the ultimate foxing guide everything you need to vanquish vulpes this winter
For shooters of calibre
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January 2017 No.137 £4.75
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Cover: Soren Leegaard Fuhlendorff Cover photo by Thomas Nissen Editorial department Editor-in-chief Pete Carr Deputy editor Colin Fallon Sub-editor Stuart Newman Art editor Jonathon Hyland Advertising sales manager Tracey Smith All departments First Floor, Unit 4 Jephson Court, Tancred Close, Leamington Spa CV31 3RZ email@example.com Production Head of production UK & US – Mark Constance Production controller – Nola Cokely Subscriptions & back issues Online: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: UK: 0344 848 2852 International: +44 344 848 2852 Management Managing director, magazines – Joe McEvoy Editorial director, field sports – Paul Newman Group editor-in-chief – Peter Carr Art director, Leamington Spa – Chris Sweeney Group art director – Rodney Dive Licensing Senior licensing and syndication manager – Matt Ellis Matt.Ellis@futurenet.com +44 (0)1225 442244 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be transmitted or reproduced in any form without written permission from the publishers. The opinions expressed by the correspondents are not necessarily those of the publishers.
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Contents 8 News
70 Exploring the Yukon
The biggest news for rifle shooters in the UK and abroad
Chris Parkin sets his sights (literally) on the Yukon Jaeger scope
12 Mail bag
The best letter wins a bottle of the King’s Ginger – get scribbling!
Win a Magtech 7022 rifle worth £150
14 Caribou challenge
Why are uphill and downhill shots so much more difficult? Darryl Pace has the answer
With two methods of engagement – bow and rifle – Thomas Nissen and young guide Soren get up close to a caribou bull in Greenland
19 New year’s excursions Mike Powell tells you how to make the most of January’s foxing opportunities and the oncoming mating season
22 Gone in 60 minutes With just one hour to put the foxes on the ground, Mark Ripley makes the most of a short spell in the high seat
26 Fantastic foxing It’s our bumper roundup of all the gear you need to put Charlie on the ground this winter
32 Subscribe now! Get copies of Sporting Rifle delivered to your door from just £9
35 Due diligence Paul Childerley proves the worth of prior reconnaissance when out after Chinese water deer on his patch
39 Pricket pursuit David Barrington Barnes stalks fallow amid the harsh winter landscape
42 Species spotlight Pete Carr studies the history, identification and sporting pursuit of the fallow deer
47 Like it rough? Tim Pilbeam has two Sako Roughtech rifles on the testing bench: the Range and Pro
Byron Pace assesses the 7mm Rem Mag
78 Target News All the biggest stories from the target shooting world, domestically and internationally
81 He’s the Man Matthew Man could be the next big name in target shooting – we interview him
84 Buffalo soldiers Thomas Nissen accompanies a notable character on the hunt for Australian buffalo
87 Food for thought Byron Pace considers how hunting fits into the global food production industry
91 The poaching menace Kevin Thomas surveys some of the horrific effects poaching has on Africa’s wildlife
86 Mag-nificent Byron Pace puts Magtech’s budget 7022 rimfire to the test
99 Shining Pulsar Mike Powell gets to know Pulsar’s latest thermal imager, the XQ50
102 Passing the test Rudi van Kets witnesses his two young deer dogs undergo their final tests
106 Book shop Save money! Get discounts on sporting books
Stalking solo sometimes isn’t enough – you need a collaborative approach to deer management, stresses Dominic Griffith
108 Rifles and scopes What’s new in the rimfire, centrefire and riflescope markets
55 Snow roe
110 Where to shoot
Chris Dalton takes a client out in pursuit of a roe doe, but a sudden snowfall threatens to derail his plans
59 Snap shot 63 Ask the experts Got a burning question? Get it answered by our team of experts now
68 Head measuring The best deer heads to come through the BASC, BDS and Sporting Rifle service
76 Calibre hunter
52 All together now
Helena Venables interviews Glyn Martin of the British Deer Society
74 All downhill from here
Plan your next hunt today
113 Courses Everything from DSC to PhD
114 Almanac What to expect this January
118 Reader ads Buy and sell your gear for free here
121 Coming soon The February issue and beyond
122 Back page Remembering the life of J A Hunter
Comment: Anti-social media
Reckless posting It can be tempting to post all your photos of hunting successes online – but it’s best to think before you click, warns editor-inchief Pete Carr
