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Deer Management Scottish Deer Health Survey 2017-2018 Habitat & Species Protection Counting for Waders Wild Fowling in Scotland Deer Ponies Woodlands in Scotland The Great British Shooting Show 2018 In Focus Bisley at Braidwood Classic Gun By Ross Haygarth Scottish Ladies Shooting The Interview With Niall Rowantree West Highland Shooting £2.00

november 2017


Cooking with Game With Wendy Barrie Country Woman With Emma Perrott Mind our Business Pace Productions Tried & Tested Review Zamberlan 1005 Hunter Pro GTX Boots Plus Scottish Country Life Scottish Gamekeepers Association World Pheasant Association Scottish Countryside Alliance Scottish Association for Country Sports Venison Photo Competition and much more


november 2017

editor's bit Building & growing… I hope you all like the new look and feel of this, our 3rd edition of Shooting Scotland Magazine? In stepping up the quality feel of the magazine now, at this early stage in developing and growing the title, we hope that more people will be encouraged to go out and buy the magazine, while keeping each issue for reference purposes, we do like a long shelf life! We have also increased the editorial contents and subjects to create more of a ‘big read’ approach. Of course, we still have a lot more to do, but with the continuing good will that we are getting, the future looks very bright indeed as we turn our heads here towards our plans for 2018. I can confirm that we will publish Shooting Scotland Magazine three times next year, with the publications dates being at the beginning of June, August and December. In addition to our newsagent distribution, we are also building our bespoke National Network of locations where the magazine is available from throughout Scotand. These include Gunsmiths, Shooting Centres, Country Sports Hotels and accessory suppliers etc. In other words, in Scotland – we are going to be in all the right places! I am also delighted to announce that we will be at The Scottish Game fair at Scone Palace in July 2018 – with our First edition of 2018 on the stand of course! Slàinte, Athole. EDITOR & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail:

MAIN FEATURES 8 Wild Fowling in Scotland 22 Deer Ponies 28 Woodlands in Scotland 58 The British Shooting Show 2018 ARTICLES 14 To Kill A Crow NEWS AREAS 4 News 62 Outdoor Look 65 What’s New IN FOCUS 15 Bisley at Braidwood THE INTERVIEW 34 Niall Rowantree, West Highland Shooting COUNTRY WOMAN 48 With Emma Perrott ARTWORKS 56 Featuring rural artist Iain Alexander Montgomery MIND OUR BUSINESS 60 Pace Productions TRIED & TESTED REVIEW 64 Zamberlan 1005 Hunter ProGTX Boots REGULARS 18 Habitat & Species Protection 20 Eagle Review 21 Classic Gun 30 Scottish Ladies Shooting 35 Fox Control 36 Gun Dogs 38 Scottish Countryside Alliance 40 Deer Management 42 Falconer 44 Cooking with Game 46 Scottish Association of Country Sports 52 The Ghillie 54 Favourite Reads 55 Whisky Offer 57 Scottish Country Life COLUMNS 9 Viewpoint 11 Scottish Gamekeepers Association 23 The Deerstalker 25 The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust 31 Breaking Barriers 37 The World Pheasant Association 41 Rural Training 45 Air Guns/Venison Photo Competition FRONT COVER IMAGE: Hunter with the days shoot 50 The Gift of Grouse






PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Christina Fleming Email:

ADVERTISING MANAGER Barry Tweed Tel. 01738 550157 Email:

ADVERTISING MANAGER Trevor Knights Tel. 01738 447378 Email:

COPYRIGHT This publication has been produced and published by ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD who are the copyright owners. No reproduction, copying, image scanning, storing or recording of any part of this publication without the permission of ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD. Contents disclaimer: SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is not responsible for any factual inaccuracies within press information supplied to us. Any concerns regarding such matters should be directed to the supplier of the materials.

SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is designed, produced and published by Athole Design & Publishing Ltd., Tolastadh, 18 Corsie Drive, Kinnoull, Perth, Scotland PH2 7BU. Tel. 01738 639747


news Land-based businesses remain ready to deliver for rural Scotland Estates are willing partners in delivering for rural Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates has said. The organisation, which represents land-based businesses, said its members embraced many of the goals outlined in the Scottish Land Commission’s first strategic plan, published recently. David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “We recognise that land reform

is an ongoing process, and the Scottish Land Commission’s first strategic plan brings with it the hope that the ability of private landownership to deliver benefits for all of Scotland will be more readily acknowledged as this reform evolves over the next decade. “Estates are at the forefront of delivering housing in rural areas, often at reduced market rates and with a higher provision than that made

available by local authorities. Land-based businesses play an active role in sectors such as agriculture, forestry, food and drink, energy and tourism, providing thousands of jobs as well as driving prosperity in our rural areas. “We want to deliver further growth in our rural economies in future years and all types of ownership, whether private, community or public, will have a part to play in achieving

that. The work of the Scottish Land Commission, delivering independently-led research and analysis, can ensure a joinedup approach is taken to policy affecting land.” Scottish Land & Estates added that the new Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, which was published today, aligns with many aspects of the organisation’s Landowners’ Commitment which was published in 2014.

Fears for wild Mull salmon after 11,000 escape from farm River workers are expressing growing concern for wild salmon around Mull after it emerged a recent escape from a local fish farm saw over 11 000 farmed fish entering rivers. In August, the escape from a Scottish Salmon Company farm at Geasgill near Ulva was reported to Marine Scotland after employees noted low numbers during a routine grading exercise. It has now been confirmed 11 040 farmed salmon have entered local rivers including the River Ba, one of very few rivers in the west of Scotland given a class 1 rating for salmon conservation. On four beats directly affected by the escape, a total of around 250 of the fish have been accounted for, leaving thousands traveling through local systems. Ghillies have been ordering any farmed salmon caught to be killed and not returned.

However, given other high profile escapes around the island’s waters there is now real concern that cross-breeding between cage escapees and wild salmon will weaken the wild gene pool, with unknown biological consequences. There are also longer-term fears over the health of wild fisheries being expressed by riparian owners around the affected river system, with visiting anglers landing modified fish. Greg Marsh of the SGA (Scottish Gamekeepers Association) Fishing Group, who looks after operations at River Coladoir and Loch Scridain says Scottish Government attempts to make aquaculture more environmentally sustainable are not working. “The Ba is a class one river, which means it is rated by Scottish Government scientists

as having the highest grading for conservation of wild salmon. “There are now a lot of farmed fish through it and up into Loch Ba. People here are up in arms. “What effect is this going to have on the wild fish? What will fisheries be offering in 3 or 4 years’ time? Fish of unknown genetic purity. “We can continue to catch and dispatch as many of the escaped fish as we can but the damage has been done because lots won’t be caught. “Those on the environmental side in Scottish Government need to raise greater awareness of the dangers to wild fish caused by escapes from fish farms and start doing something more effective about it.” Marsh says all Scottish anglers now need to now be able to identify farmed salmon in rivers to ensure

the fish are not being re-released into the system, if caught. Back in April this year 20 000 fish and 1300 wrasse escaped from a Scottish Sea Farms plant at Bloody Bay on Mull, with predictions that some of those escapees will now be in mainland rivers. “One of the key differences in appearance between wild and farmed salmon is that the vents on a wild salmon will be reddy/brown and slightly swollen at this time of year. “Farmed salmon have silver vents, their adipose, tail and pectoral fins look smaller and are often shredded and there is very little to identify whether they are male or female. “The likelihood of crossbreeding is a real concern so people need to know the difference if the impacts of these escapes are to be contained in any way.”

Award for Speysider’s work with the iconic red grouse A Speysider whose quarter century of research into reducing diseases which impact on Scotland’s iconic moorland bird, the red grouse, has landed a major award for his work. David Howarth (64) ran a guesthouse before an early 4

interest in the countryside morphed into a career, monitoring the impacts of parasites on the breeding success of the native bird in the mountains close to his Kingussie home. During 25 years at Game

and Wildlife Conservation Trust, David – who started with no scientific qualificationgained respect for his research into how gut worms and tick affect grouse breeding. Working with local gamekeepers, his hours spent on

the high tops of the Cairngorms National Park in all weathers helped inform new management approaches to reducing the parasites which cause cyclical fluctuations in red grouse populations. Yesterday (Friday) his

news research work was recognised with him receiving the Ronnie Rose Memorial Trophy for Conservation and Education, presented by Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing. The award, inaugurated by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association in honour of late conservationist, forester and author, Ronnie Rose MBE, is for lasting contributions benefitting Scotland’s land and rivers. “It is a real honour to receive this award,” said David. “My work, particularly in the last 20 years, focused on diseases which were having a deleterious affect on grouse populations. “If you manage to reduce the disease burdens, naturally you get greater productivity. This benefits the grouse as a bird. On a local level, it also benefits the nearby sporting estates which helps, in turn, to finance the continued management of the moorlands in the area. This

management benefits other species, as well as having wider economic benefits. “When my wife and I moved here in 1990, the estate behind us employed 2 gamekeepers, now there are 6. When I gave talks with the Trust, I always tried to explain to people that the heather hills people love are not just there, naturally or by accident. It is the gamekeepers out there, largely unseen, managing the heather and keeping a lid on the predators that makes it look the way it is. It is important that message is not lost in future.” SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said the work of researchers like David had helped to create stability and employment in rural communities and encouraged people to invest in the countryside. “Like farmers and other land managers, grouse estates need a level of confidence that


news the area they are working in is sustainable. “The work of people like David in helping us understand how populations fluctuate with disease, and how to minimise that where possible, has led to employment for gamekeepers and other land managers such as shepherds, who will manage hill sheep in order to reduce tick burdens. “Although not a scientist by training, David established very good relations with practical people and his work makes him highly deserving of this award.”

Crafty Rabbit is the new kid on the block Crafty Rabbit England has launched with much success in the UK. Their products have been received with incredible feedback from their customers. Dan Warren – The Crafty Rabbit Himself says: “I originally set the business up as an online only retail outlet, but I was surprised and pleased to learn that magazine readers still want and need that contact with a human being. It just goes to show that discerning customers still need to feel that they want a service provided in the old fashioned way; with a conversation between retailer and customer. Although this wasn’t part of the plan – it really breaks my day up and makes running the business so much more enjoyable. I have had great fun speaking with customers and discovering what products they need and how they use them. This has given us many new ideas for new product lines that we are currently working on…This is why we chose to use products such as Shooting Scotland Magazine. It really benefits us to ne able to communicate with customers using technology but also we never underestimate the power of a quality magazine”. Interested retail stockists can get in touch by email or phone 0330 1139418 6

Royal visit to Lintran Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal has opened the new premises of Lintran K9 Ltd. The Princess Royal’s visit celebrated 30 years in business for the company who have provided Dog Transit Solutions for many individuals plus the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Battersea, MOD, Police, Customs, Fire and Rescue and many more. Lintran directors, Frank and Isobel Hopkins said “It was an honour that Her Royal Highness visited our premises, and were thrilled that we could show her what we have achieved over 30 years, working with dogs and many professionals” Lintran provides many transit solutions from a single terrier box to large dogs or many dogs in vans. The dogs welfare is paramount in the company designs, and they have supplied many specialist vehicle fit outs, including dog handler vehicles

for the Ministry of Defence for the Falkland Islands, and some

award winning pick up kits with equipment storage.

The new way to buy Pilla Eyewear Sunglasses For Sport Ltd, a Pilla Premier Dealer, have just launched their brand-new website and in doing so have created a new way to buy Pilla Eyewear. Now it’s easy to buy individual components like a frame, RX optical insert, a Pilla case or one lens. Alternatively, you can build your own Pilla multi-lens kit. Sunglasses For Sport Ltd, a Pilla Premier Dealer, have just launched their brand-new website and in doing so have created a new way to buy Pilla Eyewear. Now it’s easy to buy individual components like a frame, RX optical insert, a Pilla case or one lens. Alternatively, you can build your own Pilla multi-lens kit. Sunglasses For Sport’s Denzil Lee comments, “Now you don’t have to buy a 3-lens kit; you can just buy one frame and one lens, coming back later to buy additional lenses when you’re ready which means a much lower initial outlay. If

finances permit you can build your own kit with as many lenses as you want: two, three, four or more with discounts applying when you buy two or more lenses. And customers can choose exactly the lenses they want in their own kit. “And if you’re just looking to add an additional lens for your existing kit it’s now easy to

buy online with a choice of up to 14 different Pilla lens colour options. “With the simple option of just buying one frame and one lens to get started we feel this will open Pilla up to many more shooters.” To see the new way to buy Pilla, visit the re-launched Sunglasses For Sport website at:

wild fowling

Wildfowling in Scotland By Linda Mellor Scotland is home to some of the wildest countryside in the UK. The vast open areas of land, deep lochs and long coastlines are popular habitats for wildlife. When the wildfowling season opens on September 1st, wildfowlers will partake in the centuries old sport of wildfowling. Wildfowling is defined as shooting wild fowl in wild places, and as shooting sports go, it can be the most challenging due to the unique nature of the sport; the conditions, the locations and the weather. The fowler reads the tide, the moon and the wind and will tune into


wild fowling

View Point By Niall Rowantree

Times they are a changing nature. It can be a hazardous sport due to the risk of being cut off by incoming tides, so extensive local knowledge is essential to stay safe. The Emergency services have been called to the rescue of many an inexperienced wildfowler. It is truly a sport where you are relying on your field craft, local knowledge and shooting abilities. The outcome is unpredictable and the quarry offers no guarantees of turning up. There are a number of quarry species of wild goose and duck, and wildfowlers must be competent in identifying them from other protected species in poor light, so they to pick out, and shoot the correct birds. The sport also requires a good level of fitness and strength, as climbing across mudflats and estuaries is physically exhausting. A trained, reliable, strong dog to retrieve the shot birds is a must. Inland or foreshore wildfowling can also be challenging for a dog due to the mud. Shot birds falling into the water may be taken out to sea on the tide, and without a dog, the bird is lost. Whilst many breeds can work well on the foreshore and in rivers, the Labrador is a popular choice as they are strong swimmers, and they use their tail like a rudder and are big enough to lift huge,

heavy geese. Other breeds can work equally well but strength and swimming ability have to be considered. I haven’t done lots of wildfowling but I do recall going out shooting mallards with my dad when I was young. Most of my childhood wildfowling memories are of the weather and the light; it was cold, wet and always getting dark. I do have vivid memories of late winter afternoons and misty, fast fading light and orangey coloured sunsets. I also recall being given the task of plucking the ducks in the kitchen sink, and how fascinated I was by the beautiful colours in the feathers. I have been out with shooting parties on an evening duck flight after a day of driven pheasant shooting. We’d sit quietly in hides by the pond, and wait. Suddenly, as if on silent approach, you’d hear the soft wing beat of the first duck, and watch it drop, feet first, into the water in front of us, then two, then three and followed in by a large flock. I also remember one of the guns not paying attention when we left the hides, and he fell into the water on a cold October night. In the 70s and 80s, my dad, Lawrie Robertson, used to go wildfowling (mostly, without me!) around the Cutt

By the this time of year, the majority of highland deer forest will at least have been out for a look at the stags, if not made a start to the annual cull and minds will have drifted from deer reviews and letters from SNH highlighting their intention to use the powers in legislation at their disposal. The draw of highland deer stalking continues to attract sportsman and women from all over the world and this iconic resource not only fills hotels and self-catering accommodation throughout the deer range but has the knock on effect of employing a whole range of people in rural communities from butchers to hoteliers. For the deer in the west highlands, it’s not been the worst year and although wet, the grazing has been abundant and overall condition of the animals has responded well and we enter the autumn with some excellent stags already joining the hinds. So maybe it’s now time when you’re out and about to think about the next review that lies just around the corner and how important it is to maintain the freedoms to manage our natural resources at a local community level and protect the important local employment it generates. These days, many folk draw a vision of Scotland from looking across the North Sea

to our Scandinavian cousins and this I feel could more support our position rather than erosion of it in the review to come as they have strong opinion that communities must have involvement in the management of all natural resources on their doorstep and to them the social and economic elements rank as importantly as the environmental ones. In the last review to many a lot of emphasis was placed on the cost of deer management particularly on public land which led us to conclude that perhaps this could be a good starting point, we are one of the few country’s I know of that spend vast sums of taxpayers money controlling a natural resource as problem rather than maximising it value at a local level. With the vast swathes of land currently at the disposal of the Scottish Government and its agencies being managed at a cost perhaps this is where change can come easily and the wider community be given access to harvest their on food along the lines of the North American and Scandinavian models. This would allow government to demonstrate how to integrate all the land uses with its environmental objectives and create a focal point that we could all learn from.


