Game on: Making the most of the last game of the season

Game on: Making the most of the last game of the season

Game on: Making the most of the last game of the season - Credit: Archant

It’s the end of the shooting season but if, like me, you’ve made good use of your freezer, you can still enjoy game in the coming months.

I joined David Grimwood, of the Froize Inn at Chillesford, and a crew of his friends for one of the last days of the season, starting with bacon butties and piping hot coffee before we set off for Iken.

The weather wasn’t promising but just as we were ready to leave the cloud parted and the sun peeped through. We piled into assorted cars and followed David down muddy country lanes into a field where a game wagon waited to take us further. Waterproofs and tweed were the order of the day for most. I felt a little out of place in my glittery wellies.

David, very much in charge, decided who would be where. Some of the guns were positioned at the end of a little copse, the rest walked to the other end and spread out in a straight line. David furnished me with a strong stick and explained how under his instruction we would walk in a straight line very slowly through the wood.

Several of the guns had dogs to aid them. Very well trained, obeying every command, they worried the undergrowth and scanned the air with their powerful noses.

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Hen pheasants were to be left alone, but cock pheasants, woodcock and pigeon were all game. Flushed from the thicket, a lone bird would take to the air, a shout of “cock bird” ring out and a gun would fire. If the bird fell, a dog would be directed to find and retrieve it. It was fascinating to watch the dogs, utterly in their element and yet completely controlled. A muntjac deer bolted from the undergrowth and although the dogs would have loved a chase, on command they stopped to let the deer race to freedom.

What a day. The relationship between the dogs and their owners is really something special. The walking in the fields and woods, nine hours in the fresh air and jolly good company, made for a memorable day. I hope David will allow me to accompany him next season.

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