here can be no doubt that social media has made a seismic change to the way we live our lives in the western world. It can be used to educate, entertain and enlighten. It’s a fast form of communication that’s now part of our daily lives. But there are also people who use it to bully, intimidate, and harass. Increasingly often images shared within our own circles become public and are used against us. Even completely innocent images of, say, a bullet exit wound on a fox illustrating expansion effectiveness (justified by a suitable caption) can be deemed offensive by others, especially if the relevant caption has been removed and an anti puts his own spin on it when reposting. I have experienced this myself when anti-shooting organisations have actually stolen the image from some of our online magazines and reposted them to their own ends – without a care for breach of copyright. Many would say if you enter the public arena you have to accept what comes. I agree to a certain extent, but there is a big difference between expressing one’s distaste and the death threats and other nastiness these trolls peddle. One can expect it from the extremists in anti-camp, and I respect their right to their own opinions – they may be based on ignorant bias, but their ignorance is their problem as far as I’m concerned if they put their name to it. And there’s the big if – it’s nothing short of cowardice to troll someone and threaten violence behind a false name or nom-de-plume. I’ve been the subject of trolling and though it didn’t bother me at all, it certainly gave the War Office some concern. To see her affected by this made my blood boil. American huntress Melissa Bachman suffered despicable online abuse for posting photos of her hunting trophies on line, and a photo of her posing with a lion went viral to the point that it shut down her Facebook account. There was nothing wrong with the actual photo – it was an ethical hunt. The animal was shown the respect it deserved, but by whatever means the image became public and quickly unpleasant for Melissa.
Posting images online, however innocent they may be, is a risky business. It is just not worth the strife that could befall not just you but your family. A closed group can quickly become public, as my colleague Mat Manning (contributing editor on Airgun Shooter) found out when a follower of his on the Airgun Show directed abuse at him online. When Mat challenged the guy over his ill-informed post, he told Mat the comment had actually been made by an anti-shooting associate who had gained access to his YouTube account which had been left signed in. If true, it certainly demonstrates negligence on the account holder’s part, but it is a lesson for us. Personally I enjoy seeing images of fellow hunters’ successes. Most are well presented, as Melissa’s always are, showing respect for the quarry and sport. However, I do have issue with those who post badly composed images for egotistical reasons alone or to concentrate on the gore. This actually raises questions about the poster’s sanity and suitability to own firearms. There is a big difference if these kinds of images are to demonstrate bullet performance and so on – but perhaps these images should be in a journal or scientific paper, not posted on social media. My Irish shooting buddy and columnist in this magazine Jason Doyle posted a picture of a head-shot deer a few years ago, and learned a valuable lesson from a far more experienced hunter who immediately pulled him up and set him straight. His words of wisdom had a big impact on Jason and he realised the error early in his career. All of us as hunters have the ability to impact our sport negatively if we do silly things looking for recognition – we are just one click away from posting something that will be forever beyond our control. There’s no doubt that some of the online representation of the sport we hold so dear leaves a lot to be desired. With that in mind, we all need to think about the way we represent our sport, and how our actions and opinions may be perceived by not
Hot favourite: Melissa Bachman was a high-profile victim of online abuse
just the antis but the wider public too. Every one of us is an ambassador for our sport and the great British countryside too. We all need to think carefully about what we post on social media, because it reflects on our chosen pastime – a pastime that is under constant scrutiny from all quarters. Our wildlife is a finite resource, and should be managed carefully and with respect if that wildlife and our sport are to continue to prosper. Like Jason, I was fortunate to fall in with a good mentor as a fledgling hunter, and it is our duty to encourage others who show an interest in joining the hunting ranks. But by doing so we take on a great responsibility to ensure they follow the ethical path and don’t succumb to silliness and post inappropriate images that can be used to portray us in a negative way. Safety, quarry identification, and respect for the environment and others who share the great outdoors is what we should impart to the young Nimrods who are, after all, our sport’s future. When the hunt comes to a successful conclusion, a photo is a record of achievement and a salute to the fallen quarry – if it is tastefully composed and arranged with all due respect. But think carefully about posting images online, and how others will perceive them if they are shared with the wider public. If in doubt, avoid that second click.