wild fowling at Auchmuirbridge, on the banks of the Tay at Newburgh and on a friend’s farm on the shoreline of Loch Leven by Scotlandwell. He said, “Shooting geese was the biggest challenge because you never knew what height they’d come in on. But wildfowling is a good way of giving your gundog a range of retrieves and broadening his experience. The unpredictable conditions meant the dog had the opportunity to think for himself, and cope with the water, the current, and hopefully has the chance to retrieve a big Goose.” A few seasons ago, I did go wildfowling at Tyninghame Bay, part of the John Muir Country Park, in East Lothian. I accompanied local fowler Murray Glass on a couple of reccie outings before the season opened to look at the bird activity. We went out at dusk, dressed in camo, and would lie in the long grass by


the seas wall and watch the birds coming in. It was exciting to hear geese honking then as they flew closer the honking increased to deafening levels as hundreds flew overhead. A large skein of geese flew so low over us, you could feel the air move, disturbed by their beating wings. As we walked back to the car in the fading light it was wonderful to watch two ghostly looking Barn Owls hunting in the hedgerow. They looked across at us but carried on hunting in silence, flying slowly around the hawthorn bushes looking for their evening meal. It’s these experiences we all love, and it’s part of the joy of being outdoors, you are privileged to see nature doing it’s thing when most people are tucked up in their warm houses, watching TV. When the season opened a few days later, I joined Murray, who shoots under

wild fowling

This is what we do! permit on the estuary, just before dusk. Conditions were good as we headed to the spot where we’d been previously, I was surprised to see so many Wildfowlers out that evening; most were decked out in heavy camouflage and sitting in their man-made hides. We walked on, putting some distance between us and the others, and settled into position, partially covered by some undergrowth and some driftwood we’d found nearby. Hardly any time had passed, when we heard some distant honking, but it faded away on the wind. Then, sometime later, a skein came right in and over us. A neighbouring gunner moved quickly and shot into the skein bringing down one pink-footed goose, and his dog was sent out to retrieve it some distance across the foreshore. The next skein followed on shortly afterwards but was flying much, much higher than the first. A couple of fowlers took shots at them but you knew they were well out of range. For the next hour and a half, we sat and watched. Our senses were on high alert, desperate to pick up any sounds of more geese arriving. Apart from two Herons coming into land, we saw nothing else. It was dark when we packed up and made our way back to the car empty handed. Murray said, “there’s something very rewarding and relaxing in being outdoors; it

gives you a sense of freedom and it’s great to see the dogs working. I don’t necessarily shoot each time I go out, I will put down my gun and watch the otters in the river, foxes and badgers, tawny owls hunting along the salt marsh, dolphins or a minky whale in Belhaven Bay. You have to adapt when you are out, when the harvest starts everything changes, your favourite spots have shifted and you need to find out where the birds are coming in. Another aspect I enjoy about wildfowling is the food side; I cook and eat everything I shoot, roast mallard or teal is a favourite, and recently, I tried out a new recipe of steamed goose in cider.” Mark Robson runs Fife based Pigeonalldaylong, said, “I did lots of wildfowling in my youth. There so much more to see if you’re sitting in amongst it as it is right in front of you. I’ve sat and watched Red Shanks from 20 feet away and saw a Peregrine hit them. You can find remote locations and enjoy the solitary nature of the sport.” “If you can live near where you want to go shooting it’s easier to do the reconnaissance. You can find the birds roosting, get to know the tides, and where to go. You can sit back and observe then pick a place to shoot from, but if you get it wrong, you could be sitting in the wrong place watching the geese flying in elsewhere.

By Alex Hogg, Chariman Having successfully seen new legislation introduced in Scotland to permit vets to shorten the tails of working Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers in order to avoid greater harm in later life, the SGA is now focusing on fresh priorities. It is clear, with the growing rise of activism harnessed by social media, that those opposed to game shootingand more specifically grouse shooting- will continue to press government for more and more legislation until they achieve their aim, which is to see it ended. This is now a sad reality and one that everyone in our industry must wake up to. Never before in my 40 years as a gamekeeper have I seen such divides and such mistrust in the countryside. Unfortunately, the activism which is often more expected of single issue groups, is now increasingly being adopted by the NGO charities and, when agendas are so clear, hopes of working together to find commonality becomes more difficult. Great strides have been taken in our industry to get on top of issues such as the use of poison in the countryside.

This is reflected in official Scottish Government statistics. When it comes to wildlife crime, in general, clearly we all have to do more. However, our own industry also has to take a greater lead in making people see the whole debate and not just the very narrow one which opponents of shooting would like everyone to fixate on forever. We have many good stories to tell. Our record in bird conservation is every bit as good as environmental charities and, often, better. The difference is that the Scottish people get this for free because the income from shooting pays for the management by gamekeepers which produces the conservation gains. Those who would like to see this removed have little care for that, for the wildlife that will suffer, the drain on the national purse or the unemployment. It is up to us to continue to care and to teach, whenever and wherever we can, the benefits of what skilled gamekeepers, stalkers and wildlife managers provide. It’s time for the whole industry to stand up for what we are. Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Niall Rowantree is Headstalker andCentre. Sporting Manager of Inveralmond Business West Highland HuntingPerth, PH1 3FX. 6 Auld Bond Road, South Inveralmond, Tel: 01738 587515

wild fowling

If it’s a windy morning, go out and see how the wind affects everything, with more experience, you begin to know where to go and how to read the conditions.� said Mark. There are many areas in Scotland offering prime wildfowling especially on the east coast, and some allow wildfowling only on a permit


basis. The John Muir Country Park run a permit scheme, and you must apply for it in advance of the season starting. Local Countryside Rangers will check permits and shotgun licences of wildfowlers out shooting. If you are interested in the sport and keen to try it out join your local wildfowlers club.

wild fowling *Wildfowling Season in Scotland: 1st September and closes 31 January – Above the mean high water mark/20 February – Below the Mean High Water mark. Duck and goose species can only be shot, below Mean High Water, after 31 January. Wildfowl and waders may not be shot on Sundays and on Christmas Day. *Source:


To kill a crow SACS director, Alex Stoddart, looks back and remembers the effort and worth in controlling crows

The hoodie crow folded to the shot and landed with a thump on the hillside far below. 36 grams of no.4 shot. Winchester Super-speed; red plastic with a long brass head and came in an assorted box of old ‘fox shot’ cartridges from Charlie, my neighbour on Skye. As a keen and fit lad starting out on the fox dens, Charlie was giving me the support I needed to do things right, first time. Cartridges weren’t things to be wasted; each one had to find its mark, whether fox or crow. My stone sailed harmlessly past the hidden nest and the hoodie took to the air. From the clifftop above I swung through and pressed the rear trigger of the old side-by-side, barrels momentarily blocking my view after the sharp recoil, but ears picking up the ‘crump’ of heavy pellets striking home; a fitting end to a long and careful approach. It had been a two-hour stalk, interspersed with a half hour skulk in a peatbog like Richard 14

Hannay in the Thirty-Nine Steps, while the hoodies circled and searched for me like Great War fighter planes looking for a target. One half of my body was cold and soaked in the wet moss of the bog; the other baked dry by the spring sunshine. At the first opportunity I sprinted into better cover beyond some boulders and shook off the peaty slime. I blamed my predicament on a keen young eye and the battered and borrowed telescope slung across my shoulder. Spying for vixen movement in faraway cairns, knowing favourite boulders below rowan trees where they like to den and warm spots where they like to curl up in the sun, my eyes spotted movement in a clifftop high above. A wee twist of the eyepiece brought the black and grey bird into focus, sitting warily on its nest in the nook of a crag. Gotcha! The lambs had been having more bother from hoodies than foxes that year, and I had observed what hell they had

been to the nesting waders the year before, so I considered the merits of stalking into positon below the crag and taking an opportunistic shot when they flew past. But even using all the dead ground available, I knew my movement would be spotted by one of the pair. The only option was to circuit wide and come in from above. At last, I sat down in a depression by the clifftop and, considering the lengthy stalk to get to that point, wondered why I had taken the bother. What if the hoodies had seen me? Would my time not have been better spent checking lambs instead of stalking crows. Sighing, I loaded the gun and approached the edge of the cliff. But from no angle could I get a view of the nest – hidden from my eyes in a concave section of rock. What to do now? An old ploy on dozing hill foxes is to roll a decent-sized flat stone edgeways down a braeside a fox might be expected to lie up on. Then, from above, you can

usually get a snap rifle shot as the fox offers a moment’s hesitation whilst loping off. So I thought about trying the same here, making sure where the stone would land safely in the rocks below. It worked and I killed the hoodie. That lambing season, and the next two, I repeated varying kinds of ‘hoodie ambushes’ until there was hardly a single nesting pair left in that vast wild area. And what a difference good keen fox and crow control made for the waders, grouse and wee hill birds as well as the lambs. Back then I did not know anything about cage traps, but improvised with youthful energy, old gun and guile. If, like me, you are a huntershooter-conservationist in heart and soul, then make time for corvid control on your ground. It will make all the difference to those other beasties and birds out there who need our help. With so many benefits, killing a crow is a job well worth doing and worth doing well. Slàinte!


Located on a stunning estate in the Scottish Borders just south of Edinburgh overlooking the Eildon Hills, and boasting Scotland’s largest and most versatile clay shooting ground Bisley at Braidwood offers the same world-leading facilities and tuition as its sister club in Surrey and is a destination for all the family, offering: • Over 100 traps in nearly 30 purpose built stands and sheds around the grounds including 2 Sportrap Sheds, A national competition level Skeet ground, Grouse Butts, High Pheasant and more. • The first full-bore pipe range in Scotland offering an unrivalled environment for the rifle shot. For those who load their own ammunition there is no better place to test which loads work best for you • An Indoor Air Rifle range with 4 shooting positions and space for up to ten people, our

• • •

sheltered seating area offers space to shoot a range of fixed and paper targets. in all weather conditions. A fully stocked gunroom retailing everything from air rifles & semi-autos, to rifles and the finest shotguns. Regular Ladies Days and Young Shot days which are always fun. A fantastic sporting retail store providing a wide range of items. A comfortable clubhouse offering home baked cakes or delicious meals from the restaurant.

With a Group shooting history dating back to the 19th century, as well as being praised and frequented by the best in the business including British Olympic Gold medallists, and

several members of the current Scottish Shooting team, the Bisley Shooting Group is a family owned business steeped in history. Clay Shooting Clay shooting lessons – Why not try one of the fastest growing sports in the country, fun for everyone (including children aged 10+) with no prior experience necessary. No license or insurance needed. Lessons must be booked in advance. Bisley at Braidwood is Scotland’s largest clay pigeon shooting venue. The range is set in a beautiful estate in the Borders of Scotland, overlooking the Eildon Hills, just south of Edinburgh. Whether a novice or a seasoned pro, our professional instructors will make sure you get the most out of your clay

pigeon shooting lesson and have a huge amount of fun too. Whether you come to the range on your own, with friends, family or colleagues, we have everything you need for a great day out. Relax in the comfort of the clubhouse, catch up with friends in the cafe or restaurant serving delicious home cooking – or why not look into the retail store or gunroom? Whatever your goals just let us know! All lessons include gun hire, professional tuition, clays and cartridges. Lessons can be either 25 shot, 50 shot, 75 shot and 100 shot lessons. Rifle Range Not just for the shotgun shot, Bisley at Braidwood is also home to the 1st digital full-bore pipe rifle shooting range in Scotland. Open Tuesday – Sunday.



Our digital pipe range is perfect for rifle owners to ensure that they are ‘on target’ within the safe confines of an indoor enclosed environment sheltering them from wind, rain and the elements all year round. Consisting of a firing point and target area, connected by a 100m long concrete pipe which is six foot in diameter the comfort of the range is perfect for rifle shooters, both recreational, competitive and sporting. For those who load their own ammunition there is no better place to test which loads work best for you. With leading bullet tracking software which is customisable to the individual, and the ability to log as much data as you wish – you have everything at your fingertips. Shooters who currently hold a valid Firearms Certificate and have their own rifle can book for half-hour slots, maximum an hour per person or per group. Advanced booking is recommended, although if the pipe range is free then clients are more than welcome to book in person and use the facilities. The facilities cost £15 per half hour. Rifle hire £5 per half hour. Supervision (if needed) £29 per hour, minimum 1 hour booking. Maximum calibre 7mm. Air Rifle Range Bisley at Braidwood’s Air Rifle range has 4 shooting positions with a variety of targets to challenge even the most accomplished shot! Open to both Members and Non-Members, our Air Rifle range offers a great alternative to Shotgun shooting! With space for up to ten people, our sheltered seating area offers space to shoot in all weather

conditions. Please note the range must be booked in advance. Gunsmith The team from Bisley at Braidwood near Selkirk in Scotland pride themselves on a swift, honest and reliable gunsmiths service. We understand that the unexpected can happen to your shotgun or firearm and we deal with everything from factory level repairs, renovations, and modifications to alterations for special uses. Perhaps you have inherited or purchased a new gun that requires some adjustments to ensure maximum fit? Everything is possible and we ensure a friendly, swift turnaround in service across the board. From woodworking, checkering, machining, metal finishing and metalworking, our gunsmith has a wealth of understanding when it comes to the mechanical characteristics and function of guns. The Gun Room The gunroom at Braidwood offers a selection of shotguns from famous manufacturers like Beretta and Browning. The range of guns on offer caters for many different shooting applications, across all budgets, and anything not immediately available can usually be brought in on request. Rifles and airguns are also available, as well as a range of ammunition and accessories, so you can be kitted out with everything you might need for your day’s shooting. Gun repairs or alterations can be carried out if required. Restaurant & Catering With a 100 – seater Cafe serving

delicious home cooking from local produce to fresh made cakes. The Clubhouse Cafe is the perfect place to relax with friends before or after shooting. In fact shooting is far from being a requirement, so if you are not a shot but want to enjoy the delights from the kitchen, then we look forward to seeing you. Ladies days This is a great fun day without any alpha-male pressure! All Ladies are welcome, whatever your experience and we particularly encourage those new to the sport. The key to the day is maximum fun with like-minded women, expert instruction and a jolly good tea at the end of it! With our huge array of shotguns and custom loaded cartridges that give less recoil, you and your friends are guaranteed to have a super day. Young Shots A bespoke event for 10-17 year olds, the aim of Young Shots Day is maximum fun for all. Our expert instructors will give a background to safety, etiquette and what to expect on a shoot, followed by an exciting slightly competitive session in our indoor Air Rifle Range Before taking the Young Shots on an exhilarating tour of the world-class grounds shooting clays. Our qualified instructors will always get the best out of the Young Shots in a very relaxed and friendly manner. With our huge array of shotguns and light cartridges that give less recoil, the Young Shots and their friends are guaranteed to have a super day. Why not do something different –

whatever your ability, from novice to experienced, you are guaranteed to have fun on Young Shots Day. Bring along some friends! Private and Corporate Events Private & Corporate Clay Pigeon Shooting Events are all about having maximum fun within a relaxed atmosphere with likeminded individuals. No license, insurance or experience necessary. Clay pigeon shooting events at Bisley at Braidwood in the Borders of Scotland have everything you need for a truly memorable experience, from the clay shooting right through to the delicious home cooked food from our restaurant. It has proven time and time again to be an exciting private or corporate event because everyone can take part and best of all, no experience is necessary! The professional instructors at Bisley at Braidwood will ensure that everyone has a fantastic time and receive expert tuition. Schools and Colleges Bisley at Braidwood, works alongside several Scottish Borders Schools and our Local Borders Scotland Team (Helping to build our National Team) 5 of the current Scottish Shooting team are either membersat Bisley or Sponsored shots at Bisley. We are extremely proud of our Guys and Girls and look forward to seeing them all in action again soon. They were most recently in action for the Internationals in Ireland and most of the team did their final practice at Bisley.

