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Sporting Rifle

Sporting Rifle November 2019

The first and market-leading rifle shooting mag in the UK, Sporting Rifle covers rifle sports of all kinds, from rimfire rabbits to big game overseas and everything in between. With the very best writers on board, we cover foxing and UK deer stalking extensively in every issue, with tips and tricks as well as stories from the field to help your outings be more successful.

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

9 min
the foxing year that was

As I write this in September, after what has been a really good summer thus far in Devon, the weather has suddenly turned really nasty with gales and torrential rain. Nothing like the appalling conditions experienced in Yorkshire, but bad enough – certainly enough to curtail any shooting for a day (and night) or so. So I thought I would cast my mind back over what has gone before so far this year. Certainly, as far as Callum my shooting partner and I have been concerned, the fox control has gone really well. As is normally the case around here, fox numbers have remained at about the same level as they usually do. Within the parish we normally expect to deal with about 100 foxes a year – mainly troublemakers where…

5 min
fallow in the frost

“No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, No comfortable feel in any member, No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!” This verse of William Hood was written nearly 200 years ago. It still applies accurately to the countryside in which the deer stalker pursues fallow deer. Indeed, every deer stalker would do well to carry a card with these lines inscribed on it as they serve as a reminder of the weather conditions likely to affect his quarry. Starting with “no warmth”, fallow does herd close together to give and take warmth from each other. They feel the cold and choose both bedding and feeding areas for warmth as far as they possibly can. Theirs is not a life of cheerfulness or…

7 min
pitting wits with sheep

Ihadn’t planned to stand naked amid sheep excrement on Pitt Island, but the tiny jewel of the Chatham archipelago is certainly an oasis of contrasts and surprises. The little Cessna had just rolled to a stop, after a ‘beat up’ to drive stock from the grass strip, and I stepped from under the wing to be greeted by a genial chap astride a mechanical Clydesdale (more commonly referred to as Honda). “We are going hunting now!” he blurted as we shook hands. So I rooted around in my luggage for my hunting clobber and made a hasty change of attire right there, in the middle of a paddock and under the watchful gaze of the locals: a lone calf, two weka, and seven dopey sheep. Situated 800km off the New Zealand’s east…

10 min
patience pays off

The fox drought is over – all of a sudden, we’ve started to see foxes again. As soon as the crops came off we discovered we had a litter of cubs just next door, so we dealt with them, but there have been a few others popping up over the horizon, which I’ve been dealing with as soon as they appear. The other night I had been out on a neighbour’s land, helping him out with his foxes. I’d seen nothing and came back but rather than go straight to bed, I decided to have a run round at home first. I looked over the best part of 2,000 acres of ground and saw nothing and decided to call it a night. As I arrived back at the house, I swung…

6 min
target news

WINNERS CROWNED AT GRAND FINAL The cream of Britain’s international Skeet and Trap shooters battled it out over a wet and windy two days at Fauxdegla shooting ground in Wales for the honours at the British Shooting Grand Final 2019 on 28-29 September. The competitors had fought their way through a series of qualifying events to reach the final, with a slew of medals to be won on the day. After two days and 125 targets each, the top shooters in every category proceeded to a shoot-off to decide the medal positions. In seniors, Olympic Trap gold went to Matt Coward-Holley in the men’s category and Kirsty Hegarty in ladies. In the Olympic Skeet, the top honour in men was won by Dominic Cooper, and Amber Hill took the ladies’ gold. Mitchell Brooker-Smith…

4 min
cull or not to cull

As you read this, all deer managers will be looking towards the fast-approaching doe and hind season, and mulling over the 101 things that will need to be addressed to ensure a successful cull. Make no mistake, this is when most of the hard work will be done, and the doe and hind cull is absolutely crucial in maintaining a healthy deer herd. Keeping populations within the ground holding capacity can only be done by controlling the female of the species. Personally I much prefer the doe/hind cull in comparison to the bucks/stags. There’s no pressure from clients – it’s mostly you, the weather and the hunting gods being in a good mood. The work is much harder physically and conditions often inclement, but you have to be out to get…