▲ TOP SHOTS 2017 ANNOUNCED,
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.
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.”
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.”
Jonathan kennedy “The fact that he is so nice and such a lovely shot is really annoying,” commented one seasoned campaigner.