For further details on all of our activities and services, please call our Reception +441835870280 or


Challenge Yourself At the best Sporting Clay Ground in Scotland

The Bisley Shooting Group is a world leader in its field with two of the finest clay shooting grounds in Britain with unparalleled tuition and facilities, set within stunning grounds. Our Shooting Grounds at Braidwood are Located on a stunning estate in the Scottish Borders just south of Edinburgh overlooking the Eildon Hills, and boasts Scotland’s largest and most versatile clay shooting grounds as well as being home to the country’s first full-bore rifle pipe range. Over 100 traps in nearly 30 purpose built stands and sheds around the grounds including 2 Sportrap Sheds, a national competition level Skeet ground, Grouse Butts, High Towers and much more. The first full-bore pipe range in Scotland offering an unrivalled environment for the rifle shot. For those who load their own ammunition there is no better place to test which loads work best for you An Air Rifle range with 4 covered shooting positions and space for up to ten people, our sheltered seating area offers space to shoot a range of fixed and paper targets. in all weather conditions. A fully stocked gunroom retailing everything from air rifles & semi-autos, to rifles and the finest shotguns, ammunition and accessories. Regular Ladies Days and Young Shot days which are always a great day and great fun. A fantastic sporting retail store providing a wide range of items. A comfortable clubhouse offering home baked cakes or delicious meals from the restaurant. Top class Instruction available for those seeking lessons (Please book in advance). For license holders, no need to book. Just arrive and Pay and Play on the Best Grounds in Scotland.

Bisley at Braidwood Midlem, Nr Selkirk, Scottish Borders TD7 4QD Tel: 01835 870280 Email:

habitat and species protection

Counting for Waders

A new initiative from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust By Merlin Becker, GWCT Policy and Advisory Officer A countryside rich in both game and wildlife is what the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust strives for. To succeed, we all need to work together from the practitioners on the ground to the policymakers, guiding the environmental sector in a wise, pragmatic direction. GWCT has a long history of scientific research into UK wading bird population dynamics, how they breed and, more importantly, how they can be protected and conserved. There have been dramatic declines in many of our

upland bird species, most notably our breeding curlew population. It’s reported that there are fewer than 300 pairs of curlew south of Birmingham in England, with a forecast of regional species extinction in less than ten years. GWCT Scotland is now rolling out wader count training courses – an initiative that stems from the Moorland Forum’s Working for Waders. Wader counts involve farmers, gamekeepers and land managers carrying out the monitoring themselves

recognising that “boots on the ground” are best suited to knowing the local conditions, landscape and the species there. Also, local community buy-in for such matters is key to achieving a balanced, sustainable approach to landscapescale nature conservation. There are two different types of count. Firstly, three line transect counts will be undertaken from the first week of April to the first week in June each year, with the third count being no earlier than the third week in May to gauge wader

chick fledging success. These line transect counts will aim to count the maximum number of breeding pairs of wading birds. The second type of count is known as a vantage point watch. These are conducted from points across a farm/estate with adequate views of breeding wader hot spots and where one can sit (ideally in a vehicle to minimise disturbance) and use binoculars to count wader chicks. This will give us all a better understanding on how species such as lapwing and oystercatcher



£800.00 £500.00 £350.00 £250.00 £400.00 £800.00



habitat and species protection

Curlew and chicks. Photo, GWCT

are breeding in the many different areas we are hoping to cover with this large-scale monitoring scheme. As part of GWCT’s Advisory Service across Scotland and to support this initiative, we now offer wader count training

days, which incorporate all the background information required, identification skills, and a brief example of a count where attendees physically walk a transect line. GWCT also offers one-to-one morning wader counts involving

one of our Advisory team accompanying a farmer, keeper or land manager and physically carrying out a complete early morning count. We have had a high turnout for our training days in Aberdeenshire and East Lothian,

and one morning outing near Kelso produced a fantastic curlew count. This approach and the resulting data will help move our understanding forward on wader conservation, including issues such as farming practices and predator impacts. Undoubtedly future adaptive management options for waders will have other positive knock-on effects for other sensitive species of conservation concern like black grouse, ring ouzel and merlin. These birds are but a few species amongst many others that are continuously failing to maintain stable populations, so we must adapt and try new approaches to combat these challenges, following the ethos of conservation through wise use and management. If you are interested in attending a GWCT wader count training course please contact: T: 01738 551511 E:

Gundog Specialist Training Equipment; Leads, Collars, Dummies, Vests and more We are suppliers of high quality and fully tested Gundog Training Equipment including Mystique and accessories for both professional gundog trainers and gundog enthusiasts. This includes a range of Leads, Collars, Dummies, Whistles, Vests, Game bags and much more. We also specialise in equipment for dogs for deer including harnesses, collars and tracking lines. Our aim is to supply the right choice of the right gundog and deer dog equipment at the right price, on time every time. To do this we have conducted extensive research into what is wanted by gundog trialers, trainers, pickers up, and deer stalkers. We very much hope that this site will become a live and active source of traditional and modern equipment, giving the gundog solutions to all your training needs.

Tel: 01527 870906 Mobile: 07860 827318 19

Independent travel advisor for shooting, hunting & fishing

Eagle Review by Linda Mellor Hunting, shooting and fishing contribute billions to the global economy. There are thousands of worldwide locations to visit, and a vast range of fur, feather and fin species to choose from. There are also many agents, outfitters, guides, consultants, operators and estates selling tailored packages to suit all budgets. If you are looking for a new destination for your next hunting, shooting or fishing adventure there is no escaping from the fact you will have to do lots of legwork. Whether it is a trip of a lifetime, working your way through a bucket list, or you fancy going further afield, you will likely spend countless hours trawling through a


multitude of websites before you are able to collate your results and compare. Not anymore. Eagle Review is an international review and rating platform for thousands of worldwide shooting and fishing destinations. On the Eagle Review website, you can choose what you want to do and where you want to go. You can compare the destinations and read reviews to find out what other people have said about their experiences before you make your booking. Currently, there are more than 3,500 worldwide destinations across 150 countries. The site is straightforward to use; simply pick a location, activity, species and season in which you’d like to plan your trip. You can narrow your search or expand it. Compare your options and read the reviews and then make your booking direct with the owner. Upon your return, you can help fellow sporting men and women,

by visiting the Eagle Review site to comment on your trip. The reviewing aspect of the platform gives fishing and shooting enthusiasts’ confidence to a book their ideal destination without the worry of the unknown. Customer feedback gives us a valuable insight and helps us to make up our minds. If you are planning on travelling to the other side of the world to shoot Bushbuck or to fish for Blue Marlin, you can appreciate the value of an honest review. A good or bad review helps you to make an informed decision before you buy. If you run a shooting, hunting or fishing business, you can list your service for free and become a host. Customers can access the host website, contact them and book directly. The Eagle Review site is promoted to global audiences across social media, at tradeshows, and in publications. Hosts immediately benefit from worldwide visibility.

Coen Stork, CEO and Founder of Eagle Review, said: “Our aim is to generate a critical mass of user-generated global information (genuine reviews, fascinating and useful news), sufficient enquiries for Host Destinations, and interesting volumes for Advertisers. Our website has had a reach of almost 3 million visitors over the last few months.” The Eagle Review site is well-stocked. It shines the spotlight on the global hunting, fishing and shooting community and is underpinned by a valuable reviewing function and regularly updated news content. Visit


Here is a classic example of the most famous sporting shotgun made, the classic James Purdey Beesley-actioned self opening sidelock. Purdey introduced there self-opening sidelock in 1880, it was designed by there factory foreman Frederick Beesley who later sold the patent to his old boss when he set up on his own a few years later. The action is more correctly termed a ‘’spring cocker’’ & uses the energy stored in one leg of the V-type mainspring to cock the fired lock when the gun is opened, the other leg fires the lock. It was the first really successful self opening design.

This particular gun is no.1 of a pair with 29’’ chopper lumped barrels made of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s fluid pressed steel. It was built in 1887 for the well known glass magnate, Tom Pilkington, owner of Pilkington Glass in St Helens, just North of Liverpool who also owned the well known Sandside Sporting estate near Reay on the north coast of Caithness. At this time he was one of the wealthiest men in Britain & at one point he was travelling to London every year to order a new pair of sporting guns. The no. 2 gun was supplied with an extra set of choked barrels for Duck shooting &

the guns are in there original best oak & leather case with an extra compartment for the choke barrels. The actions & furniture are profusely engraved in best fine boquet & scroll & they are stocked in figured French walnut. They have pushrod forends, sprung disc set strikers, auto safes & intercepting scears. The ribs, forends & actions are numbered 1 & 2 to prevent the wrong barrels being fitted to the wrong action. The guns weigh 6lbs, 12 oz’s & balance right on the joint pins. The guns were split up at some point in there history & were reunited by the father of the current owner in around 1958/9.

The case was also found locally, in remarkably good condition. They were fully restored & reproofed (They were black powder proofed originally) at this time. They have been used extensively since including a day of double gunning on the Grouse on Clunes Estate near Tomatin in Invenesshire in the 70’s. The guns are very unusual in that they have never left Caithness for 130 years! You too can buy virtually the same guns new today if you take a trip to James Purdey’s showroom in South Audley Street in Mayfair, London but make sure you have £200,000 in your bank account first!

Ross Haygarth is the owner of CH Haygarth & Sons, Gun & Rifle Makers, in Dunnet, Caithness. They are Scotlands oldest family owned Gunmakers. Ross is the son of Colin Haygarth the famous Gunmaker, Trap shooter, sportsman & conservationist. Ross is considered to be one of Scotland’s leading experts on British Guns & Rifles. 21

deerstalking ponies

Deer Ponies by Linda Mellor

One of the most loved images of Scottish country sports is a highland pony laden with a stag and being led down


from the hill. The deer ponies have been a traditional and well-loved feature of stalking in the Highlands and, years

ago, were an essential part of Scottish sporting estates. Some ponies were ridden out by guests going stalking, and used

to bring the stags and hinds back down the hill to the estate larder. Nowadays, although numbers of working deer

deerstalking ponies

The Deerstalker By Kenneth Larsen, Venator Pro deerstalker and MD

ponies are greatly reduced, the demand exists on a few estates for this traditional form of deer extraction. The highland pony is one of four native Scottish breeds and is one of the largest of the mountain and moorland pony breeds of the British Isles. Sometimes called the garron, the highland is known for its docile nature, stamina and strength. Centuries ago the ponies also had an agricultural function and were used on farms and crofts, and for hauling timber through the forests. The highland garron was stout and reliable, and as an adaptable workhorse, it was a major asset on a croft and on the hill. These days, highland ponies are used to bring a stag down from the hill, transporting grouse or carrying lunch for a shooting party. They are bred and trained for hill work and to carry grouse in two custom-made wicker panniers. Stags and hinds are carried on a large deer saddle, which comes in three different styles and is made of leather (a century or so ago, the leather was pony hide). The sturdy saddle is built to carry the weight and proportions of a dead stag weighing around 18 stones. Some of the deer saddles still in use are in excess of 100 years old. If the saddles are made from a black leather they’re likely to be the original old saddles and the more modern ones are a dark, reddish brown in colour.

The Highland breed has had a long association with Royalty; in 1852 Prince Albert and Queen Victoria bought Balmoral and the ponies played an important part in the couple’s enjoyment of the Scottish countryside. Albert was a keen hunter and used the ponies to bring the Stags down from the hill. Victoria often accompanied him on stalks, and they shared a love of pony trekking. The ponies come in a variety of colours, with long flowing manes and tails, and most have a dorsal eel stripe down their backs. They are widely acknowledged for their strength, stamina and for being sure-footed. “Many country estates had 20 - 30 working ponies, and about the same number of people looking after them,” said Retired Stalker, Dougie Langlands. “Every pony that went to the hill had a person with it. Years ago, typically, five ponies would be going to the hill at one time but times have changed, and one person may have two ponies.” Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s many estates reduced the number of ponies or stopped using them all together. Subsequently, employee numbers were cut and Land Rovers and Argocats replaced the ponies. Dougie said, “Today, you have the most sophisticated machines but they can’t get into the difficult places a pony can. But, when you are finished

In Scotland, we are lucky to have a vibrant countryside and an abundant deer population; it’s understandable we see so many hunters coming here to stalk deer from around the globe. It has been a busy roe buck season for us, and we have enjoyed introducing many new hunters, including entire families to stalking. The deer thrive as they have plentiful food supply, trees and undergrowth for cover and shelter, and, of course, no predators. It’s easy to understand why these conditions are highly favourable, and why us stalkers are kept busy controlling numbers via management plans. There’s so much more to deerstalking than pulling the trigger. When out stalking you will physically benefit from the walking, and mentally, you’ll find it uplifting being out in the fresh air as you use your senses to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells.

Being outdoors at dawn and dusk, is the time when the wildlife is most active, so you are likely to see much more of nature especially if you are camouflaged. Enjoying the whole experience, is very much the philosophy we have here at Venator, as we promote the whole experience of deer stalking from field to plate. We are committed to supplying everything you need to go hunting by offering the whole ‘field to plate’ experience; clothing, footwear, larder equipment and guided stalking for the expert and the novice. For more than 12 months we have been developing an exciting range of seasoning designed to take your venison and game cooking to a new level. We all know how healthy venison is, so we have been working behind the scenes to produce our very own exclusive range of rubs, spices, mixes and recipes. Visit our website for the launch announcement.


deerstalking ponies with the machine, you take the key out and forget about it, however, when you take a pony back home you have to look after it, turn it out and stable it in the winter. A pony has a working life on the hill of 15 17 years. How often would you have to replace a machine over that amount of years; repair and service it?” “Years ago when the ponies were in use, all the estates were huge employers. The local primary schools would be full of estate children, but it’s certainly not the case nowadays.” Deer ponies are a great example of a more ‘Ecofriendly’ option. They can access places vehicles cannot, there are no exhaust fumes polluting the air and their hooves do less damage than wheels and tracks. Worldwide hunters associate stalking in the Scottish hills with a stag strapped to the saddle of a

highland pony and being led down from the hill by a gillie.


