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Hello All
I know there are quite a few shooters here so how about some posts about your winter sport? I go rough shooting regularly and am a member of a wildfowling club. Hope toget some beating done with my mad mongrel Celt .
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Hi Aled

I hope you’re well!

I too enjoy my winter shooting.

It keeps me sane till the mild summer nights re-appear in which I go in the search of Solway sea trout…

Until then, I enjoy rough shooting for woodcock and wildfowling on the foreshore, inland and over flight ponds.

My favourite game bird is without question the woodcock… I find them fascinating. Undoubtedly, woodcock shooting is highly controversial amongst game shooters. However, where I’m based in SW Scotland we see high densities of wintering woodcock both roosting amongst the dense woodlands during the day when hunting with dogs and also flighting to their feeding grounds at dusk. Therefore, I have no problem in shooting a few for the table each year. Either cooked the traditional way alongside duck and orange patè, or lightly fried in butter and served on a toasted ciabatta with Boursin garlic and herb cream cheese… superb. I read a Shooting article once which highlighted their immense time keeping throughout the winter. It noted that after years of research, the earliest woodcock flighted 29 minutes after sunset and the latest first woodcock flighted 42 minutes after sunset. A first bird window of 13 minutes… The earliest last woodcock flighted 38 minutes after sunset and the latest last woodcock flighted 52 minutes after sunset. A last bird window of 14 minutes… Incredible time keeping. I have spent the last 3 years putting this theory to the test and it is spot on.
I’ve signed up-to the BTO (British Trust of Ornithology) Voluntary Ringers Scheme, to learn to ring woodcock. It takes around a year with frequent tutoring from your nearest qualified mentor. So far I’ve had a night on a stubble field catching and ringing skylarks. Really good fun!

The geese haven’t been on the Solway in the usual numbers this year. Had some good mornings flights on the foreshore early October however they soon disappeared and haven’t really returned in significant numbers since. No inland decoying just yet, usually in January they turn direction and head towards the fields we have permission on.

Duck wise, lots of teal around at the start of the season on the foreshore. The wigeon numbers have been building and have had some cracking night flights on the foreshore. I’ve heard pintail but yet to see one this year.

Our evening flight pond has had a bad year… it was full of water late spring. However, the prolonged lack of precipitation through the summer dried up our pond and no significant rain arrived till the second week in October. Our pond is particularly good early season for mallard before it turns to a teal pond throughout the cold weather. When the rain arrived, it didn’t rain… it poured. SW Scotland has been very wet since and there’s been so many splashes and flashes around the duck have been scattered so haven’t had any nights at the pond yet. Not only that, but due to the lack of an inlet it doesn’t take much to freeze the pond either… Therefore, the pond may be a write off this year unfortunately.

Talk of the season so far for me, is the amount of snipe around. The bogs we shoot are absolutely laden with them. Both Jacks and Common. I have a friend in Jedburgh who invited me along last week for a shoot day. He also has noticed a particularly good season for snipe so far. Just tonight for example, I was watching a flight over one of our large duck roost ponds, and I counted 41 snipe flighting over at dusk. At one point all you could hear was the distinctive peeps from all directions.

With freezer space running low, I shall be spending Sunday mincing game of all varieties and preparing goose and duck and venison burgers. Must get some onions, cooking bacon and butchers rusks. These shall be passed out amongst family and friends and washed down with a drop of port.

Hope you’re having a good season Aled

Best wishes,
Fin


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm very well thanks Fin. Woodcock are often seen as the rough shooters bird, and i have plenty of land around me to pursue them. I'm not interested in big bags, enough for a few meals, then its duck, escaped pheasants, and pigeon (for crop protection purposes only of course). Sadly very few rabbits around here so the few that are around are left alone! My dog Celt is a proper mongrel a accidental cross between a Labrador and a NZ Huntaway he will not win a Field Trial, but I've taught him enough (or has he learnt enough!) to be able to go rough shooting and wildfowling. Roll on the weekend when we are back out again.
Cheers. Aled
 

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Hi Aled

I hope you’re well!

