EMMA FOOT | ANNUAL ROUGH SHOOT
A few days after Christmas we were invited to jacks auntie and uncles farm for their annual highly organised rough shoot. Complete with a sweepstake, which was based on number of birds plus number of shots times’ number of species.
I had a dance off with a deer and when I stopped it ran straight into me, I can tell you it hurt a lot, I managed to stay standing though. My friends all found it highly amusing, was rather embarrassing, especially as most of the guns saw too, but I did also see the funny side.
We’ve been invited out to a few of our friends rough shoots over the Christmas period, it’s a good day out and a good social, especially as things are quieter on everyone’s farm.
We had 3 shoots at jack’s farm (where we live), which was shared with a neighbouring farm, as Jack has some good woodland for shooting, and he drilled some game cover strips for our neighbours. On the 1st shoot they shot 26 pheasants, 2 partridge, one duck and one dove. On the 2nd shoot they had 24 pheasants, 2 partridge and one woodcock. We had a collie beating, a shih tzu (Bill) and a miniature dachshund, and obviously a few professional spaniels. On the 3rd and final shoot they had 20 pheasants, and two partridge. Our neighbour also has a few local pubs where they like to serve pheasant and partridge, so no birds are wasted. We normally get people to take on a brace of pheasants, but not everyone wants to, so nice they will all be used.
Below is a picture of Bill and I on the quad. I had an operation on my toe a week before this was taken so unfortunately I couldn’t do much walking. Bill enjoys seeing all the other dogs beating, he walks beside me most of the time, although he doesn’t like thick cover. He did chase a hare, although he had no chance of getting it, it took him a while for him to admit defeat, along with me shouting at him.
At another shoot that Jack and I held we made a whole day of it, so provided a light lunch and I went beating in the morning as don’t like to miss out on the fun! After lunch I prepared an evening meal for 25 people I put on a 4 joints of ham (British of course) in the slow cooker when I left the house at 8:45am, I normally try to cook the meat in the slow cooker as run out of oven space when cooking for so many people. For pudding which I prepared the evening before I did a Rolo cheesecake (its an amazing recipe and was the first pudding to go), brownies, chocolate roulade and apple crumble with custard- I used from the apples off our tree I picked, stewed and froze, I think I’m going to ask for a hostess trolley next Christmas to take the pressure off.
Below is a picture of the trailer at Jacks auntie and uncles farm, which we attended a few days after Christmas.
We are certainly are no experts when preparing the birds, but found it so time consuming plucking them, then tacking to get the breast out. So we searched on Youtube how to get the breast without plucking the bird, so we found a very useful video, it works very well but found if the birds heavily shot on its leg or wing it doesn’t work very well.
So we take the bird and spread the wings, and stand on the wing bone, grab its legs and gradually pull, not too hard but just enough that you can feel the skin coming away and you keep pulling but not too hard but just enough that you can feel the skin coming away and you should get the result below; a nice clean breast, I then twist or cut the wings off and left with a perfect breast.
Then we got the legs out by pulling the skin, bit like taking the birds trousers off I guess, to get the leg meat out, twist off the legs at the joints and cut the feet off with some secateurs. I normally put pheasant in a curry, or roast the breast in cider and put bacon on the top, which is one of my favourites.
I enjoy clay shooting but not actually shot myself on a game shoot only shot clays. My friend and I were hoping to do game shooting this year. My dad recently bought a new clay trap, which is battery operated, and got a remote to go with it too. We had an old one on the spring back attached to an old sleeper that probably wasn’t very safe. For my birthday next month ill be inviting some of my friends round to try out the new trap.
Thank you for taking the time to have a read,