Integrated Security Solutions




Communications and Security for Farms and Estates



TEL: 01738 563000 24

Dougie said, “Stalking clients wouldn’t go to the beat with

the machine, they’d always want the beat with the pony.”

deerstalking ponies

Stalking ponies have a quiet and balanced nature but speak to any stalker and you will hear stories of the highland pony’s mischievous and stubborn traits. Rob Donaldson Webster recalls his first time as a pony boy. He was waiting on the radio call for him to take the pony up the hill to collect the shot stag. “It was a very hot day, I was waiting by the pony paddock over by the beach when I heard a shot and got the call on the radio to collect the stag. I saddled-up Petal, a 20 year highland, and we headed off up the hill. It was so hot that day, and I was gasping for a drink, so I stopped at a burn on the way up. The more experienced stalker had told me to hobble the pony if I planned on stopping for my piece, but as I was only getting a quick drink from the burn, I didn’t bother. I walked over to the burn and was dipping down,” said Rob, laughing. “When Petal came quietly up behind me and cowped me into the burn!” Drenched from head to toe, Rob clambered out of the water. “I turned around to see, what I could only describe as, a look of satisfaction on Petal’s face.” Petal was a character, and had a well-earned mischievous reputation and often caught out stalkers. Another stalker was taking Petal out and getting her ready. He saddled her up but let her go for a moment to do something else. Petal took

full advantage of her freedom, and took off! She headed to the Lodge which was five miles away. The stalker had to go on foot to the Lodge to catch her, then walk the five miles back with her and then, much later than planned, get up the hill to extract the deer. Petal had had several foals, and the stalkers thought she enjoyed taking trips to the Lodge to see them. Stalking ponies featured in the paintings of Artist and Gamekeeper’s wife, Mel Shand. After an inspirational month long stay in the USA in 2016, she immediately saw the parallels between the cowboys and the gamekeepers, and the horses on the ranch and the deer ponies. “I could see how the similarities in how the horses were used and how important they were. The trip had such a profound impact on me, when I returned to Scotland, I was full of inspiration to paint the Highlands working as deer ponies. I love the expressions of the Highland pony; they look great and also their character. They’re known for their stubbornness, and I’ve seen a pony deliberately lift its foot and place it on top of the person standing next to them.” The deer ponies are a popular attraction at game fairs. The Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for the working stalking pony was created in 2013 and judged at the GWCT Game Fair, Scone Palace. Ten ponies took part

A great year for the Welfare trust By Helen J Benson The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust has been celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2017, which was marked in Scotland by two events at Blair Athol Castle and Floors Castle respectively. We also regularly attend the GWCT Scottish Game Fair, with the SGA at Highland Fieldsports Fair at Moy and travel around the colleges in the Autumn. We are fully committed to Scotland’s Sporting heritage and future, to Scotland’s gamekeepers, stalkers and ghillies, their families and dependents. That’s what we are here for and that’s what we do – supporting those who need us, whether it is a friendly ear, someone to talk to through a difficult time, financial support through our grants for specific need, education, health, or beneficiaries over long term. We also keep in touch with the lonely and isolated which is a huge problem in rural locations – from young Mums, in ill health, the bereaved or the elderly. The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust is not just

for the retired and in later life, but for families and young keepers starting out. Examples of financial support include child care, equipment for children with special needs, illness or disease, help for working keepers during redundancy, accident or illness, and sometimes long term conditions for example Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s. How are we funded? Well, we rely on others to generate income by fundraising as well as fundraising ourselves. We are indebted to the Scottish Gamekeepers Association who has demonstrated their commitment and recognition of our work by their generous donation in 2017 and beyond. We work with the SGA, BASC and other organisations to spread the word and reach those who may need a helping hand. In future issues we will discuss specific problems which can affect keepers and their families. In the meantime call us anytime on our dedicated helpline: 0300 123088 25

deerstalking ponies and came from Balmoral Estate, Blair Castle, Garrogie, Invermark, Kinlochuichart, Tulchan of Glenisla, and Reay Forest. The competition was organized by The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Association of Deer Management Groups in memory of Fred Taylor, who was the highly respected head stalker on Invermark Estate, Angus, for more than 20 years but sadly died of cancer in 2012. The trophy was presented by Fred’s wife, to the winner, six-year old Victor Of Alltnacailleach, from the Garrogie Estate, Invernessshire, with his ghillie Christina Ellis. At the Moy Field Sports Fair, you will see the deer ponies in the main ring taking part in a blacksmith’s demonstration, and competing at the Royal Highland Show. Kyle Stewart, Underkeeper on Ardverikie Estate said, “knowing that you are retrieving

a stag off the hill in the same manner in which it has been

All About Deer WWW.MORAYOUTFITTING.CO.UK StalkingSchool

done for well over 100 years is very satisfying. As times move, Argos and Quad bikes have become the main extraction method but I enjoy the simpler, more traditional method, no noise, no uncomfortable trip home, just a peaceful walk back off the hill.”

The highland pony sits alongside grouse, stag and salmon as one of the icons of country sports, and is recognised world-wide. Let us hope the ponies will still be an active part of Scotland’s enviable sporting heritage in years to come.

Deer Management Training specialising in DSC1 & 2 courses at our facility or delivered at your location Full RFD services, including full bespoke stalking rifle packages with personalised set-up.

Approved Training Providers for the Cairngorm National Park Authority, we are dedicated to providing a professional, open and friendly service – ‘run by stalkers, for stalkers’ Contact John Allan

07833 535060 26

See page 55 for our Special Limited Edition Whisky Offer

Woodlands in Scotland: who is planting them and why? By Victor Clements

Introduction From 1971, almost 50 years ago, we have very good information on the public and private contributions to tree planting in Scotland, the proportions of conifer and broadleaved woods, and the total area created. This article looks at the new woods being created, as opposed to woods that are felled and have to be restocked. The information is published annually in June by the Forestry Commission and is generally held to be consistent and reliable. Many people involved in shooting have strong opinions on trees and woodlands, and an effort is made here to put current efforts in perspective, to look at why people plant trees, and how this is likely to pan out in the future. What area of woodland is being planted? For the past two years, there has been less than 5000 ha of new trees planted in Scotland. This is very low by recent historical

Hazel shoot


standards, with over 30,000 ha being planted in the early 1970’s, 20,000 in the 1980’s and around 12,000 through much of the 1990’s. The Scottish Government now have a target planting target of 15,000 ha annually, three times what is currently planted. It was in 1990, nearly thirty years ago, when this higher target was last achieved, and the 10,000 ha target we have had from 2008 has never been met either. Part of the reason for this is that enough funding has never been provided. The application process puts many people off, although the importance of this is probably over-stated. There is certainly a lack of capacity for planting trees in Scotland. Changing grant schemes and conditions make it difficult for nurseries to risk growing more seedlings, fencing contractors and digger drivers have to take a considerable risk investing in machinery when work can often be boom and burst with too much in some years, too little in others. The actual planting is the easy and most flexible part

of the process. To hit the 15,000 ha target, ScotGov will need to make more money available, and install confidence in people that a consistent approach is being taken which allows potential contractors to plan for the future. What sort of trees are being planted? Up until 1989, almost all trees being planted in Scotland were conifers. When better grant support was offered for broadleaves, the area planted then increased, with broadleaves overtaking conifers in 2001, and staying there until 2017, when the funding for broadleaves was cut. This cut has now been reversed. In the past few years, over 70% of trees being planted in Scotland have been broadleaves, much to the frustration of the timber industry. Who is planting trees? Fifty years ago, the Forestry Commission and the private sector (forestry companies plus farms/ estates) where planting at similar

Planted trees

levels. Forestry Commission planting declined steadily to almost zero in 1999, and stayed at almost zero until 2009. Since then, they have been contributing around 1000 ha a year again. The private sector planting increased very rapidly during the 1980’s, then collapsed after tax changes, and then declined steadily to 2011 or so. There was a modest resurgence, which has since fallen away again. Why are people planting trees? This is a good question, with government and farmers/ landowners having different motivations. The 15,000 ha was originally put forward by the then Scottish executive in 2006. Their rationale was to increase the timber resource to maintain production and employment in to the future, to diversity the range of habitats and landscapes that we have, and also to try and help the health agenda in Scotland by encouraging people to get out in to the countryside and walk more, especially in the Central

woodlands in Scotland belt. These are good reasons, but the necessary funding was never forthcoming, and lack of capacity was also an issue. From 2007, the climate change agenda took over, and the whole rationale for planting trees became one of capturing carbon. In the 1970’s, we had single issue forestry in Scotland, centred on Sitka spruce providing timber. For the last ten years, we have a different single issue agenda. As a woodland advisor, I have yet to meet anyone is who motivated to plant trees to capture carbon dioxide. Neither have I met a farmer who is wanting to produce Sitka Spruce for a sawmill fifty miles away in fifty years’ time. Not a single person, and this suggests a lack of understanding and lack of leadership from government. Ultimately, people plant trees because they think it makes sense in their circumstances, and a combination of reasons are almost always at play. People want to have shelter, or possibly to screen something. Trees provide a different sort of habitat that perseveres through the winter, and that is good for sporting purposes and wildlife more generally. Trees can add to the amenity of a property, and add to its capital value. Woodland blocks can be a good way of paying for fences to sub- divide grazing or to secure boundaries. Timber production can be important, but many people now focus on producing for their own

Young pinewood in Glen Dochart

needs, and perhaps that of the more local area. Many landowners planted high yielding conifers in the 1970’s only for them to grow up too quickly and then fall over or never harvested because it was never economical to fell small areas. Very often, the income disappeared in road repair costs and the jam that was promised tomorrow never materialized for many. Today, people will accept less production to have woods that are more stable and versatile, and able to accommodate other enterprises as well. Many people will incorporate aspects of diversified businesses in to a partly wooded environment, such as accommodation or visitor attractions. Even if they do not buy in to the whole CO2 thing, they can use trees to emphasis their green credentials and this helps with marketing. Trees and Shooting Many people involved with shooting dismiss “tree huggers”, but, in truth, many of our lowland woods in particular were planted with shooting in mind, and without this motivation, many would never have been planted or given protection in the first place. If we didn’t have a scattering of small woods across our farming landscapes, we wouldn’t have so many roe deer in these areas. Can you imagine your favourite pheasant shoot without any woods or hedges? It is possible, but much more difficult, and they are essential in most areas.

Woods and hedges provide shelter for wildlife, and can give cover and protection from birds of prey and other predators, although of course, they do give predators a vantage point as well, or a place to lay their eggs. The best woods for shooting purposes tend to be broadleaved or mixed woodlands of the type that have been extensively planted in recent years. Of the nearly 2400 woodland creation schemes in Scotland since 2008, over half are less than 5 ha and almost certainly most of these are in the lowlands. Over 80 percent are less than 20 ha. Woods of this size are not planted for commercial timber production. The motivation will be the mixed objectives sought above, which includes shooting. Only 27 schemes over 200 ha have been planted, so, at the moment, we are no longer seeing huge swathes of conifers covering Scotland. Small and modest sized schemes are the order of the day, planting mostly broadleaved and mixed woodlands. If you ask people if they would plant trees if the grant system allowed them to do so easily, then most people will say Yes, and planting areas of 10-15 hectares are fairly normal. People think they can do this without harming their existing enterprises. So, the demand for planting trees is out there, and farm and estate woods that have been planted with shooting in mind are usually successful because the motivation is there to look after them. Even

though trees take time to mature, habitat is diversified from Year 1 with ungrazed grass to hide birds and contribute to a wider habitat network for them. The more good and natural habitat you have, the quicker they will disperse, the safer they will be and the less you will need to feed them. For those wanting to plant trees, the system does allow you to do so. The application process can be frustrating at times, but this, in my opinion, is overstated, and you can make it work for you if you know how the system works. Grant funding will cover the costs of creating woods if you are clear in your motivations for doing so, but they wont put a lot of spare money in your pocket, unless you do a lot of the work yourself. If you can, then it is certainly worthwhile to do so. There is always a reason not to plant trees off course. What will happen with Brexit? What will the new grant schemes be like? Will they be better or worse than the old one? These uncertainties have always been there and always will be. If you think that planting trees makes sense for you, for shooting or for any other reason, then go with your instinct, do the sums, and see what you can plant on your property. Victor Clements is a woodland advisor working in Highland Perthshire and takes a particular interest in deer and river management and farm woodlands.

Birch regeneration


Pair On Report; A Perspective From Two Of Our Members… This time round we thought it would be nice to get the views from a couple of our members and find out how they got into shooting and what they enjoy about this fast growing sport for women. First up is Anne-Marie Robb – “My journey with the Scottish Ladies Shooting Club started after moving back to the UK after working abroad, I was looking for a way to meet people when my husband spotted a mention of the SLSC in Scottish Field. He had shot in his youth, we were about to get a working Labrador, and I thought this might be a great opportunity to see if I liked shooting and meet people at the same time. The first event I went to was hosted at County Clays in Dunkeld in November 2016, everyone was really welcoming, the instruction was great and I even managed to hit a few clays! I subsequently attended events at Auchterhouse, Gleneagles and Cluny Activities and found that it was great to have the opportunity to try out different layouts and targets. It has been really good fun shooting regularly with the same group of ladies who are all at about the same level as I am.

Anne-Marie Robb in Action


The structure of SLSC events are great with plenty of opportunities to socialise as well as shoot. I am also ever impressed by the catering at Scotland’s various venues as we start with lunch and end with tea or coffee and usually some of Lesley’s amazing baked goods! As most events are priced at around £50-60 for lunch, instruction and 50 clays it’s a really affordable way to get into the sport. After quite a bit of practice, I took a half-gun at the recent SLSC simulated day hosted at Hopetoun Clays, the ladies were not wrong when they described it as “the best fun you can have with a gun”. I think quote of the day on a particularly intense drive of multiple simulated high birds was “it sounds like the blitz”! The first timers like myself were well looked after to ensure we were both safe, learning and having fun during the day. The opportunity to load for the more experienced ladies and watch them in action was really helpful. I was really happy that I had been able to hit quite a few of the targets. High points have been getting joint Top Gun for my group at the SLSC Ladies Day in May and being promoted to the

Breaking Barriers

Aspirations and dreams By David Reilly

Angela D McKillop in Action

novice/improvers group from the beginners. My introduction to the sport with Scottish Shooting Ladies meant attending the Scone Game Fair this year involved quite a bit of time spent in Gunmaker’s Row and watching the clay competition. It was great to see how many ladies were shooting. Thanks to the Club it meant there were also lots of friendly faces to catch up with. Hopefully next year my husband and I will take part ourselves. I think you could say I have now “caught the bug” and my husband and I now try to spend some time shooting clays most weekends. We’ve recently taken part in a couple of small club competitions at Cluny Activities and an open charity clay shoot at Amulree (I definitely learned to shoot in the rain that day!)”. Next up is Angela Dodd McKillop – “I first lifted a gun as a child growing up on a dairy farm near Annan in SW Scotland. It was only an air rifle, but I thought I was Annie Oakley taking potshots at paper targets and tin cans on the midden wall. Dad always had guns so it was never alien to me, but I didn’t try a ‘proper’ gun until I was nearer my thirties and visited the ‘have a go’ clay stand at Lowther Show. I didn’t realise how sensitive the trigger was and nearly took the trap out! I was smitten though, so took a few lessons at Greenquarries Shooting Ground, Cumbria. I wasn’t aware of any ladies shooting groups at that time, so went with the boys as a ‘hanger-on’.

Personal circumstances changed and shooting fell off my list of priorities, so didn’t get back into it until my husband bought me another lesson as a birthday treat last January and my shooting progressed in earnest from there. My husband is a keen shot and does instruct, but trying to teach your partner anything never goes well, so I started attending ladies’ shooting events with groups such as the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club and Femme Fatales. It soon became apparent that options were limited in my area so, as I don’t mind travelling, I also joined the NE GALS and then found the Scottish Ladies Shooting Club earlier this year. They were advertising a simulated game day at Hopetoun and it was something I had wanted to have a go at for some time, so contacted Lesley and my love for sim days was born. I have packed a lot of shooting into the past 18 months – I’m sure I bore everyone on social media with my shooting posts! I have travelled south to Royal Berkshire and north to County Clays in Dunkeld. I have experienced game shooting in Northumberland, which I am repeating this winter and regularly attend local shooting grounds with my husband – just so he doesn’t feel left out! I have attended a few events with SLSC now and found them such a lovely group to shoot with - worth the travelling to events. Together with the other groups I mentioned, they have contributed to my love of shooting and facilitated my introduction to a

I love the autumn; it is a beautiful time of year. It is also the start of the academic year when students return to school, college and university. Reminded of the academic year, a thought came to me recently that highlighted for me the barriers still firmly in place that prevent equality of access to country sport. In very recent years I have applied to two of Scotland’s outdoor colleges, both in Fife and the Borders, to retrain in Gamekeeping. Having been out of work for a while, I thought it would be appropriate to go back to and retrain in the very sector that I longed to participate in. Unfortunately though, yes even in this day and age, this proved to be paved with difficulties from the very first hurdle. I have a Bachelors degree in Biotechnology and a Masters in Cell and Molecular Biology. I would satisfy the colleges’

academic acquirements. Sadly, both colleges put many obstacles in my way. After spending only minutes in my company, they were adamant that I would not be capable of completing the course. Of course, I had to be realistic; there were physical aspects I may have struggled with. However, should this be enough to completely exclude someone like myself from following their absolute heart’s passion and desire? I thought the world had moved on but it seems many are still stuck in the past. If change is to come about and disabled people are to be accepted and valued in the industry, it must start at the beginning. Educational establishments have a public duty not just to educate its students, but also to be pioneers of fresh thinking and enlightened minds. Disabled people have aspirations and dreams like everyone else. This was mine and I intend to continue to pursue my goal.

