Red Grouse - Co Durham
Beautiful birds and very very fast. These were shot by us walking up a small family owned more in Co Durham, Nr Barnard Castle. I find the Northern England Grouse taste a lot stronger than the Scotish Grouse. I guess this is because they predominently feed off of heather flowers. Where as when I have shot grouse in the Scottish Highlands, there crops are full of Blaeberries, Cloudberries and Juniper etc. This gives them a very unique and sweet taste.
Roy and his Pointers
Roy has the most amazing dogs. They cover miles of ground. Its amazing to watch them work! When they find a covey of grouse they point. You have to then get to them fast, or they will go. This often requires semi jogging up the mountain. Sometimes for 400-600 yards. By the time you get there you are panting. You then walk past the dog, one each side of it. Suddenly the grouse take off and I mean take off! They can do 65+ mph and much faster in the wind! Really challenging sport!
Urban Muntjac Bristol
A young buck Muntjac shot within the confines of Bristol City (on request of the land owner). Munjac are very clever little deer. A real challenge. They can move through the undergrowth like a fox. Muntjac are not native. They become sexually mature at 8 months and can give birth every 7 months. They taste the best in my opinion. The next 2 posts are of me marinating a leg of this deer and cooking it on the BBQ.
Red Letter Day Wildfowling
Sept 2012. Wildfowling when it all comes together. Bloor (my best mate and I). The reward was 7 wild ducks. 2 mallard 4 teal and a shoveler. Teal in my opinion are the best to eat. You need every sense to try to pick up these super fast and agile ducks against the night sky. Really challenging and thoroughly rewarding!
Purdey and I waiting on a flooded splash next to the River Severn. Decoys out, hoping for the chance of a duck or even a goose. Wildfowling is a truly wild pursuit requiring significant amounts of fieldcraft to be successful, with any kind of regularity. Ducks flight mainly at dusk and dawn. Using decoys and calls, all add to your chances. A high tide will push more ducks off of the river. Bad weather will make the ducks fly lower, increasing our chances. Bad visibility tends to make the ducks follow land features. The moon also has an effect. It's nearly always bitterly cold and often we are up way before first light. But the time and effort is rewarded occasionally with a wild duck or goose. To me this is wild hunting at its best.
A wild brown trout caught from the Bristol Frome. Quite amazing for an urban river. We now regularly see dippers and king fishers using the river. Sometimes we even bump into Roe and Muntjac Deer. It's quite amazing what you can see within the confines of the city these days!
Late January 2013. Purdey my working cocker spaniel and I spent the afternoon in search of the very secretive wild woodcock. We zig zagged left and right through the woods, trying to cover as much ground as we can between the 2 of us. Purdey quartering left and right as we walked, following my hand signals. There is nothing quite like the team of man and dog. Suddenly a woodcock springs from the cover and starts to zig zag through the trees. I raise my gun hoping that I don't let Purdey down for all of his hard work. I didn't and the bird fell to the ground. Purdey was off at once, nose down in search of it. He was soon bounding back looking very pleased with himself. As I took the woodcock from his mouth I shouted loudly "good boy, good boy"! We were both over the moon. Purdey managed 7 more flushes that afternoon and I managed to shoot another. 2 birds in the bag, we had both worked hard for our prize! It was one of my most memorable afternoons shooting that i can remember for some time. The woodcock migrate to the UK every winter from Scandanavia and Russia. We never know how many will come each year. It depends on the weather way further north. That's what makes them such a mystical and prized quarry!
Pickled Quails Eggs