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Our history records make it clear that many ruling Dynasties around the world have chosen hunting for sport as their prime leisure pursuit. Wild boar and Deer hunted with hounds and shot with bows; or bird species taken with tamed bird of Prey:
British Royals and members of the Nobility have always made Hunting their passion (as it remains today).
There are records that show that our Royalty and Noblemen were hunting for our native grey Partridge and imported Pheasant during the 16th century.
The Pheasant that originally was brought into Britain by the Romans who imported it from Asia in the 11th century. A bird much favoured by them as a dinner table delicacy. Whilst it’s culinary popularity remained , it was deemed worthy enough to be shot for sport for the privileged few with their Flintlock Muzzle Loading Shotguns.
These Pheasants and Partridges were shot Flying away ( Walking Up) using servants to ‘flush’ birds from the undergrowth making flying bird targets for their Lordships.
This style of ‘walked up’ shooting remained the norm until the early 19th century when the much more efficient quick loading double barreled Breech loading shotgun was introduced.
Although a very few privileged Noblemen had witnessed a new style of ‘Battue’ (a french version of beating the ground to drive birds forward towards a waiting line of hunters).
These Battue shoots were very much the fashion on the Continent where the wealthiest land owners used them as ‘Show’ shoots. The greater the amount of birds shot (the Bag) the greater the perceived wealth, power and status of the shoot host.
By the mid 19th century this new style of ‘Driven’ shoot was firmly established on our Royal shoots and the big shoots of our landed gentry. Growing wealth and improvements in travel facilitated the elevation of status of driven game bird shooting to the height of fashion. There were no Royal males who did not shoot driven game ,and young men flocked to the rising number of shooting schools to sharpen up their skills. Young men could achieve great wealth and success as clever businessmen; however from the Edwardian period onwards, their highest status could only be earned from their peers witnessing their prowess at shooting game birds. In a line of commonly 6 to 8 Guns; the Gun that consistently brought down the most birds was awarded the highest status.
Other than the interruptions of two World wars, and a change in perception that excessively large ‘Bags’ were unnecessary; little changed within the privileged exclusive participants of British formal driven game shooting.
A change came about in the boom times of the 1980s when there were suddenly businessmen making huge amounts of money who were seeking involvement in leisure pursuits that would afford new challenges and pleasures, plus elevate their social status.
High on the list of new sort after activities was driven game shooting, where many successful business men invested financially to develop game shoots; which in turn became important venues for corporate hospitality.
The best British game shoots have flourished in their efforts to satisfy the increasingly discerning demands of the modern Game Shot; resulting in Britain attracting visitors from around the World who desire to be challenged by the most testing birds on spectacular shoots.
John King has been organising these high quality days for more than twenty years. He says: “I consider that modern game shooting is at its peak, providing the very best of sport to satisfy the requirements of the elite among Game Shots”.
You can take advantage of the very few remaining spaces on his game days for this season - availability can be found by visiting the Game Shooting page.