Anne-Marie and Justine at House of Bruar

• number of fantastic ladies (and gents), many of whom I bump into at other events or grounds. It makes you feel part of a great community. Shooting definitely helps build confidence and is a great stressbuster, providing a welcome break from my job as a Finance Director in the male-dominated construction industry. Despite the perception that shooting can be elitist, I have found it to be quite the opposite. It is so inclusive of people from a variety of backgrounds and at different levels of experience. I concede it can get expensive, but Scottish Ladies Shooting events are good value for money. I do most of my socialising at shooting events with some of the best people”. We hope you have enjoyed this insight into our Club and will come along to one of our events. We are a very friendly and welcoming club that is open to all abilities – complete beginner to experienced. Please have a look at our upcoming events below and get in touch. We love helping get more women into the sport of shooting. To find out more :• www.scottishladiesshooting. 32

• Facebook group www.facebook. com/scottishladiesshooting. • Email: info@scottishladiesshooting. • Telephone Lesley on 07971 547 826 or Cara on 07771 695 494 Upcoming Scottish Ladies Shooting Club events : • Sunday 5th November 2017 - Gleneagles Shooting School

Ladies Simulated Day at Hopetoun House

- 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £60 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/novices). • Saturday 2nd December 2017 – SLSC Fourth Birthday Party at Dunkeld House Hotel – Predinner cocktails, Dinner, Bed and Breakfast and Dancing for £99. • Sunday 3rd December 2017 - County Clays, Dunkeld

- 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £50 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/ novices). Saturday 6th January 2018 – Auchterhouse Country Sports, nr Dundee - 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £50 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/ novices). Sunday 4th February 2018 – Cluny Clays, Nr Kirkcaldy - 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £50 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/ novices). Sunday 4th March 2014 – Cluny Clays, Nr Kirkcaldy - 12:00 light lunch - 13:00 shooting - £45 for 50 clays inc instruction (less clays / more tuition for beginners/ novices). Sunday 8th April 2018 – Venue to be confirmed – Date pushed back to avoid Easter weekend Sunday 20th May 2018 - Date to be confirmed – Scottish Ladies Day 2018 – County Clays, Dunkeld - The aim of the event is to bring together ladies from across Scotland who love to shoot, as well as those who would love to give shooting a try.

IN THE BEGINNING Q1) Where were you born? Edinburgh Q2) What is your earliest memory? Watching stags coming home on the horses at the end of the day and running out to meet them, and many happy days fishing for trout on the burns and hill lochs. Q3) How would you describe your childhood upbringing? Like most children brought up in remote highland communities, I became involved in land looking after livestock and stalking deer shooting foxes and the like at a very early age. I shot my first deer at 9 year of age and took my first client to the hill at the age of 14. All school holidays focused on what was happen at the time and I started to learn a trade from that age, which I have continued in until this very day Q4) How was school for you? I think hind sight is a great thing. I look back on my school days and wish that I had done more. I am a very strong supporter of education but at the time, school got in the way of enjoying what I loved most. I left school aged 16 years and went to work for the Duke of Argyll and from there have spent all my working life in the public and private sector managing deer and the environment.

MOVING ON Q5) What were you into during your teenage years? Deer stalking and motor cycles

THE INTERVIEW up close & personal

Q15) What is the best advice you have given and would like to pass on to our readers? If you have a true passion for Scotland and its landscapes, now is the time to stand up for what you believe in. It’s not about shaking the right hands and saying the right things, it’s about leaving something behind that is in better condition and better understood that when you started.

Your Name: Niall Rowantree Your job title: Sporting Manager Company name: West Highland Hunting What you do for the company? I direct and manage all the wildlife management and sporting management activity on the WHH estates and lead the marketing activities.

Q6) Who was the first influence in your life? My father had a huge influence in my passion for deer stalking and Doctor John Fletcher for his passion for deer. I recall clearly the first time I saw John dart a deer when I was around 6-7 years old.

encouragement and direction and had a huge tolerance of my early years!

Q7) College, University or straight into work? Straight into work but I later returned to college education.

GROWING UP Q9) What was your first car? Ford Escort Mark 1 Mexico

Q8) Any unusual working experiences from those early years? I was very lucky that my first working experience was with the late Duke Iain (Duke of Argyll). He was an absolute gentleman and was a great source of

Q10) Be honest now, did you pass your test first time? No, it took me two attempts to pass my test. The first attempt, I was told I didn’t consider other road users enough! Probably caused by driving around on rough tracks in Land Rovers.


Q14) How is life today for you? I think unfortunately, we find ourselves in a time of immense political change. Many people are dissatisfied with their lives and materialism in its many forms is threatening much of our rural fabric. The pressures these days to manage to do what you have always done under the spotlight of an urban population means we are all working an awful lot harder for what is really an awful lot less. I still enjoy what I do but I am disappointed that what we offer is considered of little value to much of the population.

Q11) Can you remember your first love or passion? My first love or passion was wild deer. I followed them at great length with a pair of binoculars.

INTO BUSINESS Q16) Your current job, can you tell us a little more about what you do? We offer a range of practical solutions to the management of natural resources particularly wild deer. We seek to offer guidance and a market for sporting opportunities and the production of low carbon, high quality meat products. We offer advice on maintaining and improving landscapes and training opportunities. Q17) Is there a ‘dream job’ out there waiting for you? If Scotland as a nation ever gets its head around adding real value to its field sports and fishing opportunities, I would love to be able to market Scotland as a brand in these areas internationally.

LIFE & LEISURE Q12) Do you have a talent that you would like to share with us? Not really, not in a musical sense.

LAST THOUGHTS Q18) Is there was a single person (Alive or dead) you would love to meet? Aldo Leopold.

Q13) Away from work, how do you like to relax? I like a nice wine and nice easy company and spend time with family. I like to travel and see new places.

Q19) And finally, is there one thing in the world you would like to change? Our insatiable desire to consume all of the planets resources.

The price of thermal imaging

fox control

By Graeme Kelly With a lot of people hearing good things about the benefits of hunting with thermal imaging equipment, the one thing that I get asked a lot is, “is it worth the money?”. It seems the price of this advanced technology is putting some people off. As you may know, thermal imaging equipment does a remarkable job and is a real gamechanger, but for some it’s just a little out of reach financially. For the shooting estates and grouse moors it’s not such a problem, but for the hobby shooter or pest controller, it can be. One guy said to me, “it’s too much money for me to kill somebody else’s foxes”, which is a good point, but that was back when you had to pay over £2,000 for a thermal spotter. Now there’s a lower priced spotter from night vision manufacturer Pulsar. Recently they have released two entry-level thermal spotters the Quantum Lite XQ23V and XQ30V. I recently tested the XQ30V model, which retails for just £1300.

drawbacks. For example, I took it to a local free-range chicken farm, where I do fox control and thought I would almost definitely see a fox there. I must say I was very surprised at what I saw. The field out in front of me had several rabbits in it and I was picking them up no problem. I looked further up-field and the rabbits were identifiable out at around 120 yds. The next field over the fence there were horses and I could clearly identify them at around 350yds. The same rule applies to all thermal spotters; the bigger objects, the easier they are to identify at long range.

where they are without spooking them and also for finding them after being shot. It’s a great allround tool at a good price. If you are looking for a good thermal imaging spotter, think about what you will use it for, the range you need to see and also bear in mind that as long as you can see that ‘something’ is out there at longer ranges, you can always make a positive identification through your binoculars, scope or rifle-mounted

night vision device. Call me if you need advice: 07990 954973 Model: Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ30V from: Night Master: 01535 611 688 Graeme Kelly runs Night Master Scotland and uses the latest Pulsar Helion spotter and Pulsar Trail thermal scope. For advice on the equipment, call him on 07990 954973 or search Facebook for ‘Night Master Scotland’.

My thoughts I would say if the Quantum Lite was to be used for spotting deer through trees or up to 300 yds to detect foxes it would be fine. For rabbits, it’s great for seeing

Tech talk The Quantum Lites come with the same casing as the earlier Quantum models but with a different iris lens cover that works like a camera shutter. It also has a refresh rate of 50hz, so there’s no stuttering and ghost trails when you quickly scan from side-toside. It has a standard optical magnification of 2.5x and a digital zoom, which takes it up to 10x zoom. Both the models have a 640x840 display screen and the sizes are compact (200 x 86 x 59mm) and it weighs only 350g. In the field With the Quantum Lite coming in at a budget price, there are obviously going to be some 35

Competition or pleasure? It’s back to basics! GUNDOGS During the shooting season, gundog owners up and down the country continually maintain their dogs throughout each hard season. By the end of the shooting season, dogs and handlers can do with a break. For those who pickup, beat or compete it will have been an arduous time, and by the end of the season the dogs will need some time to rest and re-cover, allow the cuts and grazes to heal and body condition to return.


By the end of March it’s time to start looking ahead towards the coming season, whether it’s competition dogs, or beating and picking up work, preparation will be essential, and before you know it it’s all go again. For those that compete in tests and trials , club tests will generally start towards the end of March so not a lot of time to correct some off the problems that will no doubt have arisen during the season, the back command that now seems

By Stuart Dunn Caledonian Retriever Club to mean go right, or the stop command that now means keep going!! It happens to us all. These misdemeanours can all be corrected with a little back to basics training regime. Stop must mean stop, and back must mean back. It’s sometimes to easy for a handler to let the odd command go uncorrected, and before you know it “the tails now wagging the dog”, and the handler is forgotten about. Dogs are not so different to handlers, at times they’ll cut

corners if you let them. Their desire to please you rarely disappears, but the methods they use in trying to do so, can change dramatically throughout a season. So try to plan out what you need the dog to do for you, if you compete, then set out a programme of training lessons that will help polish the dogs abilities, as this will probably be the difference between winning or not. If you don’t compete, but pick up or beat, then it is imperative that your dog


By Ian Clark WPA Member & Trustee must be under good control at all times, no keeper or shoot manager will be impressed if an unruly dog is bounding around wrecking the best grouse drive! Maintaining good control and good manners in a dog, can sometimes be a difficult job but for handlers, installing good habit’s can be a great deal of fun and brings self satisfaction, and retrieving a runner on a shoot day,

or winning a test or trial will make memories that will last a lifetime. Therefore good basic control, is always essential. Should you find it difficult to train correctly on your own, look around for a club or group that offers training classes, (such as Caledonian Retriever Club), it can be more fun and more beneficial to the dog than training by yourself. Good Luck.

For over 40 years the World Pheasant Association has existed to promote the conservation, in captivity and in the wild, of the world’s pheasant species. ‘Pheasants’ include the entire avian group which contains all grouse, partridges, quail and related species. In the wild, most of these species are under increasing pressure from agricultural and other human expansions into their strongholds, and many are critically endangered. One major WPA project concerns the native pheasants of Vietnam, now extinct in the wild after most of their habitat was destroyed by the Vietnam War and the large and rapid human expansion that followed it. Fortunately, there is a small population of these beautiful birds in captivity, and WPA, working with Viet Nature and others, is working to re-introduce these iconic birds to their former range. WPA members around the world are now producing numbers of parent-reared young to ensure the success of the project. WPA is also currently working with the Greek Government and others on science-led plans to improve and extend the habitat of an

important population of Blacknecked pheasants in the Nesta Delta, which is believed to be the furthest west natural occurrence of a truly native pheasant population. WPA is truly international, and our membership ranges from scientists working on genetics and conservation to those who actually keep and breed pheasants and related species, including many in Scotland. As a UK charity, WPA depends entirely on membership income and donations to carry out its important conservation functions. We would welcome the support of more members – you can help by joining us or making a donation on our website at www.pheasant. We are particularly keen on encouraging and training young people and newcomers, and anyone interested would be made welcome at our next Captive Breeding Advisory Group meeting, which is at the Cotswold Wildlife Park on Saturday 3rd February 2018 and more details can be found on the WPA website at www. aspx or email: office@

Middle, Ninebanks, Hexham, Northumberland, NE47 8DL

Time to up our game! By Jamie Stewart Scottish Countryside Alliance Director

As the annual pomp and ceremony that surrounds the glorious twelfth fades from the pages of the popular press for another year the mainstream of sport shooting in the UK, the partridge and pheasant season, gets underway. I am always delighted to read the success surrounding the marketing of wild game meat, particularly the reports from Games to Eat the Countryside Alliances campaign dedicated to promoting the delights of wild British game meat. Research from Market Intelligence - Industry Specific Solutions (Mintel) has found that the value of the game meat market has risen by 33% in the last five years, and is worth circa £106 million. However, much of this was driven by sales of venison, usage of which increased from 13% to 17% over the 12-month period preceding the survey. Scotland’s production of venison is lagging behind UK consumers’ growing appetite for consistent year-round supplies of the meat – and the likely outcome is that, unless more farmers get on-board, imports will have to double over the next five years. The Scottish Venison Partnership estimates that total annual UK venison production is now around 3800 tonnes, around 70% of which comes from Scotland’s wild red deer cull, with other species, 38

Scottish farmed and wild, and farmed from the rest of the UK, making up the other 30%. We have to congratulate the venison sector on their determination, innovative marketing campaigns and product development that has gone into what can only be descried as a success story. I only wish we could say the same for the game bird sector… If we are to accept the figures from British Poultry Council, we are now eating an estimated 2.2 million chickens per day, why do we have a problem eating pheasants and partridges at home? Best guess is that somewhere in the region of 80% of birds shot in the UK are exported to the Continent, although some are imported back to the UK as product. Efforts are being made to increase domestic consumption, through, for example Game-to-Eat and Games On promotional bodies for the sector, which provides information and recipes to the public and is supported by celebrity chefs. But clearly this isn’t enough! We have identified that pheasants and partridges yield lean healthy meat that is rich in protein but low in saturated fatty acids. The meat also contains high levels of essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium, niacin and vitamin B6, but this

doesn’t seem to have tempted very many to try them. The game bird sector faces many more challenges than that of the venison sector,

particularly in the large volume of low producers scattered across the landscape. The physical and financial efforts to collect, transport, store and

process the birds has proven somewhat difficult. But we shouldn’t be deterred. We need to up our game if we are to emulate the success of the venison sector, we will have to make a consolidated effort to work together, perhaps through the formation of small localised cooperatives feeding into one central storage and processing unit. In order to offer game birds an alternative to chicken, we must develop a targeted marketing strategy supported by innovative product developments to create a range of produce recognisable by the home cook every bit as versatile as those utilising traditional meats. The sector has adapted to the food related hygiene requirements, what’s stopping us going that step further to integrate game birds into mainstream diets. I feel a campaign coming on‌


deer management Scottish Deer Health Survey 2017-18 By Dick Playfair

Deer stalkers and deer managers across the uplands and lowlands are being encouraged to take part in the Scottish Deer Health Survey, possibly the largest research programme ever of this type in the UK, to establish the prevalence or otherwise of a number of health risks across all of Scotland’s wild deer species. The research project, which runs over two years and is funded by Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish Government, is being undertaken by the Moredun Research Institute and Edinburgh University, and is supported by Scotland’s wild deer sector, the Association of Deer Management Groups, the Lowland Deer Network Scotland, the Scottish Venison Partnership, the British Deer Society and others. 40

The initiative was launched at the ADMG meeting at Glenfinnan in August with a follow-up session for low ground land managers at the LDNS meeting later in the month. Its objective is to assess the prevalence of E. coli O157, Cryptosporidium and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the Scottish wild deer population, all species, upland and lowland. Alerted to the risk of E. coli O157 in processed wild venison products in an outbreak in 2015, scientists suspect that its actual prevalence may be very low in Scottish wild deer. However, the Scottish venison industry, which is helping to meet a healthy and ever increasing demand for venison products in the UK, would benefit from having this verified, along with

information on which stages of the venison production process carry higher risks of potential contamination from E. coli. It is intended that this research once concluded can help to inform current Best Practice guidelines for processing of carcasses and reduce any risk to human health, and is considered a vital part of the knowledge bank if the industry is to continue to grow and develop. The research project will also involve screening faecal samples for the parasite Cryptosporidium and rectal tissue samples for CWD, both of which are currently seen as risks to deer health and welfare. CWD is especially prevalent in certain states in the USA and has been reported in Scandinavia where

it was diagnosed in moose, and in March 2016 in wild reindeer from the Nordfjella mountain area in Norway resulting in a Government order to cull of the herd and a quarantining of the ground. For the research project, sample collection is a simple process that can be done at the time of the gralloch or in the larder. It is hoped that more than 1000 faecal and tissue samples will be collected from all deer habitat across Scotland including the islands in order to provide the broadest picture of where risk from such issues may be highest. Instructions about how to collect samples are contained within the packs and also on the ADMG website

deer management

Rural Training By Stuart Blair

Respondents will be informed of results from the

samples they submit, and all results will be anonymous.

