GROUSE PREVIEW 2014 One should always beware of salesmen encouraging people to buy early, but we have never experienced such demand for the next season’s Grouse shooting as early as we have this year. Often Guns who have shot on a Moor the previous season, express interest in taking a day or days for the following one. This year we took a significant number of bookings for August and September 2014, well before the 2013 season had finished. Many people like to organise their shooting trips well in advance and although it is possible to buy Grouse shooting cheaper by waiting and then buying at the last minute, by doing so you are very much relying on there being a suitable size day, on a suitable Moor, which meets your requirements and has in effect birds ‘left over’. One has to question as to why on some Moors there quite often seems to be last-minute availability. Compare that with other Moors, where we are already two-thirds booked for the 2014 season. Our recommendation therefore (and it is not just the sales pitch!) is that, if you are thinking of booking Grouse shooting in August or September 2014, try and line up your required dates with availability as soon as possible. There genuinely does seem to be much more demand for the coming season than there has been for the last five or six years and whilst it seems likely that Grouse numbers could again be good for the coming season, nothing is certain until the Grouse have hatched and even then, late disappointments may occur! Overall, there is a good to very good stock on most Moors to include, for the first time in many years, on quite a number of Scottish Moors. Those Scottish Moors that have historically not done the job very well and didn’t shoot much in 2013 are unlikely to have great prospects for the coming season, but otherwise at the time of going to print, we are optimistic about prospects generally. Again overall, worm burdens do not seem to be as high as we would have felt they should be, perhaps as everyone thinks due to modern medicated grit. However, there are instances where the worm rate does seem to be building and the present wet mild weather is ideal for an increase in worms. This might test medicated grit to its limit! We are expecting prices for good quality driven shooting in 2014 to remain between £140 to £160 per brace for early season Grouse, probably dropping to perhaps £120 to £135 a brace once you get into late September and then depending on supply and demand, there may be some less expensive Grouse available for late October and November. However, often what looks like inexpensive late Grouse shooting, can turn out to be very dear indeed if there is little likelihood of anticipated bags being obtained. We are very lucky in being Managers of some of the most prestigious and productive Moors as well as handling their lettings. This should give any tenant confidence that the Letting Agent really knows the shoot and has a considerable relationship with the Keepers. All of this makes for a much better day and significantly less risk of disappointment to the Tenant.
EVENTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO…
The CLA Game Fair
Don’t forget to come and see us at CLA Game Fair, which this year will be back at Blenheim Palace on the 18th-20th July. We’ve lined up a book signing with Lord James Percy himself – what better reason to visit our stand. Get the date in your diary!
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The extremes of weather we have all enjoyed and indeed endured over this past six months, ranging from endless days of glorious sunshine and warm temperatures lasting well into November, followed by two months of the wettest weather in living memory, will take its toll on our guns! Just think of the condensation taking place unseen inside our guns after shooting on a wet day, with the gun getting quite hot in use in a very wet and damp atmosphere.
For all William Powell enquiries Call: 01295 701701 Email: email@example.com Visit: www.williampowell.com
A good year all-round! We can look back on the autumn and winter of 2013 as our busiest yet, having gained two new large Sporting Managements and one Consultancy on a large Highland Stalking Estate, which are providing fascinating additional work for our Land Agency practice. The Grouse season itself proved so bountiful and long that we were running let Grouse days well into the Pheasant shooting season – not a phenomenon that until recently we have ever had to cope with! The brilliant late summer weather which continued well into autumn and early winter, gave a real boost to both Partridges and Pheasants, even if it wasn’t ideal for selling waterproof and cold winter clothing! We are very pleased that the William Powell retail business has shown considerable growth, with our online business now up over 50% over the winter selling season, as compared to 2012.
WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING...
A Summary of News and Events in the World of Retail, Sporting, Guns, Cartridges and Land Management.
We’ll be releasing a new William Powell tweed to add to our collection. Be the first to see it, join our mailing list today www.williampowell.com
“I received the copies of the records. Thank-you so much. What makes this particular gun special is that it is completely original, and in my opinion, is in very good condition. But not only that, it is so well made and is a testament to the quality of the guns made by William Powell and Son. For a gun that is almost 150 years old, not only does it look great but it still shoots well. I feel very fortunate to be in possession of this gun. Thank-you so much for your help.”
END OF SEASON GUN SERVICE
The boy will grow into a man who wants a real gun ...and he will remember William Powell”.
Our annual and much anticipated online sale will go live Monday 24th February. Don’t miss out, huge bargains to be had and once they’re gone, they’re gone!
