What do I want out of life as a keeper? I think my aspirations and dreams have always been consistent. I simply want to show the best birds and run the driven shoot that everyone wants to shoot at.
So in order to run a shoot at the standard and quality that I want, what type of shoot do I need? Well this is a hard one to quantify. Some people will judge a day solely on the bag while others on the company. When I was lecturing in Game keeping at Otley college I remember saying to the group, “if you had the opportunity to run a shoot that was shooting 6 days a year and killing between 30 and 40 birds a day, fully driven, what would your thoughts be”. The answers were varied but mainly to the tune of not big enough days, not enough shooting and the rest of it. I then put to the group that the shoot in question was around 50 acres, all wild with flight ponds and excellent habitat. The guns, 5 in number, were all guests and the meal at the end of the day was excellent. The views changed immediately. So this shows that the views of individuals can change and also proves that any shoot, however big or small, can only be judged on its own merits. Every shoot is different and, with that, everyone’s expectations are different.
Personally, I want to run a top class shoot, decent bags and good quality birds that guns want to return again and again for. Guns become paying guests rather than clients, they know what to expect, and this means less advertising and selling.
Guido, part of the London Syndicate shooting at a high partridge in September last season.
I am pleased to say that the Glemham Hall Shoot is a Rolls Royce of a shoot, and has the potential to quickly become “the place to shoot “in East Suffolk. Our driven shooting has so much going for it, good undulations in the ground, very light land suited to partridge and then to the north of the estate, large areas of woodland that suit the pheasant days in December and January.
It is also important to make sure that there is something for everyone, so duck flights and walked up or walk and stand days are also essential. There must be something for everyone. Not everyone has the funds or inclination for large bags or large days but these same people are the grass roots of the sport and are important because there are many of them.
We also hold gun dog trials and these bring in large numbers of enthusiasts, who in many cases, don’t shoot but instead work their dogs as a sport. Certainly there are many ladies, who work dogs, be it spaniels or labradors who have no interest in shooting the game themselves, but these are “grass roots” supporters and they all have a voice and a vote.
So what do I want from the trade? Well as I have said, I want the best shoot I can have and develop. It must cater for everyone, big or small, wealthy or not so wealthy but above all it must be enjoyed. However large or small the days everyone must feel at home and welcome and while I do enjoy the large “set piece drives” and the meal for the guns in the dining room in Glemham Hall, I also enjoy the teams who want as many different species as they can get and the duck flights on the marsh when that last half hour sounds like a war as teal appear from nowhere and the sound of geese getting closer make you shake with excitement.
The marsh last year, ready for duck flights.
To run a Rolls Royce of a shoot can mean many things to many people, bag size, quality; smooth running and top class catering or that duck flight on a dark winter’s night when the wind is blowing and the duck pour in.
Whatever it means to you, I hope that you will get out of the coming season exactly what you are looking for.