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Fieldsports Britain, episode 161. Visit www.fieldsportschannel.


Belvoir Castle game fair cancelled: it rained a lot this year
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weekly newsletter

We are going to self indulge in this weeks newsletter with our review of 2012.
For most UK fieldsports, January is a time to start winding down and January 2012 was no exception. The wildfowling, hunting and gamebird seasons are in full swing but their ends are in sight. Not for us. 2012 was a time to wind up, starting with our story about Britains biggest fox, which appeared in The Sun newspaper on 2 January. It would turn out to be the year of the fox - but more of that later. Our next stop in January was Las Vegas for the biggest sporting gun show in the world, the Shot Show, where you get to see the latest kit available and I get to fire machine guns in the desert. We saw the American obsession with quite an unusual species. They have got zombie ammunition and zombie firearms. Throughout the whole show there are countless products from people we are working with who want to go round with us because because if you have the zombie gun then you need something to shoot. I also got to try out some US hunting. I enjoyed duck, wild boar and whitetail deer in the bayous of Louisiana, and got terrified by an armadillo. I really thought we were in touch with a pig one dark night in the swamps, but I am relieved we are not. We also used our trip to the USA to launch a new YouTube star. Usually more comfortable shooting antelope in Africa, we took Ian

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Photo courtesy of Jeannine French

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2012 review, cont...

Harford of Team Wild skimming over the swamps in search of rats. We got home just in time for the end of the pheasant season. Mark Gilchrist enjoyed a day out with the shooters at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. And then there were more foxes. A viewer sent us a film of an experiment he conducted in his garden. Filmed from his front room, it shows a fox taking not a baby but a dead piglet dressed in a baby grow, stuck in a pram with the sound of a baby crying playing on speakersa round it. Ooh it didnt make the antis happy at all. More on that later, too. Antis have never liked us. They put themselves through what must be the misery for them of watching our films and then, once they are properly frothed up, they leave death threats in the YouTube comments section. Duh. Its one of the most public forums in the world. It didnt take long to track one of them down, ring him up and confront him. Does he really want to kill Mark Gilchrist? His behaviour is primitive, backward and he belongs in the Neolithic era, the anti told me over the phone. Antis have sad lives. We have fun. The legend that is Roy Lupton invented a new way of testing his wild boar shooting skills in March. Its a radio-controlled car with a cut-out cardboard pig on top of it. We run the Countryside Alliance film unit and we did lots of filming for them this year. Whether it was the Countryside Alliance awards, also known as the Rural Oscars, or whippets in the snow in the Yorkshire Dales with David Taylor, or a day out with Nicky Sadler and the Ledbury Hunt in Herefordshire, or welcoming the new chief executive, General Sir Barney WhiteSpunner, who has strong views on repealing the foxhunting and coursing ban. March also saw the European version of the ShotShow. Held in Nuremberg and called IWA, the talk this year was of the German who used a Sauer bolt action rifle to pull off this incredible shot. By April, the fly fishers are getting itchy fingers. We made a piece about reservoir fishing at a water that, because of the lack of rain, was only half full. The only fisherman catching that day was a professional a grebe. Lack of rain! Ha! Our next stop was truly dry (which is lucky for us because by then the UK was becoming wet). Zeiss Sports Optics held a week-long hunt to try out its new Conquest HD and Victory HT range of scopes and binoculars at the Blaser Safari Lodge in Namibia. Also on hand were experts from Norma ammunition. We learnt about oryx, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, more oryx, how to use a dead giraffe as bait for jackals, oryx again, we were just hanging out at the luxury lodge doing luxury stuff when I got a lesson in how to release a leopard that I didnt mean to trap. Back in the UK and we hooked up with some of the biggest stars of YouTube to try out various shooting sports. Our glamorous stars Roy Lupton, Mark Gilchrist and the incredible Andy Crow were all on hand to help out.

Fieldsports Britain, episode 161. Visit

Andy Crow in a pigeon hide But shooting is not always popular, though we still find that hard to believe. I appeared on a TV programme called Foxes Live, where I had a tough argument with fox-lover, rock guitarist and national treasure Brian May. Another star we have been doing a lot of work with this year is George Digweed. The twenty-times world champ not only shoots clays of that there is no doubt but he also runs pheasant shoots, designs clay grounds and clay competitions, shoots foxes and, to relax, he goes out after pigeons. We helped The Shooting Show get off the ground on YouTube in the summer and George kindly agreed to let us film him for one of their programmes. Now you might have missed it but Team GB found a new star in young shooter Peter Wilson, who won gold for Double Trap at the
The excitement of finally seeing the desired object. The certainty of taking secure aim even in the deepest twilight. This is the moment we work for.


