The joy of winter for those of us with an interest in country sports can be difficult to convey through written words alone. Yes, the game shooting season is in full swing... But it's about much more than that. The onset of winter brings with it the little things that make a day out in the field so fulfilling; the haw frosts, the toothsome fare, the busy dogs, the sound of birds flushing from thickets, the warm glow and crackle of firesides and excited chatter in cosy pubs – stories to be told, future days to be planned... It makes for an alluring concoction. It's an escape.
But the days are short; hours of light, precious; and Mother Nature is as unpredictable as she is wondrous. You really need a good read for the evenings – pages in which you can find that same escape long after the sun has set. And for this you need look no further than the December/January issue of Fieldsports – our Christmas issue.
For the game Shot we report from the Bodfuan Shoot in North Wales, Glenprosen Estate in the Angus Glens, and the Worlaby Shoot in the Lincolnshire Wolds. We have driven partridges with .410s, a triple-barrelled 28 bore on test, a comprehensive overview of modern sporting pheasant strains, and the definitive list of the finest side-by-side pheasant Shots in the land... and so much more.
Elsewhere in this weighty tome, Owen Williams looks at the history of woodcock ringing, Michael Wigan talks parasites, predators and invasive species, and Steve Rawsthorne lends advice on how to get the most out of a borrowed rifle. Prefer to be out with horse and hounds? Catherine Austen's eerie tales from the hunting field is sure to strike a chord.
Content is as diverse as it is consuming. From interviews with Roddy Richmond-Watson of West London Shooting School, and artist Coral Rose, to a fascinating look at the sporting life of the Maharaja Duleep Singh, wild brownies in Yorkshire, and the ultimate fishing adventure in Iceland – there really is something for everyone.
Add into the mix a closer look at working Sealyham terriers, easy-to-follow advice for the gundog owner introducing their companion to the field for the first time, and lashings of hilarious and informative culinary genius from Jimmer and Sarah Monier-Williams – with a generous dose of reflective prose from Lord James Percy to boot – and you have the perfect fireside compendium.
Delve in and discover!