For more information or if you would like to take part in the research project please contact: Tom McNeilly E: Or Beth Wells E: Tel 0131 445 6157

Many of you will have heard or even been on one of the Gamekeeping courses at North Highland College, UHI, but did you know that there have been significant changes over the last 4 years? The Gamekeeping department, along with both the Equine and Veterinary Nursing teams are based at the Rural Studies Centre, near Halkirk in Caithness. The Centre was opened by HRH Prince Charles in Autumn 2013 and is located in converted farm buildings, which provide up to date facilities, both in and outdoors. Changes over the years have brought in new legislation, increased public scrutiny, changes in land use, which all need covered and demand a “new� type of training. These changes do not negate the need for practical skills, but the challenge is always to produce graduates with wide ranging skill sets for the modern workplace. A consistent feature of the Gamekeeping course is

student placements, which involve students working on estates and visiting the college for weekly blocks. Placements provide excellent training and give students a holistic view of the workplace, as they feel part of an estate team. Our work placement providers are one of the secrets to our success at North Highland College. The courses, offer progression from Modern Apprentice to Degree level for all ages and we provide a full range of support services; Guidance and Support for Learning, so that the main focus for students is study and enjoyment of their time at college. The post-course success rate, in terms of secure employment in the industry, is very good and previous graduates have gone on to find full-time employment in Scotland and further afield. In addition to full time courses, we also deliver courses commercially; DMQ 1 & 2, ATV training and snaring courses.

If interested, call us now on: 01847 889000, or look at our website: 41

The Falconer

Winter approaching By Stewart Robertson, Centre Director At this time of year, as the colder weather approaches, the centre prepares to weather the storm as visitor numbers decline. This summer, if you can call it that, has been disappointing as far as the weather goes, which has had a direct effect on the number of visitors. We have achieved quite a lot over the last twelve months, a new education cabin, artificial grass on the weathering lawn to replace the “mud� which appears during the winter, and we are almost finished re-meshing the aviaries and fitting bath drawers. All of which vastly improves the look of the centre, and enhances the visitor experience. We are in the process of reducing the weights of the hunting hawks after the summer moult ready for the start of the hunting season. I am pleased with their condition, especially the Goshawk, who is feather perfect. In the next few weeks we will be working on fitness, building up strength and stamina. We have acquired a lure machine, which will provide an additional tool to aid in the fitness programme. This machine has the ability to drag a lure 500 yards at up to 3040 mph, ideal for the hawks and Golden Eagle. We have access to a number of local farms with permission to hunt rabbits and hares. However, we monitor numbers closely as they are recovering from a serious decline due to poaching and VHD. Gaining access to quarry-rich land is always a problem, especially land suitable for flying a Golden Eagle. Fortunately, we have friends with access to good rabbit hawking ground further south. There are 42

organised hawking weekends when there can be over a dozen hawks on the hills each day. Some of the hills can be hard work, not only because of the terrain, but due to the fact that there are so many burrows. The ferrets are a great asset in those conditions, flushing rabbits which otherwise would be impossible to catch. Then it is up to the hawks, speed and stamina are essential, as the rabbits will turn the hawk uphill. Some young or unfit hawks will get caught out, but the older experienced hawks know what to expect. With so many

burrows, they have to be on their toes before the rabbit disappears. Some of the hawks hunt from the soar, hanging in the air, watching the ground being beaten, or waiting for the rabbits to be flushed. Hunting from the soar gives the advantage of speed from the stoop. (dive). Not every slip ends with a rabbit in the bag, but that is the way it works. Some flights are breathtaking to watch, even if they are unsuccessful. Those weekends are as much about the social side of hawking as the hawking itself. It can be a wee bit messy.


Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre Loch Lomond Shores, Ben Lomond Way, Balloch Tel: 01389 729239

Managing a centre which is a visitor attraction can be a balancing act. Maintaining the centre, ensuring visitors get the most from their visit, trying to raise awareness and educate the public, but also trying to make time to enjoy a good hawking season. Closing the centre on weekdays during the winter months could be a compromise, we will see. Last year we suffered as a result of the Avian Influenza Protection Zone. We could not have hawks outside, could not have any public interaction with the birds on experience days, and we could not fly the hawks. We lost most of the hawking season, and a lot of revenue. We are just catching up on the voucher activities postponed from last winter. Fingers crossed Bird Flu gives us a miss this year.

cooking with game

Venison Brochettes with Blackcurrant Glaze By Wendy Barrie

Venison is available all year round, versatile and delicious. Winston Churchill Venison is a family business specializing in wild venison, harvested from the hills of Argyll. They have also created specialty sausages, burgers and haggis and are often seen at game fairs selling their sizzling venison! You can buy from their online shop. Ingredients: 500g venison haunch, cut in chunks 2 courgettes, sliced thickly A generous drizzle of Supernature Rapeseed Oil 1 Scottish Fruit Company Blackcurrant Fruit Cheese Isle of Skye sea salt & freshly milled black pepper A good pinch of oregano Scottish Fruit Company Mixed Berry Cordial


Wendy is a highly respected campaigner for local sustainable food production, a popular cookery show presenter and food writer, providing expertise in food tourism, education and events. Owner of Scottish Food Guide, the ethical and independent award-winning guide giving professional quality assurance for the best places to eat and the finest produce in Scotland 44

cooking with game

Help us give Scottish Venison some exposure! Win an outing, stalking roe deer in the Scottish lowlands

The Best fun you can have with an air rifle By Davie “Barndoor” Scott

And two superb venison cookery books for the winner and four runners-up

The Scottish Venison Partnership with Shooting Scotland in the run up to Christmas is encouraging you to photograph your food – as long as it’s venison – and send in pictures of either your home-prepared venison dishes, or a venison dish that you have been served in a restaurant or at an event. The winning photograph, as determined by our panel of judges, will be featured on the Scottish Venison website with your credit. In return we are offering a camera shoot or rifle stalk with a top Ayrshire-based stalker as the prize to be taken before 4 September 2018 plus copies of Nichola Fletcher’s book Ultimate Venison Cookery and Maxine Clark’s book 7 days in Scotland - Roe Deer and Recipes. Four runners-up will also each receive copies of these fabulous books. In addition to sending your food photos, you can post your pictures on the Scottish Venison twitter and facebook pages – or allow us to do this. All entries must however be submitted by email to qualify for the competition. Please keep photos to under 1MB when emailing them. Also, do let us know what the venison dish is, who prepared it, be sure to provide a credit for the restaurant where appropriate - and possibly the main ingredients too. All entries must be received on or before midnight on Friday 29 December 2017. That’s all. Good luck!

Entries should be sent to the Scottish Venison Partnership: Full rules are available on the Scottish Venison website

Scotland is blessed with two popular hunter field target leagues and if you haven’t heard of them or indeed tried them you are in for a treat. So what is HFT? HFT competitions consist of a 30 target course with knock down targets cunningly spaced and in an environment which simulates hunting scenarios. You can use any legal sub 12ft/lbs air rifle and a competition lasts for around two hours. You get one point for hitting the target and two for knocking it down. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It’s not. Course setters are adept at making you think targets are closer or further than they are and you do need to be able to hit 25mm knock down zones at 35 yards and you may not alter your scope in any way once the competition starts. If you mis range a target by just

five yards it is likely you will miss. The best thing about HFT however is the spirit in which it is shot. There is always laughter all around and new airgunners are especially welcome and no one really cares if you shoot badly and you will get plenty of help. Courses are vetted for safety and there are marshals on the course to help you and keep you safe. Be warned though, HFT is addictive and you will want to come back for more. There are more than 25 HFT competitions in Scotland throughout the year and although it is a full on target sport it is also great practice for other types of shooting too. You will Love HFT. If you want to find your nearest club you can go online and use the Airgungurus club finder which you will find here. 45

This is what we do! By Alex Stoddart, Director, SACS If you’re familiar with modern history, you’ll have heard the quote “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others’?” At the Scottish Association for Country Sports, this question drives our every action.

Set up in 1994, SACS (as we are better known) aimed to provide representation and insurance for the grass roots of the fieldsports community. Twenty-three years on, our community now stretches from Land’s End to Shetland, from Suffolk to Northern Ireland and all around the globe. Whether 46

they work terriers or ferrets, hunt for geese on stormy foreshores, spend the close seasons pining for pheasants or grouse, or fish for the queenly salmon, all our members are equal. We continue to offer broad, robust country sports insurance to support our members’ activities, but

the driving force of our work is the individual guidance and Government representation that keeps our way of life secure for the present and future. Although we are now the largest organisation of our kind in Scotland and Northern Ireland, we have a small salaried staff

team whose professionalism, experience and expertise ably handles the vast volume of work that comes with the territory of representing the whole range of fieldsports; however, SACS staff are the conduits between our members and people in power, and we are a family of like-

Scottish Association for Country Sports minded folk. Our Management Committee members work alongside our staff, giving freely of their time and skills because they care deeply about the survival of fieldsports. Elected to the Committee because of their drive, passion and relevant professional skills, these SACS members are dedicated to doing their best for their community by volunteering to get actively involved in the organisation’s work. We are fortunate to have them. So, apart from the insurance, what does SACS do? SACS members benefit from accessible membership fees, so that competent representation is available to as broad a demographic as possible. Member discounts on leading vehicle manufacturers, outdoor clothing brands and Northern Irish ferry crossings come as standard. With three renowned firearms and firearms law experts in our staff team, members across the UK receive first-rate guidance and assistance with matters ranging from grant and renewal of firearm, shotgun and air weapon certificates to revocations and restrictions. We have an excellent working relationship with Police forces all over the UK, and as we sit on the British Shooting Sports Council (the leading firearms law panel based in Westminster), Home Office firearms group and national and regional practitioners’ groups, all of our members have a strong voice at the top tables in the country. And that voice is heard, where and when it counts. But fieldsports isn’t all about guns. We have a significant number of angler members, who pursue everything from salmon and brown trout, to rainbows, coarse fish and sea fish. Our Wild Fisheries Expert Group, made up of appropriately qualified, passionate volunteers, works with our staff to lobby Government on matters that affect our members. Whether on fishing, land management, working dogs, natural resources, pest control, deer management, trapping, snaring or rewilding, any relevant Government consultation or call for

evidence generates a competent, professional response from SACS on behalf of our members. Our recent work includes providing Committee evidence on tail docking, challenging the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to allow local communities access to public land for fieldsports, and working with other organisations to oppose the flawed proposal to reintroduce lynx to Kielder. Getting politicians, especially Government ministers, to listen to our community is difficult, but SACS has done this successfully and continues to do so. People for whom fieldsports is a way of life will always need effective representation, and this is what we do for our members. You may have noticed that ‘members’ is a word we use often; that’s because we are a membership association run by members, for members. SACS is a not-for-profit organisation that, with experienced corporate individuals at the helm, avoids the operational restrictions and financial drains faced by businesses (no large fancy offices and expensive company car schemes for us) because we are run astutely and prudently for the benefit of our whole membership. The old adage of the tail wagging the dog simply doesn’t apply here. The work that we do for others, for our community, drives SACS; it drives how we think, our innovations, and the fresh approach that is so demonstrably valued by our partners and stakeholders, including in Government. If you’d like to know more about us, visit our office in Selkirk, our website at sacs.; you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, and at events around the country during show season, or at the end of the telephone by calling 01350724228. Our members even benefit from an out-of-hours emergency line, so we’re always there for you. If we sound like a family you’d like to be part of, annual membership fees start at £10. We look forward to meeting you. 47

country woman

Emma Perrott By Linda Mellor Thirty year old, Emma Perrott lives near Abergavenny in the south-east corner of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales and spends all her free time in the wilds of Scotland with her rifle, shotgun and gundog. Emma’s dad introduced her to shooting, and it was very much part of family life. “My dad would take me shooting all the time, I think I was about seven when I started going out pigeon shooting with him, and we’d sit all day in the hide. I can still remember seeing our camouflage clothing hanging in a row on the washing line. My dad’s big man-sized camo hanging next to my miniature


country woman seven year old’s camo!” said Emma, laughing. Growing up with shooting and gundogs became the norm for Emma, and it was always part of family life. She trained her own Spaniel, Charlie, and he joined Emma and her dad’s seven-strong gundog pack. “It is so rewarding to see Charlie work on a shoot day, and knowing it is all because of my work and training. He is such a lovely dog, uses his initiative and has a great nose. We have a wonderful connection.” Emma and Charlie work alongside her dad beating and picking up on shoot days. She helps out with the bird rearing and also with the pest control. “It’s not a hobby, it’s a way of life, and it becomes my life,” said Emma. “I feel most comfortable in my muddy boots and shooting clothing and being outdoors. I also love hiking, mountain climbing and

rock climbing, and I can’t wait to hike Ben Nevis!” When Emma was in her twenties, she got her own shotgun. “Being only 5ft and shooting with my dad’s silver pigeon felt like I was waving a fence post around in the air. So I tried a 20 bore, and it fitted me straight away.” Emma then got herself a CZ .17HMR rifle, followed by Sako A7 .243 and enjoyed going out shooting and deer stalking all over the UK with her dad. A gamekeeper friend of her dad invited them up to his Perthshire based estate to go deer stalking. It was then she fell in love with Scotland. “We did the sightseeing thing; there was so much to see. I love mountains, and in Scotland, there are hills upon hills, and one mountain after another. It is all so beautiful. I remember being outside at night and

looking up and seeing all the stars spread across the clear sky, it really sparked something within me.” Emma went stalking in Perthshire and shot a fallow buck. She said, “I thought I was pretty fit until I went stalking in Scotland! When Calum the stalker went up the hill he did it so effortlessly, but when I finally made it to the top all I wanted to do was lie down for a rest, I felt so unfit!” As a self-employed hairdresser, Emma said, “My job is very different, and I didn’t speak about shooting when I was at work, so people didn’t know what I did. One day, I thought, ‘why am I hiding it?’ I need to be open about it because the more we talk about shooting and conservation, the more we raise the awareness.” Emma met Brent, and they spend every moment they can

outdoors, shooting and deer stalking. Emma travels up to Dumfries and Galloway to see Brent regularly and stays for up to two weeks at a time. “I am lucky my work is flexible, I load up my car with my shotgun, rifle and dog and I head up to Brent’s, or he comes down here.” Brent is a professional stalking guide for Strahanna Stalking based in the Galloway hills. “It’s been a fascinating experience getting to see the inside of a stalking business and learning about the conditions of the deer, managing deer and about the butchery side of it. I have learned so much, and although I have expanded my knowledge, I still have a lot more to learn.” “It is interesting to see how things are done in Scotland. Take pest control for instance, in Wales we go out at night but


country woman up here it’s done during the day.” Brent travels down to Wales to visit Emma; she said, “We go out lamping, and, when it’s in season, we go woodcock and pigeon shooting. We are always outdoors and active. I love experiencing new things, new places and meeting new people. Brent and I are lucky because we share the same passions for our countryside, and every opportunity we have we make the most of it by being outdoors.” “As a couple, we stalk and shoot, many people have approached us to start a couples hunting blog,” said Emma. They thought about a blog and felt it was a natural next step for them both. “We decided to start our very own couples hunting blog called ‘Brema


Hunting Adventures’ to share our combined passion for country sports.” They spent ages coming up with different blog names, and Emma laughed when she recounted some of Brent’s suggestions. “We used a combination of our names. I want to open the outdoors and hunting up for others especially women. We use our blog to show how you can genuinely enjoy the countryside as a couple and in doing so, it will hopefully encourage others to give it a go.” The blog is growing steadily, and they’re both delighted their first Brema hunting video attracted more than 5, 000 views. Emma said, I love building the blog, it’s such an exciting time and we have lots of great ideas. You can find Brema Hunting Adventures on Facebook.