“Sounds as though you have really put your heart and soul into this enquiry... and for relatively little benefit to your company ...I thank you enormously on behalf of Harry and I and the lucky little boy in Hong Kong.
Chartered Surveyors, Leisure Business Consultants & Land Agents
However, there are many challenges ahead; from Bulgy Eye disease in Grouse and the increasing pressure on the use of lead shot, to the Scottish Government’s recent soundings on Red Deer numbers, all of which are sure to keep us firmly on our toes going forwards. Life within our Sporting business is definitely never dull!
Mark & Christine Osborne
A Proud Day!
It was a proud day for James Chapel, director of William Powell Sporting, when his son and da ughter both shot their first live qu arry!
For all William Powell enquiries
Call: 01295 701701 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can we please suggest that you get your guns into us for a check over and if need be service and repair. Between February and July is the best time of the year to get this done. Can we also please remind all William Powell new ‘Continental’ gun owners that in order to validate their 5 year William Powell guarantee, they need to have their new guns serviced after two years but before the third anniversary of ownership. Our Gunroom will be happy to answer any queries or concerns that you may have about your guns and their performance and to check out those barrels for dents and weaknesses developing.
Call us today on 01295 701 701
PARTRIDGE & PHEASANT
by Josh Keyte
Our ‘Winning’ Recommendations
Choosing a clay cartridge can be tricky. You want something that performs well and is good value. The three different cartridges below represent Value for Money, Extreme Performance and Reasonably Priced options.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Gamebore Blue Diamond
The Blue Diamond is a competition load cartridge that has been highly refined; the Gordon recoil system makes for a smooth shot even though it is a high velocity, high performance cartridge. The cartridge offers exceptional range which gives the shooter confidence to really go for those high targets, but it is very reasonably priced. This cartridge shoots consistently well to a high standard, providing a stable platform on which to shoot from and to develop your shooting to a higher level.
Load: 24 & 28 gram Shot size: 7.5 Wad: Fibre Velocity: 1430 fps Case Length: 70mm 24 gram - £5.82 / 25 £197.00 / 1000 28 gram - £6.35 / 25 £215.01 / 1000
Gamebore White Gold
The Champions Choice
These cartridges really are ‘Gold’. The performance is phenomenal with the range and consistency of the shot excellent. Even though it is a high velocity shot, it doesn’t knock you about. You can tell why this cartridge won the 2013 Shooting Industry Award for Clay cartridge. It’s high velocity and long range performance is very similar to Pure Gold, Gamebore’s High Performance Game cartridge. Both cartridges go hand in hand; Pur Gold for Game shooting and White Gold for clays - they both feel and perform in a very similar manor.
Load: 28 gram Shot size: 8 Wad: Fibre Velocity: 1450 fps Case Length: 70mm 28 gram - £6.39 / 25 £216.22 / 1000
Despite the weather, which has been particularly wet from mid December onwards, this has been a good low ground shooting season.
Eley First & First Light
This cartridge comes in 21, 24 and 28 gram all of which are fairly quick. The Light being a 21 gram load is very easy to shoot, with very little kick. This is an ideal cartridge for young shots making the transition from 20 bore to 12 bore, people who have never shot before, or those who just want a cheap cartridge for shooting some clays. As a practice cartridge it is excellent, allowing you to practice without breaking the bank.
Load: 21, 24 & 28 gram Shot size: 7.5 Wad: Fibre Velocity: V1-450mtps (21), V1-450mtps (24 & 28) Case Length: 65mm 21 gram - £4.85 / 25 £164.27 / 1000 24 gram - £5.48 / 25 £185.59 / 1000 28 gram - £5.52 / 25 £186.85 / 1000
For more information about these or any other cartridges, please contact us on the following:
Call: 01295 701701
Whilst there were a few outbreaks of disease on rearing fields (despite the generally dry spring and summer), most birds seemed to go to wood in good condition and generally thrived. Partridges particularly seem to have done well this year and demand for Partridge shooting was slightly firmer than it was in 2012/13. The open weather in September, October and November produced some memorable days’ Partridge shooting up and down the country although the lack of wind did cause problems. At the other end of the scale, the high winds towards the end of October produced some extreme shooting on the South Downs and elsewhere. Generally speaking most Pheasant poults went to wood in ideal conditions – with the sun on their beaks and little rain in sight. However, once they came off the pellets and on to wheat and the keeper looked to start feeding them out into the drives, problems arose. With such great conditions for Gamebirds (and game covers) alike, came an abundance of wild hedgerow and woodland food sources. In places, acorns and beechmast were several inches deep and the birds soon started to stray from the feed rides and out of the keepers control. Despite some very hectic mornings dogging the birds back in during September and October, many shoots started the year with less birds than anticipated in some drives.
