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Last week­end, af­ter breakfast, I walked out across the hill with my gun, stopped briefly for a sand­wich at lunch and didn’t get back to the lodge I was stay­ing in un­til dark­ness was descend­ing and geese were in the air.

In nine hours I shot a brace.

Some days later, while head­ing south on the Cale­do­nian Sleeper, it sud­denly struck me that the birds wrapped in news­pa­per in my case rep­re­sented the small­est bag I’d shot all sea­son. As I fell asleep, I re­called ev­ery de­tail of that day on Lewis, right down to how the birds fell among the heather.

This sea­son I’ve been very lucky to stand on a peg on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions and, as a re­sult of fan­tas­tic keeper­ing and great land­scapes, I’ve seen some tremen­dous drives. Yet, al­ready, mem­o­ries of birds I shot dur­ing those days and of oth­ers that passed above the line un­harmed are start­ing to fade.

But mem­o­ries of grouse shot over HPRS seem to last for­ever. One of the things I en­joy most about field­sports is the va­ri­ety, but if I could only ever par­tic­i­pate in one form of shoot­ing from here on in — and if money were no ob­ject — I sus­pect it might have to be the pur­suit of grouse over dogs.

What would you choose? I’d love to hear about it. Fol­low Pa­trick on Twit­ter @pad­dy­c­gal­braith

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