I too enjoy my winter shooting.

It keeps me sane till the mild summer nights re-appear in which I go in the search of Solway sea trout…

Until then, I enjoy rough shooting for woodcock and wildfowling on the foreshore, inland and over flight ponds.

My favourite game bird is without question the woodcock… I find them fascinating. Undoubtedly, woodcock shooting is highly controversial amongst game shooters. However, where I’m based in SW Scotland we see high densities of wintering woodcock both roosting amongst the dense woodlands during the day when hunting with dogs and also flighting to their feeding grounds at dusk. Therefore, I have no problem in shooting a few for the table each year. Either cooked the traditional way alongside duck and orange patè, or lightly fried in butter and served on a toasted ciabatta with Boursin garlic and herb cream cheese… superb. I read a Shooting article once which highlighted their immense time keeping throughout the winter. It noted that after years of research, the earliest woodcock flighted 29 minutes after sunset and the latest first woodcock flighted 42 minutes after sunset. A first bird window of 13 minutes… The earliest last woodcock flighted 38 minutes after sunset and the latest last woodcock flighted 52 minutes after sunset. A last bird window of 14 minutes… Incredible time keeping. I have spent the last 3 years putting this theory to the test and it is spot on.
I’ve signed up-to the BTO (British Trust of Ornithology) Voluntary Ringers Scheme, to learn to ring woodcock. It takes around a year with frequent tutoring from your nearest qualified mentor. So far I’ve had a night on a stubble field catching and ringing skylarks. Really good fun!

The geese haven’t been on the Solway in the usual numbers this year. Had some good mornings flights on the foreshore early October however they soon disappeared and haven’t really returned in significant numbers since. No inland decoying just yet, usually in January they turn direction and head towards the fields we have permission on.

Duck wise, lots of teal around at the start of the season on the foreshore. The wigeon numbers have been building and have had some cracking night flights on the foreshore. I’ve heard pintail but yet to see one this year.

Our evening flight pond has had a bad year… it was full of water late spring. However, the prolonged lack of precipitation through the summer dried up our pond and no significant rain arrived till the second week in October. Our pond is particularly good early season for mallard before it turns to a teal pond throughout the cold weather. When the rain arrived, it didn’t rain… it poured. SW Scotland has been very wet since and there’s been so many splashes and flashes around the duck have been scattered so haven’t had any nights at the pond yet. Not only that, but due to the lack of an inlet it doesn’t take much to freeze the pond either… Therefore, the pond may be a write off this year unfortunately. Going to be ordering one or two new rifles from https://gritrsports.com/shooting/firearms/rifles/ in a next few months.

Talk of the season so far for me, is the amount of snipe around. The bogs we shoot are absolutely laden with them. Both Jacks and Common. I have a friend in Jedburgh who invited me along last week for a shoot day. He also has noticed a particularly good season for snipe so far. Just tonight for example, I was watching a flight over one of our large duck roost ponds, and I counted 41 snipe flighting over at dusk. At one point all you could hear was the distinctive peeps from all directions.

With freezer space running low, I shall be spending Sunday mincing game of all varieties and preparing goose and duck and venison burgers. Must get some onions, cooking bacon and butchers rusks. These shall be passed out amongst family and friends and washed down with a drop of port.

Hope you’re having a good season Aled

Best wishes,
Fin


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Wish my biggest problem when it comes to hunting was "freezer space running low" :D
 

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I havent done much proper rough shooting recently. I had a day with 3 mates earlier in the week and we had a great time. I tried a new woodcock recipe last night and it was truly awesome! In all a very satisfactory thing to do proper shooting and get a fantastic dinner.
 

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I havent done much proper rough shooting recently. I had a day with 3 mates earlier in the week and we had a great time. I tried a new woodcock recipe last night and it was truly awesome! In all a very satisfactory thing to do proper shooting and get a fantastic dinner.
Wrapped in bacon and roasted is how I used to do them - yum! To be honest I think I’d struggle a bit shooting and eating a woodcock these days - pheasants are so abundant and woodys don’t taste that much better.