Peter Carr, editor-in-chief
News: The latest issues
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Automatic certificate extensions approved Law changes that will make shooters’ lives easier are finally set to see the light of day, after the House of Lords gave them the nod. The first of the two amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill will grant an automatic eight-week extension to a firearms certificate upon the timely receipt of an application for renewal of the licence. This will effectively double the amount of time available for the administration of renewal, and means that if the police are sluggish in processing your renewal, you’re less likely to have to put your rifles into storage. The second amendment would see the expanding ammunition used for deer stalking moved back into Section 1, allowing it to be transported using more accessible and less costly delivery methods, and significantly improving its availability and cost to obtain. Both amendments will become law when the bill receives Royal Assent, bringing months of campaigning from shooting organisations to a successful end. Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “We are pleased that the government has taken steps to make the most of the opportunity the Countryside Alliance highlighted back in March.
“These amendments have the support of the government, the shooting community and the police, and will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our firearms laws. We also understand the government are working on further improvement to firearms legislation, which we look forward to seeing in due course.”
BASC backs recreational stalking
Recreational stalkers are the answer to the government’s deer management woes, the BASC has said. In its submission to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s Forestry in England inquiry, the association says its deer stalking schemes provide an excellent example of best practice management that should be adopted more widely. John Thornley, chairman of BASC’s deer stalking committee, said: “Deer population management is an essential part of conservation. Without it our countryside and our natural environment would suffer. “There are more than 100,000 people who go deer stalking each year and the vast majority do so on a recreational basis. “Deer have no natural predators, and if left alone deer populations outgrow their available living space. “This inevitably leads to detrimental impacts on important natural flora and loss of habitat, not just for them but also for a host of other wildlife.” It’s been estimated that at least 350,000 deer are taken by stalkers in the UK every year – providing a massive boost to the economy in the process. If you’re interested in the BASC’s stalking schemes, visit basc.org.uk or call 01244 573019.
News: The latest issues
Credit: John Mitchell / JCB / Field Sports Channel
Government praises Green Shoots BASC’s Green Shoots programme has come in for praise from the government. In its official response to a petition calling for government to support grouse shooting, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said: “The government welcomes the proactive approach taken by game-keeping organisations to ensure a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship between shooting and conservation, for example through the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s Green Shoots initiative. “The government recognises the benefits that grouse shooting, and shooting more widely, brings to individuals, the environment and the rural economy. It is for these reasons that the government believes shooting and other country pursuits, such as hunting and fishing, should be protected.” Ian Danby, the BASC’s head of biodiversity, added: “The BASC and our members have worked with a huge range of conservation partners over the years and we have excellent relationships with the UK’s statutory conservation agencies. “A great deal of effort goes towards achieving biodiversity targets that the UK is committed to through the convention on biological diversity. Much of the cost of this work is met by the shooting community itself. It is pleasing to see this work again recognised by government.”
