The Countryman's Weekly

Rough Shooting

Rough Shooting
November 30
07:10 2021

A bulging bag after a walked-up rough shoot

By David Barrington Barnes.

OUR small convoy wended its way along the valley floor. Fallen autumn leaves crunched under the wheels and we crossed and then recrossed a fast-flowing beck. When we emerged from the trees, Headkeeper Johnny briefed us on his plan for the first manoeuvre.

We were to walk-up the fell without shooting and then form a semi-circle around a pond we could not see. Once we were ready Johnny and his underkeeper were to show themselves and flush such duck as were in residence. The four Guns were very tense as we waited, each of us wondering what duck were on the pond. And then the teal sprang!

They flew in different directions, rising very quickly and making fast, rising targets. Three flew right-handed in front of me and, swinging as fast as I could, I swung through the lead teal and downed it. By the time I had found the second one, it was well out and I fired my second barrel ineffectually.

As the keepers came forward with their dogs I unloaded and pointed out the area in which my teal had fallen. Very soon, the underkeeper’s spaniel could be seen retrieving my teal through the short reeds and I took a few moments to admire a fine cock teal with him while Johnny was working his spaniels on the other side of the pond. Three teal then! That was a successful start.

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