After a spring and summer of learning all about what goes in to preparing for the shooting season from both a game keeping and shoot management perspective, the Shooting for Heroes programme returned on an early season partridge shoot.
The course was last at Stockton in June, where the team got to see first-hand the hard work put in by the game keepers out of season. They reviewed the tactics and considerations for arranging both partridge and pheasant shoot days, whilst also walking through cover crops, woodland management, vermin control, release pen maintenance, and game care. The group also visited the rearing fields to see the 5-week old partridge poults and finished with an enormous partridge egg collection from the breeding boxes.
The course later arrived at the Stockton rendezvous, on a stunning Wiltshire Autumnal morning and was reunited with some friendly faces in the back of the beater wagon. Those more keen to be closer to the action for the first few drives joined the impeccable Stockton pickers up and moved in to position to eagerly await the arrival of the guns.
Richard Stanley and his team of guns arrived for the first drive in a beautiful valley base. The Shooting for Heroes beaters made their way down through the thick cover crop under close guidance, whilst those assisting with picking up stood poised with the dogs to collect the fallen quarry. It was an impressive first drive with some first class shooting providing plenty of work for the pickers up.
Following the second drive the Shooting for Heroes team re-united around the beaters wagon to swap roles and exchange stories of their first exposure to Wiltshire partridge shooting. Towards the end of the break some of the guns approached the course to ask if they would like to get a bit closer to the action and assist them on their pegs.
As ever, the Team were made to feel incredibly welcome and part of the family. The guns couldn’t have been more welcoming and engaging, the course thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and Kevin Barnard now has a few extra regular beaters to add to his team.
Dean Lunn, a member of The Shooting for Heroes programme said: "It has been interesting, rewarding and a great experience so far. I was hoping to feel part of a team again with the added bonus of doing some shooting but it has provided so much more, I have been blown away by the support we have received.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all Help for Heroes supporters, without your help none of this would have been possible. It has helped me deal with some issues I thought no one could help me with and opened doors I didn’t know were there. Most of all, it has helped me to make some real friends again. Thank you."
The group is now extremely excited for their first day shooting live quarry on a driven duck day at Hicknaham Farm later this month.
For further information about Shooting for Heroes and for details of how to get involved, please contact Michael Payne (Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org), Operations Director at Help for Heroes and Coordinator of the Shooting for Heroes programme.