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2012 review, cont...

London 2012 Olympics. We made a series of films for the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association with him and with fourth-in-theworld womens Olympic Trap shooter Abbey Burton. Its amazing that the weather held off for the Olympics. By the middle of the summer, reservoirs were filling up nicely. We were at lots of events this year, from Irish game fairs to all the Schools Challenge events, including the Universities Challenge, to the sad cancellation of the CLA Game Fair. This is the time of year to experience the extraordinary sight of roebucks rutting, and Roy delivered us to exactly the right place for that. We filmed a roebuck chasing another smaller roebuck off his patch. Its now August and gameshooting in the UK starts again with the Glorious Twelfth, the official beginning of the grouse season. We try both kinds of this fabulous sport walked up with Lee Maycock, in order to show off the work of the Moorland Association and the Game-to-Eat campaign, and driven with Simon Ward, one of the countrys best grouse shots, and Mark Osborne of grand old gunmaker William Powell. Grouse shooting can be a rich mans sport. Pigeon shooting is the poor mans grouse and we were able to experiment this year with some new filming techniques that allow shooters to see exactly what shot does and where it goes. We did this with part-man, part pigeon Andy Crow. We took similar techniques out with Roy Lupton on an airgun safari, which allowed us to answer the question, can rabbits hear the pellet before it hits them? We film one super-ninja bunny that appears to duck the pellet. Perhaps it could have had a part in the Matrix. Roy also gets to go shooting in a shopping centre. He is not running amok with an assault rifle, but targeting pesky feral pigeons with an airgun. As summer turns to autumn, the wildfowling, partridge and then pheasant-shooting seasons begin. One of our longest-standing supporters is Browning, which has a super new shotgun this year in the 725, which we launched for them in the UK, before it was even launched in the US. We now go over to Paris with the guys from Browning for a partridge shoot to see it in action. We are also in Hungary with Euro-hunting star Max Hunt who talks us through bowhunting, putting us right in the idle of the fallow rut. Back in the UK, Dom Holtam gets a good gig and we go along for the ride. We become one of only a few British-based TV shows to try out the new Ferrari FF shooting brake so, to celebrate, we set about the Ferrari Macnab: three days, 700 miles, a stag in Cornwall, a grouse in Yorkshire and a salmon in the north of Scotland. The badger cull debate is underway in the UK. The idea is to shoot 75% of badgers in a couple of areas and see if that has an effect on bovine tuberculosis, which badgers carry. Brian May wades in and so incenses country folk that one of them starts shooting badgers anyway and sends us the footage.

Fieldsports Britain, episode 161. Visit

A rutting fallow bck We have a lot of fun with Brian this year. And finally, a deerstalker rings us up and tells us that Brian allowed deerstalking in woodland he owns in Dorset. Such shocking double standards. What can we do but telephone The Sunday Times? Brian is very cross. At the end of the year and we stay busy busy busy. Roy conducts a super airgun pellet test to see if the pointy ones, the flat ones or the domed ones are best for killing rabbits. Vinnie Jones sends us pictures of his Russian Macnabski. Andy Crow is out after crows. And Mark Gilchrist gets his kit off in our super test of different camouflage patterns. We could not have done this without them, so thank you so much to all our stars. And its thanks to you, the viewer, too. We are the biggest hunting channel in Europe and among the biggest in the world. Thank you for watching. <

The Schools Challenge game day

Young shots go out for their first driven pheasants
Fed up with the kids hogging the sofa and emptying the fridge? Heres a great way to get them out in the fresh air doing something worthwhile. Send them game shooting.