‘Tweed - Hill to Hill A Rural Tradition’ By Tim Baynes, The Gift of Grouse campaign

It’s our signature fabric, as closely linked to Scotland as whisky, golf and grouse. Now, the connection between the nation’s world class tweed industry and our sporting estates has been celebrated in a new film created by the Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland Groups. ‘Tweed - Hill to Hill - A Rural Tradition’, produced by Pace Productions, examines the tradition of estate tweed, its origins and the contemporary master weavers and tailors who are clothing today’s working gamekeepers. Each shooting estate promotes the tradition of having its very own special tweed, uniquely designed and reflecting the estate’s natural landscape. Gamekeepers are measured up for a new set of estate tweeds every year, with the practice an example of how shooting in our rural areas helps to sustain many businesses in other sectors. Indeed, in a recent survey conducted across Scotland’s seven regional moorland groups, the estimated annual spend on estate tweed this

year was in excess of a quarter of a million pounds at £268,924. The tradition of estate tweed began in the early 1800s, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert set a precedent by having a bespoke tweed designed for their staff at Balmoral. Two centuries on, that has grown to more than 100 estates ordering bespoke tweeds from tailors such as Campbell’s of Beauly, with more than half of their tailoring department work comprised from estate business. Their retail business also benefits from this partnership through field sport guests purchasing tweed products in the shop. The wonderful fabric has stood the test of time, with its comfort and warmth perfect for long days stalking or shooting on the hill. In the film, gamekeepers and those involved in tweed production and tailoring examine its enduring appeal – and the importance of the shooting to local rural economies. To watch the film, visit w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / grampianmoorlandgroup

The Ghillie

My top 10 By Bob White Ghillie on Catholes, Pitlochrie, Benchil and Luncarty River Tay

3. Don’t really have a favourite fly but inventing a popular fly called the Tay Raider gave me real satisfaction and to see it in fishermen’s fly boxes. 1. Biggest fish that I caught was a 35lbs spring salmon landed and returned at Stanley on river Tay in March 2011. 2. Most memorable salmon caught was probably the 35lbs fish however another 2 stand out as well! The 32lbs fish from Kinnaird on the

Tay some 30 years before the present big fish and a 24lbs fish caught at Pitlochry Dam, River Tummel on the fly which took an hour and a half to land! Hooked at 11 o’clock in the evening on a Saturday night and landed on the opposite bank at 12.30 on Sunday morning!

4. Several pools spring to mind on the Tay as my favourites, where I have probably fished 85% of the whole river and in particular great fly pools or streams. Garnickie shingle where I caught 17 in a single day on the fly in the nineties, the Bleechings

at Waulkmill, the Craig’s at Fishponds, the Long Shot on Benchil, Horsey at Stanley, the Black Stones on the Catholes in spring, the Aldrens on Stobhall and Long Head on Islamouth to name a few! All to die for fly pools. 5. Any river that has large Atlantic salmon to catch on the fly would be my choice of places to go to fish. The Tay once had that opportunity however now you would have to

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the ghillie

travel further afield to places such as the northern Norwegian rivers, Russia and Canada. 6. I would have to think about that one! The most unusual sight on the river?

Probably something to do with canoeing or rafting, oops shouldn’t whinge! 7. A dirty rising river has got to be worst conditions when I have seen salmon caught.

8. Why do I love the job and life style? It is the outdoor life and passing on my experience to other anglers. I get more satisfaction seeing others catching from giving my guidance than I do catching myself.

9. My pet hate is Guests not listening to advice when we want them to have the best possibility of catching. 10. My favourite dram has got to be Balvenie 12yr old double wood.


Favourite reads

John McNab By John Buchan ‘Then suddenly the weather changed. The wind shifted a point to the east, the mist furled up, the rain ceased, and a world was revealed from which all colour had been washed, a world as bleak and raw as at its first creation.’ This is a gem of a book for anyone with a sense of humour and adventure – and self-created adventure at that. Adventure, it is claimed, can be the cure for apathy and staleness, uncertainty and anxiety, predictability and living too long inside our comfort zone. Buchan’s three high flyers - a barrister, a politician and a banker – are suffering from boredom and in need of something to rattle up their lives. They concoct a plan, informing three Highland estates that they will poach from each two stags and a salmon, even giving a timetable for the act ¬– a challenge to the management. Collectively they sign as ‘John MacNab’ and await the responses. Set in the aftermath of World War One, and published in 1925, this is Buchan’s second most famous novel. It offers an insight into the hunting, shooting and fishing estates – as popular in Scotland now as they were then. It is an adventure story told with wit and more than a little wisdom. And it is as relevant today as it was when it was written. John McNab by John Buchan (£7.99 pbk), Published by Polygon

The Thirty-One Kings: Richard Hannay Returns By Robert J. Harris A Buchan fan? If John Buchan is one of your favourite writers, take a look at a new novel featuring one of our greatest literary heroes – Buchan’s creation and Thirty-Nine Steps hero, Richard Hannay. Author Robert Harris has reintroduced Hannay in a new thriller set in World War Two, when he is called back into service as German troops pour into France. The Thirty-One Kings: Richard Hannay Returns by Robert J. Harris (£12.99 hbk) has just been published by Polygon.


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Ian Alexander Montgomery Since he was a child, Iain Alexander Montgomery had always dreamed of becoming an artist. Having started out as an avid art student, he regretfully put away his brushes to follow another career path after completing his Design Degree at university. However, thirteen years later, Iain went on


to fulfil his lifelong ambition to be a professional portrait artist, capturing dogs, horses and livestock in chalk pastels and large-scale oil paintings. “Art is my passion,” he said. “It’s been my lifelong dream so it gives me so much satisfaction to permanently capture much-loved

animals and connect with people in a meaningful and emotional way. It’s incredibly fulfilling.” Attending the Scottish Game Fair at Scone this year, he pulled in the crowds drawing dog portraits and livestock with an eye on many more shows in 2018.

Today, he continues to market his work through his website and on social media as IAM ART.

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE It’s a highly sociable time of year, and that’s the way I like it. The game fair season is in full swing, and there are lots of local farm shows and regional country events to be enjoyed all over Scotland. I visited the Largs Show in early June; the one day show took place next to Inverkip Marina. It was a small event with stock classes, a dog show, horse and pony events, a collection of vintage tractors, and two or three stands selling their wares, and the Inverkip Hotel provided a pop-up bar. I met some gundog people I hadn’t seen in years. The GWCT Scottish Game Fair was great fun. It rained heavily on Thursday, but the weather stayed dry for the next three days. I was on Venator Pro’s stand, and we were delighted to welcome lots of visitors eager to see and buy the new range of Hillman deer stalking clothing. Hillman’s hunting underwear for men received lots of attention with many looking forward to the range launch in September. On Friday afternoon, I watched my dad compete with his new black Labrador bitch, Izzy, in the novice retriever class. He won third place. My dad (some of you will know him, Lawrie Robertson) is now 78, and has trained and worked gundogs for more than 50

years, he competed and won at the first Scone Game Fair 28 years ago. Well done, Dad! The game fair is a fantastic showcase of country sports and related businesses, everyone was well represented over the three days. There’s so much to see, we ate well, chatted lots and laughed a great deal. I’m eternally grateful to Hopetoun Estate’s Marketing Manager, Louisa Kerr; she was quick to dish out some high sugar sweets to keep our flagging energy levels up towards the end of the show, although I’m sure shooting coach/star Stewart ate more than his fair share! After the game fair, I drove up to Dornoch, to spend a few nights in ‘Oran Mor’ a newly built, architect-designed eco house overlooking Loch Fleet. What a place! The

house is very comfortable and the light, inside and out, was fantastic. The sunsets and sunrises were magnificent. I highly recommend the house to everyone, it offers a relaxing, peaceful setting with all the mod-cons, and it’s in a perfect location for sightseeing, exploring and fishing. I enjoyed watching the local wildlife, seals basking on the sand at Loch Fleet, rabbits, all types of birds from red kites to wagtails and a fox walking through the garden at dusk. The bed has got to be the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. For more information visit: http://www. property/491484/oran-mor/ There’s an exciting new wave of entrepreneurial activity in Dornoch; Oran Mor’s owner has opened up a mini whole food store.

Around the corner on the high street, Donnah Murray has collaborated with other local ladies to open up a pop-up shop called the Attic Salts Emporium. The talented group sell their range of goods, gifts and jewellery with a powerful eco twist; you can also find them on social media @AtticSaltsEmporium. I love exploring the Scotland. I had a fabulous meal at the Kincraig Castle Hotel near Invergordon. A lovely setting full of character, excellent service and delicious, fresh, local food on the menu. Pop into Luigi’s in Dornoch for comfortable surroundings and beautifully presented food, and only a few steps from Dornoch Store. A longstanding contact of mine is working with Fife based Estate and Asset Protection (http:// estateandassetprotection. Protecting our assets and preserving them for our loved ones are topics many of us are discussing as we get older and think about the future. If you would like to know more, contact Ian Paltiel, and mention my column. Toyota kindly gave me their new Land Cruiser to try out. It’s a massive but agile vehicle that coped with every task admirably, read all about it in my review. 57

We would like to invite you to join us in celebrating the tenth anniversary of Europe’s largest trade and retail shooting event. The British Shooting Show will open its doors on the 16th to 18th February 2018 at its new venue of the NEC Birmingham. The British Shooting Show welcomes thousands upon thousands of visitors every year and is regarded by many as the unmissable event on the shooting calendar. The leading manufacturers, distributors and retailers, headed by the biggest names in the industry will showcase their finest shooting products with many manufacturers launching brand new product ranges at the show, giving visitors the chance to be among the first to see and handle them. Row upon row of trade stands will be stacked with the finest products, representing all shooting disciplines from small component parts to guns of the highest quality, from stunning leather accessories to fashionable country clothing, it will all be on show at the shooting industry’s largest public ‘shop window’. With over 350 exhibitors, trade stands will be brimming with


shotguns, rifles, air guns, optics, ammunition, knives, specialist clothing, leather goods and other shooting accessories. For visitors wanting more ‘hands on’ action, the air rifle ranges provide plenty of shooting practice for expert shooters and first time shooters alike. Younger visitors, under the supervision of qualified range officers can have their first introduction to target sports. The ‘manufacturer lanes’ give an ideal opportunity for those looking for a new air rifle the chance to try them out before making a purchase. With an ever-increasing demand for night

vision, the ‘night tunnel’ allows visitors to check out the latest night vision optics and shoot using high tech night vision scopes. Visitors looking to test their shooting skills in a slightly more demanding environment can take up the challenge in the new ‘tactical’ zone and engage targets whilst moving through the decks of a naval warship! For 2018 the Gamekeeping zone is sponsored by the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) and supported by Countryman’s Weekly. The hall will feature more quality equipment and related services

than a gamekeeper could shake a stick at! The Arena is located nearby with a continuous programme of displays including gun-dog training, wildfowling and game cooking from some of the most respected professionals in their field. The British Shooting Show is an experience that balances the very best of shooting retail with stunning attractions and displays that include private rifle and pistol collections, arms heritage displays, demonstrations of gun engraving, stock making and gun- fitting. Visit the show and see everything the shooting industry has to offer in the warm and comfortable surroundings of the NEC and in the company of experts, enthusiasts, professionals and friends. With close proximity to motorways, Birmingham airport and direct rail links into the NEC, travelling to the show couldn’t be easier. Accompanied visitors aged 15 and under are admitted free of charge. Visit the British Shooting Show website for discounted tickets, show details and the new exciting range of merchandise https://www.shootingshow.

mind our business

Into The Wilderness Driven by a desire to find meaning and purpose, Byron Pace and his brother set up a film production company with a focus on telling the untold stories.

The changes and challenges our rural communities are facing across the country have escalated rapidly the last decade. In Scotland where I have lived on and off my whole life, country folk and our way of life see continued threat from government and animals rights organisations a like. But the largest threat to a reasoned, level headed discussion is an un-educated and dis-interested public, no longer engaged with rural ways. For years I wished people would do more to help spread positive messages, detaching emotion and instilling supported fact to the general public. In my mind the only way we could turn the tide of negative perception towards hunting, was to engage and open our world in a more accessible way to generations who had lost their attachment to wildlife, the land and the origins we all share as hunters. I realised that there was little point being frustrated with something I wasn’t prepared to try and change myself. It was this realisation, and a dissatisfaction with my own life, unfulfilled by the 6-6 office life in a large global company, that saw me pack it in, destined to pursue something more worthwhile. Something which was an honest reflection of who I was. I was, and still am a hunter. It’s in my blood. The road this led me was less than straight forward, but today I found purpose, working with my brother, playing our small part to fight to the good fight. Just over 18 months ago we started a podcast, harnessing one of the fastest growing 60

media outlets in the world. The concept was simple. Provide intelligent discussion through invited guests, to tackle issues home and abroad related to rural lives, wildlife and conservation. Based primarily from our office on the east coast of Scotland, at the foothills of the Angus Glens, it is still today the biggest U.K. based podcast to tackle these issues, with our listenership growing month on month. Of course the very purpose of such discussion was not only to speak to current hunters and those who embrace the rural ways of life, but to reach those people outside our world. We have spent decades either hiding from discussion, or simply patting ourselves on the

back at our own achievements. This doesn’t help educate the wider public, and without their understanding and support, the cause is lost. On a weekly basis we now receive messages from nonhunters willing to engage in

discussion, often remarking how their understanding had shifted as a result of the topics covered in the show. We have tried to refrain from imparting emotional opinion as fact, as is so often seen across social media. We wanted to provide a

mind our business reference resource which could be returned to. We have only been able to do this by having a broad, open approach, encompassing adventure and a thirst for knowledge of the world amongst our array of guests, and not constraining ourselves week in and week out to the thrashed out topics on conflict between ‘us and them’. From whale hunting in the Faroes, to the world record seeking adventures of Sean Conway. The daily mis-representation of trophy hunting in Africa, and non-hunting conservation initiatives caring for chamanzees in Congo; from the moorlands of Scotland to the jungles of South America, it only matters that we can learn and find the balance between the land, humans and wildlife, in a way that focus on the combined longevity. Around the same time we started the podcast, my brother and I set up a film production company, and although I can’t be certain, I think we are the only fully functional production company in Scotland to be set up and run by hunters. Initially our focus lay almost entirely with the production of film to help reinforce the same ethics and messages the podcast was set up to convey. Tackling issues from driven grouse, to the management or mountain hare populations, our short documentaries will have been used in the Scottish Parliament no less than three times by the time this magazine goes to print. In a few months time we will tally number four. Our films also included a six part series called Into The Wilderness, uploaded to youtube, aiming to encapsulate some of the best hunting in Scotland, but in a way we felt was true to the ethics and respect we held dear. This was received very well across the board, and most recently we have added an hour long behind the scenes documentary of a hunting trip to Norway. The primary output had been a short film exploring what

makes us all hunters , and it currently touring The Hunting Film Tour across America and Canada, and was just recently selected for the Canadian Experimental Film Festiva, going on to win the best trailer in the Glasgow Monthly Film Festival. Although a privilege to make the Hunting Film Tour, for us, a hunting based film making a main stream non hunting tour is what it was all about. Reaching outside our world. Our passion lies in story telling, and this sits at the core of all our films. A deep seated passion for the great outdoors, wildlife and hunting has always steered our interested for filming projects, but the last year has seen us branch out, tackling music videos, commercial shorts, photography as well as expanding the areal surveying side of the business. This has been important for our diversification, but has allowed us lean on the experience and knowledge built up over years wondering wild places. One of the unexpected instances of this was being approached in the early part of 2017 to locate and

capture special effects plate for green screen work on the latest instalment of the Alien franchise. The last two years have passed markedly quicker than the previous twenty eight, and it would be hard for me to see what the next two will have in store for the company. We will continue to focus on quality, endeavouring to produce

content which engages. The next big release for us which will come only a matter of days before this goes to print, is that we will be the first ever UK hunting film festival in conjunction with the Northern Shooting Show. More details will follow on our website and social media. Look out for The DNA Hunting Film Festival (Discover.New.Adventure.)