Shooting ‘under attack’ in Scotland Shooting organisations have been quick to decry “inflammatory and far-fetched claims” made by the RSPB and Scottish Raptor Studies Group, which called for a state-regulated licensing system for game shooting in Scotland. Giving evidence to the parliamentary petitions committee, the wildlife groups claimed Scottish shooting businesses are “underpinned by illegality” and said “endemic” wildlife crime drives visitors and tourists away from Scotland’s moors. It wasn’t just grouse shooting that came under fire – the pressure groups suggested that a licensing scheme should be implemented to restrict the number of pheasants released on shoots. Nicolle Hamilton, press and policy advisor for BASC Scotland, said: “Many of those who shoot in Scotland will be dismayed to see yet another attempt to disrupt and bureaucratise their sport. “Shooting businesses provide essential employment that underpins remote rural communities and supports tourism businesses throughout the winter months. “The unjust and alarming claims made in today’s evidence session illustrate the threat posed by a small number of campaigning organisations. The BASC will be briefing MSPs on the reality of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of shooting in Scotland.”
BASC meets minister The BASC discussed medical involvement in firearms licensing during a meeting with policing minister Brandon Lewis. The organisation also thanked the government for clarifying firearms legislation as part of the new Policing and Crime Bill and welcomed the opportunity to discuss potential improvements in laws around expanding ammunition. Bill Harriman, BASC director of firearms, said: “We are grateful that government continues to work with the people who have at heart the best interests of shooting.”
Two petitions quashed In addition to the government’s highprofile rejection of Mark Avery’s petition to ban driven grouse shooting, there’s also been a resounding message of support for woodcock shooting from Westminster. Responding to Chris Packham’s petition for a moratorium on woodcock shooting, a DEFRA spokesperson said: “It is unlikely that hunting has had a significant impact on recent population trends for woodcock, snipe and golden plover.”
Shoot your shoot Fancy yourself as a shoot photographer? BASC Scotland has launched a competition to find the best shoot photography from north of the border. Winning entries will feature in a BASC calendar – and be in with a chance of winning Swarovski binoculars or a twoday shooting experience. For more details visit basc.org.uk/scotshots.
News: The latest issues
Credit: Dave Evans
Badger culls in Wales? Badgers could be culled in specific locations in Wales after the Welsh government revised its TB control policy. Although it ruled out a blanket cull across Wales, the government said it would target infected badgers for culling on affected farms, while individual action plans will be developed for farms with long-term bovine TB issues. These plans are understood to involve cagetrapping and killing by injection; shooting is not mentioned in the government’s ‘refreshed’ plan. Rural Affairs secretary Sinead Griffiths said: “Since we introduced the eradication programme in 2012 we have seen a decrease in the number of new cases of bovine TB in cattle herds in Wales, with the latest figures showing the number of new TB incidents is down by 19 per cent. “I am keen to build on this success and speed up progress, which is why I am looking to introduce enhanced, evidence-based measures.” Meanwhile, DEFRA is pressing ahead with an expanded badger cull trial in south-west England, covering seven separate areas.
Bird flu risk uP
Latest crime stats out
Keepers and shooters have been told to be on the lookout after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) raised the risk level for the entry of avian influenza (bird flu) into Britain’s wild birds population to ‘medium’. The Animal and Plant Health Agency made the announcement on 11 November following an increase in reports of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in mainland Europe. During November, ‘found dead wild birds’ have been reported in Hungary, Poland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Water birds were principally affected. The risk of incursion into UK game premises and poultry farms remains at its previous level of “low, but heightened”. A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “It is important to emphasise that there have been no reports to date of bird flu in the UK during this cycle of the disease. It is only prudent, however, for gamekeepers and others who run shoots to remain vigilant, looking out for and reporting any suspicious or unexplained bird deaths in wild or kept birds. It is essential to maintain high levels of biosecurity and watch for signs of ill health in any overwintered birds.”