Fieldsports Britain, episode 161. Visit

The Oxford Gun Company has brought together 15 under-21s for the Schools Challenge two-day introduction to driven game. Some of them are already old hands at game shooting. But for others, theres a lot to learn. I have shot with air rifles and stuff just at targets, says a girl called Tattie. I have done rabbit hunting a couple of times, but havent been able to shoot anything because I havent had a gun when there have been any rabbits around. That is basically all I have done. I shot a squirrel once with a shot gun and that is about it. And I am basically learning to shoot for the first time properly with a shot gun on this course. Tattie is getting the hang of the shooting, and shes worked out theres more than one way to smash a clay pigeon. She jumps on it when its on the ground. Lets hope the instructors explain thats not how we do it with pheasants. The standard of shooting comes on in leaps and bounds. As well as marksmanship, the youngsters learn about safety, etiquette, and how a game shoot works. Theres even a demonstration of dog-training so they can appreciate the important work of the pickers-up. On day two, before dawn, the eager pheasant shooters are on parade, kitted out in full waterproofs. The forecast isnt good. Its supposed to rain for most of the day. We gather in front of the big house for a briefing and photo opportunity. Then we load up and set off - courtesy of sponsors Express Cartridges and Stratstone Cheltenham Land Rover. For the first drive the guns are in a ploughed field, in front of a cover strip. Each of the young shots is accompanied by an instructor to give them advice and make sure the safety rules are followed. Looking after Laura is David Florent from The Oxford Gun Company, whos in charge of organising the day. It is going to be good, says Laura. It is my first shoot so hopefully it will go well. There are three of us who havent shot before so it will be really good. Laura is excited about the possibility of shooting her first ever pheasant - but nervous about actually handling a dead one. With the 15 youngsters split into three teams, they take it in turns to shoot, beat and pick-up. Eventually its Tatties turn to shoot - and she really wants to get her first pheasant before her brothers - but they are a but too fast. By now everyones worked up an appetite, and the youngsters pounce on the soup and hot sausages. Then it is back to work. A couple of drives later, Tattie gets her second chance. There are two
VICTORY HT. The brightest optic package from Carl Zeiss. Experience a revolution in hunting optics: The new VICTORY HT range, which uses the unique optical concept with HT lenses from SCHOTT to achieve 95 % light transmission. The VICTORY HT binoculars are impressive with their ergonomic and robust double-link bridge design and comfort focus, whilst the VICTORY HT riflescopes benefit from the worlds finest illuminated dot and the new ASV+ for the very highest precision at long range. Tel: 01223 401525

Laura learns to hold a pheasant. Click to watch the film coming towards her. Concentrate... concentrate... says the instructor. Yes... go on, in front, in front. She hits one but her neighbour brings down the other, so she is learning a little about poaching too. And by the end of the day, even Laura is brave enough to hold a dead bird by herself. The bag for the day is 51 plus a woodcock. For more about the Schools Challenge, visit www.theschools And click here for Schools Challenge films. <

The excitement of finally seeing the desired object. The certainty of taking secure aim even in the deepest twilight. This is the moment we work for.


Hunting YouTube

Fieldsports Britain, episode 161. Visit

Charlie Jacoby on YouTubes best tribal hunting

Hadzabe tribe of Tanzania. Dont expect lions. They kill three birds and a squirrel, cook and eat them and then show how to use their bows and arrows.

In western Mongolia, an ancient tradition of hunting with golden eagles is still alive, and it makes for popular films on YouTube. In this film, the Mongols are launching eagles at wolves.

On the fishing front, as a serial prawner, I am struck by this simple shrimp fishing film from Thailand. Google translation into English from Thai is Naturally fall under the coconut shrimp. Love it.

Think Australia and you think roos. Here the aboriginal people in the Pilbara, Western Australia, are after kangaroos to feed kids at a local school. You can pick up kangaroo cooking tips from this film, too.

Heading to North America, I spent a happy summer in northern Labrador, based out of the mainly Inuit town of Nain. The Inuits are avid hunters. Here is a film showing a whale hunt with Native Iupiaq hunters on the other side of the continent in northern Alaska. Like the Mongols and their eagles, the Iupiaq people have been hunting whales for thousands of years.

Lets go spearfishing in the Amazon. This guy is incredible. Were in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Northern Peru. A local guide and fisherman spots a fish and kebabs it. What a shot.

Finally, just to show that with most third-world hunting, a big calibre is better than a blowpipe or boomerang, here is Giant Crocodile Hunting, River Nile, Africa by Ezz El-Rifaie. You can click on any of these films to watch them. If you have a YouTube film you would like us to pop in to the weekly top eight, email the link to

Earlier this year, I learnt to hunt dangerous African animals by throwing sticks at them. Next up, were hunting with the

Staying in South America, a couple of National Geographic filmmakers made this short film for their YouTube channel with the Kaapor people of Brazil. Its subsistence stuff they are after tortoises.

Fieldsports Channel brings you the free weekly programme Fieldsports Britain. See us on our website, on YouTube, find us on Facebook and on Twitter. To advertise, contact James Westbrook on +447718126762 or visit

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