Glad you had a good day out. 👍
 

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We certaintly saw plenty. I gues we rose 60 or 70, fired at a small fraction and missed most of them! I went through a bit of a phase of not shooting them but im content that in December and January it fair game.

my recipe is a bit complicated!! I confit the legs in pheasant fat then seperate the crown, heart and liver. Im ashamed to admit i discard the entrails but roast everything else including the head, beak, feet, wings etc and simmer in game stock for a few hours, strain then reduce with red wine right down before whisking in cold butter to thicken. The crowns are boiled in very salty water for 2 minutes, then dried and rested for 4 minutes before pan frying in loads of butter for 3 minutes with continuois basting. Then the crowns and comfit legs go on a roasting sheet in a very hot oven for 2 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes then serve very pink with the sauce and garnishes of choice. I find it works really well for all gamebirds, scaled up or down as required. The hearts and livers get a quick fry and can be served on a round of fried bread as a canape. On birds with a worthwhile gizzard these can go in the confit.
 

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We certaintly saw plenty. I gues we rose 60 or 70, fired at a small fraction and missed most of them! I went through a bit of a phase of not shooting them but im content that in December and January it fair game.

my recipe is a bit complicated!! I confit the legs in pheasant fat then seperate the crown, heart and liver. Im ashamed to admit i discard the entrails but roast everything else including the head, beak, feet, wings etc and simmer in game stock for a few hours, strain then reduce with red wine right down before whisking in cold butter to thicken. The crowns are boiled in very salty water for 2 minutes, then dried and rested for 4 minutes before pan frying in loads of butter for 3 minutes with continuois basting. Then the crowns and comfit legs go on a roasting sheet in a very hot oven for 2 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes then serve very pink with the sauce and garnishes of choice. I find it works really well for all gamebirds, scaled up or down as required. The hearts and livers get a quick fry and can be served on a round of fried bread as a canape. On birds with a worthwhile gizzard these can go in the confit.
That sounds bloody marvellous! 🤤
 

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We certaintly saw plenty. I gues we rose 60 or 70, fired at a small fraction and missed most of them! I went through a bit of a phase of not shooting them but im content that in December and January it fair game.

my recipe is a bit complicated!! I confit the legs in pheasant fat then seperate the crown, heart and liver. Im ashamed to admit i discard the entrails but roast everything else including the head, beak, feet, wings etc and simmer in game stock for a few hours, strain then reduce with red wine right down before whisking in cold butter to thicken. The crowns are boiled in very salty water for 2 minutes, then dried and rested for 4 minutes before pan frying in loads of butter for 3 minutes with continuois basting. Then the crowns and comfit legs go on a roasting sheet in a very hot oven for 2 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes then serve very pink with the sauce and garnishes of choice. I find it works really well for all gamebirds, scaled up or down as required. The hearts and livers get a quick fry and can be served on a round of fried bread as a canape. On birds with a worthwhile gizzard these can go in the confit.
2nd Oscar's admiration.

Does sound a bit Masterchef, but if that's what makes it taste delicious, I'd happily do the same!
 

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Lots of woodcock showing on the shoots i have been on this season, certainly as many if not more than previous seasons.

As for cooking them iam unfortunatley a bit of a heathan, and just take off the breasts. Then put these along with a partride breast on the inside of a "pheasant cushion", wrap with butchers string and roast.



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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Others are saying the same country_est, but in my corner of West Wales i've seen very few. Walked some new land last Saturday, ideal Woodcock habitat no sign of any.
 

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My understanding is the migrants usually return to the same place in groups so if the ones heading for your area encountered issues on migration to you they could all have been wiped out. I was told abundance largely depended on wind strength and direction: Easterlies good, Westerlies bad. We saw a good number in Yorkshire in early December and there were plenty on our day in the Westcountry, more than I have seen for a good while. Rumour has it it is a good year for snipe in the North but we saw comparatively few. One of the joys of wild sport is the unpredictability, so maybe in the New Year a while bunch will arrive!
 
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