The Office for National Statistics has reported a seven per cent rise in police offences involving the use of firearms compared to the same period last year. The Office cautioned that this rise should be understood in the context of the steady decline in firearms crime since its peak a decade ago. Changes and improvements to the way the statistics are gathered may also represent one cause of the apparent rise, with the ONS noting: “There appears to be a mixed picture with some evidence to suggest there has been a small but genuine rise in some areas but also suggestions that it reflects general changes in recording processes.” This caution is underscored by the fact that the rise has occurred in line with an overall increase in recorded crime, with all types of crime increasing by seven per cent on average. Elsewhere, a House of Commons briefing paper, Firearm Crime Statistics: England & Wales, has highlighted a dramatic fall in firearms crime referred to by the ONS report, with a 65 per cent drop in Robbery and Violence Against the Person since 2003. The document also shows that firearms offences are usually committed using handguns and imitation firearms. The percentage of firearms crimes committed with shotguns and rifles has increased since 2004, but accounts for only about 10 per cent of the offences recorded.
Countryside Alliance head of shooting Liam Stokes said: “These results confirm what we already knew: the petition that led to the debate calling for the banning of driven grouse shooting is no way reflective of broader public interest. It is instead the result of manufactured support that has relied heavily on a few notable celebrity endorsements. “Grouse shooting is of enormous importance to the upland communities who
rely on its economic benefits, and to the wildlife it helps conserve, yet the rest of the country think the issue is of no importance at all.” Stokes continued: “There is a small, noisy group of people who are trying to make these upland communities feel like the world is against them, when the reality is the vast majority of the electorate in this country take no interest in this issue.”
Shooting – who cares? The general public are far less interested in the issue of grouse shooting than either shooters or antis think, a new poll has shown. Carried out by ORB for the Countryside Alliance in advance of the parliamentary debate on 31 October, the poll showed that grouse shooting and grouse moor management do not even register as a spontaneous issue of public interest. ORB asked 2,046 people to name issues that were important to them. Between them the respondents came up with more than 5,000 responses – none of which related to grouse shooting or moor management. The respondents were then asked to rate a range of issues as important or unimportant. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said grouse shooting was unimportant (compared to 37 per cent for the building of wind farms or 28 per cent for mobile connectivity).
Letters: Readers’ views
Send us your letters – or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a great prize
Irish eyes are smiling
s le tar tt er
Dear Sporting Rifle, I would like to thank Michael Stapleton of Munster Wild Deer Services Ireland, whom I found in the Where to Shoot guide of Sporting Rifle, for an excellent and extremely enjoyable three days’ stalking in the beautiful countryside of County Tipperary. From the moment I contacted Michael to enquire about a stalking package I found him to be extremely helpful, polite and courteous, explaining that he could cater for all my stalking needs. Michael provides an excellent service – he is passionate about our sport and enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge. I look forward to arranging another stalking trip in the not too distant future and would encourage others to do likewise. Paul McIlveen
Get your teeth into SR Dear Sporting Rifle, I think this is a ‘dog ate my homework’ kind of situation. My two dogs had an argument over which one would get to read Sporting Rifle first – and this was the result. Do you think I could have another one, please? Helena Your new copy is on its way – please keep this one firmly out of canine reach!
Each month, the best letter wins a bottle of King’s Ginger – the ideal drink to enjoy after a cold stalk. For more details visit www.thekingsginger.com
A whole lotta Lovel Dear Sporting Rifle, I shot a good roebuck in early August 2016 in the west of Scotland, and was looking forward to getting it measured. Last year I’d used a BASC measurer, whom I met at a game fair, to measure a buck I’d shot, which ended up as a bronze medal. Andy Lovel was the chap’s name, and I decided to contact him again to get my latest buck measured up. When I did so he invited me over for a weekend. He would measure the buck and maybe get out for a chance of a shot at a roe the same weekend. I booked a flight from Ireland to Leeds and Andy collected me. We swapped many a stalking experience on the way to his house. When we got there, after a quick cuppa Andy got his stuff ready for measuring the buck. I was so looking forward to hearing the results as I knew it was a great buck. Measurements complete, the buck turned out to be a great gold – 137.1 points. Happy days – and to top off the weekend we went out for a roe that evening, and I shot not one but two. I just want to say thank you to Andy Lovel – a gentleman to say the least. John Clooney