For more information on the podcast and series visits: Search pace brothers on any podcast app. For information on our production company visit:


outdoor look The tale of tweed

Although tweed is known as Scotland’s signature fabric, each shooting estate is promoting the tradition of having its very own special tweed, uniquely designed and reflecting the estate’s natural landscape. As such, gamekeepers are measured up for a new set of estate tweeds every year. This practice supports the Scottish tweed industry and in a recent survey conducted across Scotland’s seven regional moorland groups, the estimated annual spend on estate tweed this year was in excess of a quarter of a million pounds at £268,924. A new Pace Productions film created by the Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland Groups ‘Tweed - Hill to Hill A Rural Tradition’ celebrates the tradition of estate tweed, its origins and the contemporary master weavers and tailors who are clothing today’s working gamekeepers. Campbell’s of Beauly, one of Scotland’s top tailors of tweed, often described as the ‘guardians of tweed’, relies heavily on the estate market and says estate tweed is vital for their business. John Sugden, owner of Campbell’s, said: “All our bespoke suits are made on site, which is a real skill. We work with over 100 estates, making up 60 – 70% of our work in the tailoring department. Our retail business also benefits 62

from the estate market through field sport guests purchasing tweed products in our shop, another very important revenue stream for us. We are closely linked to estates and without their business it would be a very different outlook for us.” The tradition of estate tweed began in the early 1800s, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert set a precedent by having a bespoke tweed designed for their staff at Balmoral. The unique blend of colours, patterns and textures of an estate tweed reflects the natural makeup of its surroundings and serves as a camouflage for gamekeepers and ghillies. It also allows the identity and heritage of each and every estate throughout Scotland to live on for generations to come. Gamekeepers’ tweed on Invermark Estate for example is grey to reflect the natural rock and granite of the landscape, whilst the tweed worn by pheasant keepers on a lower ground estate will be a yellowy green to blend into the farmland environment. Callum Low, Invermark gamekeeper, said: “Each estate tweed is distinctive with its own use of colours, pattern and chequered work. On Invermark it’s very much a family heritage and it’s the same tweed worn by gamekeepers today that

has been passed down several generations. It is something that every gamekeeper is proud to wear as their uniform.” “Tweed is a working bit of gear to us, it’s a great fabric which is completely silent – a must when stalking – and although it’s not water proof, it is very warm and as each suit is made-to-measure, it is also extremely comfortable. It

is highly practical and suits its purpose very well particularly when we have to brave the harsh Scottish winter months out on the hills.” Tweed is constantly being reinvented for a younger generation of fashion-conscious consumers, national and international buyers and is used in accessories from belts and handbags to iPad covers. Scottish tweed is supplied to Savile Row as well as bespoke tailors throughout Europe and high-fashion designers including Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood Lianne said: “Tweed has stood the test of time where its integrity remains as important today as it did back in the Victorian era. Field sports are a vital component supporting the local economy and the business estates generate for the tweed industry is paramount. Each estate has its own identity by owning its very own tweed and it is something that every gamekeeper takes pride in.”

Brandecosse Leather Boots Reno ladies Boot – British shearling lining

Based in Castel Douglas, the Trueman family started Brandecosse in 2008, after being involved in waterproof footwear manufacturing since 1985. Even today, some of the most established premium brands in the country market turn to Brandecosse for technical, product engineering and commercial advice. So, they are constantly in-touch with the latest innovations and market trends. These Reno Boots are a beautiful new addition to the Diemme country boot collection. The boots curved top not only adds to the boots elegance but can also be turned-down, exposing the shearling lining and

changing the look completely. Almost two boots for the price of one! Made from full grain hydrophobic leather. Price £395.00

outdoor look A few ‘country’ fashion ideas from Schoffel

Country Ptarmigan Tweed Coat

Country Berkley Zip Fleece

Ideal for the Scottish summer!....Made with Polartec® Thermal Pro fleece for ultimate comfort and maximum heat retention. The Cottesmore Fleece Jacket in Espresso is an ideal layering piece and is great when worn on its own on warmer days. Price £179.95 Made from 100% pure lambswool woven in a British mill with a GORE-TEX® Z-liner, the Ptarmigan Tweed Shooting Coat is 100% waterproof and windproof, adding warmth without adding extra weight. Finished with Teflon® making it moisture and stain repellent, it is the perfect shooting coat for any weather conditions. Matching Tweed Cap also available. Price: £599.95

A flash of pheasant bling!

Country Silk Shooting Cravat And now for the finishing touch and hint of male elegance, this silk shooting cravat in ochre is the essential shooting accessory. Well, that’s what Schoffel say aanyway! Price £69.95

Going out? And want something that befits your rural lifestyle? These cufflinks are perfect for casual and smart wear, the Schoffel Cufflinks in Pewter Pheasant are designed using the finest handcrafted pewter. And with silver bar link. Price £69.95 For more from the Schoffel ‘country’ range: 63

Tried & Tested

REVIEW 1005 Hunter Pro GTX Boots from Zamberlan What they say These boots are designed for use on all terrains from woodland to mountain and for activities such as hunting out on wild and rugged terrains. GORETEX® insulated lining guarantees warmth and dryness and a Hydrobloc® Full Grain Waxed Leather upper provides a controlled internal micro-climate keeping your feet comfortable at all times. The exclusive Zamberlan® Vibram® Darwin sole is made with a wider last to give better comfort to broader feet and for those who wear thicker socks for extra warmth. The rubber toe reinforcement protects against sharp rocks and other impediments. The softer FLEX –SYSTEM junction on the ankle zone helps keep the foot rolling while hiking and provides sturdiness whilst hiking over uneven ground. Perfect boot for those who live, work and play outdoors in all conditions and don’t want to be worrying about whether their feet are dry, warm and comfortable. Retail price: £250 Readers can view the collection on UK customer service 01665 510660 Editor’s Review When I was approached to review these boots, my immediate reaction was that I don’t do a lot of walking, and I have never been on any mountain never mind deer stalking, I sit at a desk making magazines! Anyway, after a wee chat, I agreed that it would be a good idea to get out and do a little gentle hill walk, and see what there boots were all about. 64

On arrival I was pretty well impressed by the feel and weight, to me at least they seemed lighter for their size than I had imagined. Fitting was perfect so that was a good start, and with my ankles fully gripped and secure, off we popped up to our local forest walk on Kinnoull Hill beside Perth. The weather had not been great, so underfoot the ground was a mix of deep mud and hard edged stones.

However, none this bothered my in the slightest, and for a non-walker, that is saying something! Our walk lasted two hours and we clambered up a few inclines that had me out of breath on a few instances, but these boots were really did the job. I was impressed. My feet were warm, and the grip on the ground and stone was superb.

If I was out on the hills on a daily basis, I think that these boots would be worth considering. At £250, they are not cheap, but their quality shines though, and I can recommend them whole heartedly. I am now looking forward to the snow, when they will next be put though their paces. I now have no more excuses to get out on those winter hills walks, thanks to Zamberlan!

what’s new Kubota’s new RTV Kubota UK is setting the standard in power and versatility with the launch of its new four-seater utility vehicle, the RTV-X1140. The new model, from the market-leader in diesel powered utility vehicles, builds on the popular predecessor (the RTV1140), demonstrating its ongoing commitment to developing exceptional machinery which not only supports professionals in their day-to-day activities, but provides exceptional comfort and safety as standard. Designed to provide greater power and performance, the RTV-X1140 enables operators to easily transport both cargo and crew with its versatile two or four passenger configurations. Users

can single-handedly transform the 1102” cargo bed to two additional back seats in three simple steps, allowing for the safe transportation of four adults. Dedicated to delivering a higher standard of performance across all tasks, its four-wheel drive and unrivalled 10.8” ground clearance enables smooth travel over any terrain, whilst its hydraulic bed-lift makes light work of dumping tasks. The threecylinder liquid-cooled Kubota diesel engine also offers a robust 24.8 HP, supported by its Variable Hydraulic Transmission for increased power and traction. For more information on Kubota and its extensive range of solutions visit

The Mule range from Kawasaki

Introducing the Monarch “Munro” gaiter In 2016 we decided to look into bringing a UK manufactured waterproof gaiter to the market. Many of our customers stated that there were some good gaiters available however they did not incorporate the features to withstand the rigours of forestry, hill stalking and other harsh environments. We are now proud to launch the Monarch “Munro” gaiter which has been developed & manufactured in conjunction with Phil Ogden the renowned sporting bag maker, “Moray Outfitters” have also played a large part in field-testing and gaining feedback from their large network of estate Ghillies. The “Munro” gaiters are made from a durable & quiet material called “Alcantara”, military Cordura was considered, however the general consensus is that Cordura can too noisy. The Alcantara outer material is “Fluro-Carbon” treated to ensure water repellency. Behind the Alcantara there is a 2oz seamless waterproof & breathable liner which prevents condensation build-up inside the gaiter.

Quality zip with Velcro front cover and top & bottom press studs. Elasticated ankle grip. Draw string and toggle knee hem. Double rivet front lace hook. Sturdy cord heel fastening supplied with each gaiter – from our research Pro Stalkers who wear gaiters every day do not like the strap design of heel fastening as this becomes detached in time, also quad bike riders state the belt strap fastenings can snag on foot bike foot-rests. Large & XL sizes available. Introductory price of £64.95 + £3.95 p&p (normal price £69.95) Available from info@

Designed specifically for work applications, using Kawasaki’s 30 years of experience in the UK side x side market, the MULE range - featuring the Pro-DX, Pro-DXT, SX and SX 4x4 – have enjoyed a raft of updates and are the utility vehicles of choice for many farmers, gamekeepers and grounds-care experts. The top of the range Pro-DX and Pro-DXT both produce 18kW (24PS) of power and have a towing capacity of 907kg. Fuel capacity is 30 litres and bright headlamps are complimented by auxiliary LED lamps. The versatile Pro-DXT features a Trans Cab, which can be changed to maximise either cargo space or people-moving potential. One person can make the change from two- to four-person mode in just one minute. The Pro-DX boasts the largest flat cargo bed in its class,

which features gas-assisted tilting and can be loaded from three sides, and is the workhorse of choice for customers who need to haul lots of material as easily as possible. The compact SX and SX 4x4, with their reliable engine and rugged chassis, are built strong to work hard to provide a true Go-Anywhere vehicle. The SX 4x4 can adapt to any situation with selectable 2WD and 4WD with Hi-Lo dual-range transfer case and rear differential lock. A number of accessories and parts are available to tailor the MULE to any specific need or personal preference. Accessories include winches, cabins, heaters, windshield, underseat storage bins and hitch balls. Visit for more information or to locate your nearest authorised dealer. 65

what’s new ZEISS Expands the Conquest V6 Family ZEISS has expanded its Conquest V6 riflescope family by adding two new non-illuminated specialists for mid- to long-range purposes, the ZEISS Conquest V6 3-18x50 and the ZEISS Conquest V6 5-30x50. “With the introduction of these new riflescopes, ZEISS is offering four entirely new reticles: ZBR1 and ZMOA-1 for the ZEISS Conquest V6 5-30x50, and ZBR2 and ZMOA-2 for the ZEISS Conquest V6 3-18x50,” explains Matthias Raff, Product Manager at ZEISS Sports Optics. The new ballistic ZEISS reticles ZBR and ZMOA are based on the MOA system, while the number given after the reticle designation refers to the MOA distance between the individual stop lines. “The stop lines on the horizontal and vertical reticle lines can be used both for windage and bullet drop compensation, as well as at maximum magnification for distance estimation,” says Raff. New ballistic turret from ZEISS ZEISS is offering a completely new ballistic turret. It features a ballistic stop, multiple revolutions, MOA click adjustment and offers 80 clicks per revolution. The ZEISS Conquest V6 3-18x50 has a 103 MOA elevation adjustment and the 5- 30x50 has 64. Both models have 54 MOA of windage adjustment. Optimum image brightness and target resolution Thanks to their new 6x zoom, the ZEISS Conquest V6 models deliver exceptional flexibility,


with the ZEISS LotuTec® waterrepellent lens coatings keeping the exterior lenses clean and clear at all times. “The ZEISS Conquest V6 riflescope family is the optimum solution for the active hunter or sport shooter who is looking for a versatile riflescope for mid- to long-range purposes – all at an attractive price,” confirms Raff. According to Raff, the two new ZEISS Conquest V6 models utilize FL lenses and the T* lens coatings to achieve light transmission of 92 percent, to ensure optimum image brightness and target resolution, even in low-light conditions. ZEISS Conquest V6 3-18x50 “The perfect riflescope for midto long-range hunting or shooting situations,” says Raff. The 3x magnification of the compact and easy-to-use riflescope enable rapid target acquisition at close range. 18x magnification is available for long-range purposes or for small targets. This scope also features a side parallax adjustment and is offered with either reticle 6 or with ballistic reticles ZBR-2 and ZMOA-2. ZEISS Conquest V6 5-30x50 “Offering up to 30x magnification, this is the most compact high-magnification riflescope in its class,” says Raff. “It is perfect for long-range hunting and shooting. This scope also features a side parallax adjustment and is available with either the #6, #43, ZBR-1 or ZMOA-1 ballistic reticles.

‘Twin Peaks’ from Polaris!

Now the Polaris Ranger Diesel and Ranger XP900 are virtually identical twins and both offer peak performance. You have the choice of a petrol engine with the Ranger 68hp XP900 ProStar engine that is purpose built, tuned and designed for balanced and smooth, reliable power. The Engine Management System (EMS) delivers the torque and horsepower you need while allowing for optimal fuel economy. Should you prefer Diesel, the Ranger Diesel HD is built for purpose as well with a 1028cc Kohler 3-cylinder overhead cam liquidcooled engine. This proven, high performance diesel engine utilizes indirect injection and delivers smooth power with reduced combustion noise. The compact, heavy-duty design has a cast iron crankcase for durability and an aluminium cylinder head for weight reduction. Both these twins are real workhorses with Active Descent Control for controlled hill descents, automatic four-wheel braking on steep inclines and Electronic Power Steering. To make life really comfortable, the industry exclusive Lock & Ride Pro-Fit cab system provides a new standard in accessory integration. The highly modular design offers options from robust canvas doors and a poly windscreen, to premium automotive glass tip-out windscreens and electric

windows. The roof and rear panel on the Rangers come as standard. The ideal seat height combines with wide foot clearance for easy entry and exit. There’s a full ten inches of tilt steering adjustment and room for three adults. The payload capacity on these machines is 680.4 kg, with a gas-assisted rear dump box that can handle a hefty 454 kg of materials and a full-sized pallet. A 7-pin trailer socket comes fitted as standard and when it comes to towing there’s 907kg of class-leading towing capacity on tap. When the going gets rough the ondemand all-wheel drive kicks in for more forward traction when its needed, reverting back to 2WD when the terrain smoothes out. Smooth is what these Polaris Rangers are all about, from the ride and handling to the descent down steep inclines, the 30.5cm ground clearance, power steering and VersaTrac Turf Mode that unlocks the rear differential for easier, tighter turns that won’t tear up grass. All new Polaris Rangers and Sportsman models (excluding Youth) also come fitted with CESAR security systems as standard. And if you’re not quite ready to purchase a new Ranger there is, in addition to the XP900, the even more powerful petrol Ranger XP1000 coming along for 2018.

Profile for Athole Design & Publishing Ltd

Shooting Scotland Magazine (October - November 2017)  

Shooting Scotland Magazine (October - November 2017)