Although the absence of any sustained hard weather has not helped, the birds have generally returned during the season, culminating in some larger than normal bags being seen in January in some parts of the country. However, the realisation that there might be additional birds and therefore shoot days to let, came too late to get many new teams lined up. There were good opportunities to negotiate revised overage rates though! The letting marketplace has been very mixed; good Shoots with excellent reputations are consistently sought after and availability has been very limited because of very early repeat bookings. Poorer Shoots tend to have much lower repeat bookings and hence greater availability. The economics of let shooting has not improved and with ever rising fixed costs, there is likely to be further pressure on poorly-performing Shoots or those unable to charge premium rates for a genuinely premium product. As ever, it pays to go to a Shoot that provides exactly what you want, and without plugging, William Powell Sporting is able to deliver impartial advice gained from many years visiting shoots literally from Land’s End to John O’Groats. James Chapel is out on shoots almost every day of the season and hence his experience of the outstanding, the good, the bad and even the ugly is fairly unbeatable!
There were few weak spots and Grouse were in abundance from the Peak District through the main Pennine Belt, across the North Yorks Moors and on into Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The Lammermuir Moors which lie to the South of Edinburgh were particularly good, as were parts of the Scottish Highlands. Scotland has been very variable in terms of Grouse production for a number of years, but there definitely seems to have been a rejuvenation there on many moors, which is very pleasing to see. The mirror effect of increased Grouse
numbers on well managed Moors and the best year recently for Black Grouse and Waders, shows what can be done by good management when the weather is kind! Black Grouse were in desperate need of a good breeding season after two disastrous ones in 2011 and 2012 and fortunately this year and just as nationally the number of Black Game was looking perilously low, they experienced a lovely dry summer which resulted in exceptional chick survival.
The highlights of the Grouse season are probably the significant increase in Grouse numbers on a few Moors in Perthshire, which has with few exceptions been really grim for many years, and the extraordinary consistency which seems to be a feature now of many moors in the heartland of Grouse shooting in Yorkshire, Northumberland and Durham. Undoubtedly this is in part due to the effectiveness of modern medicated grit which contains a wormer to control the Strongyle Worm, for long the scourge of Grouse moors. Recent advances in the development of Medicated Grit
and particularly how long it is effective for when put out on the moor, has allowed much larger stocks of Grouse to be carried, without enabling the Strongyle Worm to build up, which in the past has lead to a Grouse crash. This is the boom:bust cycle which until very recently was the pattern of Grouse production.
The letting market remained good throughout much of the season, despite the need because of large Grouse numbers, to put in extra days in October and November. Early season days were letting at £150 per brace, dropping to £120 or on occasions below, later on in the season. Fortunately there are still sportsmen happy to shoot late season Grouse on Highland Moors in November, (sometimes with snow on the Peaks!), but rightly, they pay less to do so than on a balmy day amidst the purple flowering heather of August. Undoubtedly it is the late season days for the hardy, which produce the very best quality sport, with large packs of exceptionally strong Grouse flying up to 70 miles per hour.
Shoots seem to have consistently delivered the expected bags
James Chapel William Powell Sporting 01295 277197 or email: email@example.com
THE 2013 GROUSE SEASON ... and what a season it has been! Whilst there have been specific areas where the Grouse have not done well in 2013, generally it has been an exceptional year, with large numbers of Grouse over much of the North of England and Scotland. After a horrendously wet spring and summer in 2012, we had just the opposite in 2013 and despite late snow on some higher lying moors, the weather was as perfect as it could have been for the young Grouse chicks to thrive. The end result was large broods (often with nine or more young) on many moors.
It is at this time of the year, that somewhat bizarrely, we are making plans for next season. Heather burning has started (but the Hills need to dry up before it gets going in earnest) and the grit has all been put out. Whilst snow over the winter months is fine, we are desperate to avoid late snow falls in March or April, when the Grouse are nesting. In the Highlands, it is not unknown for snow to fall heavily in May, and if this happens, it is unlikely young Grouse will survive.
All in all, 2013 will go down as one of the very best Grouse years for a very long time. Mark Osborne is a Chartered Surveyor and Land Agent who specialises in Sporting work, and is a Director of William Powell Sporting, which lets amongst other sport, Grouse shooting in the North of England and Scotland.
Mark can be contacted on 01295 277197 email: firstname.lastname@example.org