percy “I loaded for him on the grouse se­quence at The Game Fair and he has such a smooth style and deadly aim,” cooed one fe­male ad­mirer.

Vis­count rother­mere “Fre­quently goes head to head with Jeremy Her­rmann, which is a bit like bat­tle of the Ti­tians,” said our source. Though we think he meant Ti­tans.

reuben straker “Still shows the younger gen­er­a­tion of grouse shots how it should be done.”

micky tyler “The Cor­nish killer shoots with hor­ren­dous-look­ing over-an­dun­ders that re­ally ought not to be al­lowed in a grouse butt. Lord Ripon would be spin­ning. But Micky sel­dom misses.”

george dig­weed The 26 times World Cham­pion is still

“the best by far”.

Phil Burtt Belvoir’s es­tate man­ager re­mains “charm­ing and deadly”.

ger­wyn Jones

“Pas­sion­ate about grouse but also a high-pheas­ant fiend. Oth­er­wise known as Bal­lis­tic Bob due to his ob­ses­sion

with find­ing the best car­tridge.”

johnny good­hart

do­minic hol­lamby

Jonathan kennedy “The fact that he is so nice and such a lovely shot is re­ally an­noy­ing,”

com­mented one sea­soned cam­paigner.

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