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End of 2018/19 season report

With the 2018/19 UK season at an end, we look forward to next season with much anticipation. On the whole, shooting as a sport seems in good health. All aspects of the sport have enjoyed increased interest over the last year, from first-time shots to overseas teams travelling to enjoy this unique British pastime.

None of this would be possible without the beaters, picker uppers and keepers – the invaluable members of our industry who come out rain or shine to provide us with the very best sport and we owe them all a big thank you.

Grouse

We were extremely lucky to be one of the few agents with teams out on the first day of the grouse season. The majority of our lettings took place in and around the North Yorkshire moors, which on the whole faired reasonably well compared to the rest of the country, being less affected by the extreme weather conditions.

We have been spoilt in previous years, with many moors consistently producing surplus stock that some have taken for granted – we have forgotten about the healthy peaks and troughs in stock numbers that were all part of a driven grouse moor – modern game keeping and management is of such a high standard, that it took two extreme weather periods in 2018 to cause such a decline.

There were wide spread cancellations in all areas and many of local services suffered terribly from a lack of footfall at such an important time – proof that the industry provides income for whole communities and not just owners.

We have already begun to book days for 2019 – estates will understandably be more cautious, and this will be a year of re-building, with plenty of lessons to be learnt from 2018. If you are lucky enough to experience grouse shooting this year, you cannot help but appreciate the incredible effort by so many to enable us to enjoy it.

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Pheasant and Partridge

After a reasonably successful rearing season, the hot dry spell throughout the summer had a big impact on the establishment of the game cover that plays such a vital role in driving game, with many shoots being completely reliant on crop covers to operate.

The season overall has also still been very mild, plenty of wet days but still not enough cold periods to help shoots get through the last quarter of the season – especially single-handed operations.

The game cover issue continued into late January with many shoots having stock to shoot but struggling to get birds to present themselves. Despite this, the cold period over Christmas and early January did result in some red-letter days shooting for many across the country.

The demand again for quality driven days is as good as it’s ever been, so early booking is essential. We have a well-established portfolio and are well placed to offer advice on booking shooting for next season.

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Roving Guns

The Bugatti Roving Syndicate enjoyed over 50 days across 30 of the UK’s premier shooting estates, providing our members with its most successful season to date. Despite cancellations, the syndicate managed a few rare days grouse shooting on the Glorious North York Moors.

Later we enjoyed a busy pheasant and partridge shooting calendar, providing brilliant opportunities and testing shooting for all involved. Single guns covered the length of the country by experiencing the challenges of back to back days in Devon, travelling up to some of the Cotswolds finest estates, before taking on the very best that North Yorkshire has to offer.

Next year, we will return to many of the top estates whilst adding in a few new names for our clients to enjoy – the NEW schedule will be released within the coming weeks.

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Spain

Our clients have enjoyed a very successful season with our Spanish Partners, several of whom we have now been dealing with for 20 years.

Many teams opt to shoot late in the season as an extension to the UK season, but the shooting is fantastic throughout, so do not discount travelling in October or November for some Autumn Sun and sport.

The accommodation and cuisine is as impressive as the shooting, and a trip should be on every discerning guns’ bucket list.

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British Game Alliance & Country Food Trust

The establishment of the British Game Alliance (BGA) has been an incredibly positive development. The BGA affords shoots of all sizes; game dealers and the general public a stamp of assurance that their game has been produced to the highest standard. As a result of all your donations, Ian Coley Sporting and our sister company Roxtons raised a staggering £43,000 in aid of the BGA.

Along with the British Game Alliance, we also continue to support the Country Food Trust,  which continues in its mission to use surplus game to feed people who are struggling to afford food for themselves and their families.

We also enjoyed taking part in the Glorious Grouse Run with the Lucky Onion Group and the Wheatsheaf Pub in Northleach. Grouse shot on the morning of Monday 13th August were whisked back down to Gloucestershire, before being prepared for a full house that evening. This is a great example of how the wider community can enjoy fresh, healthy and seasonal game, produced in Britain.

Most shoots are now serving game for elevenses and lunch which is great to see and long overdue, with rich game casseroles or pheasant goujons often appearing on the menu. The release of publications such as Talking Game inspires readers to view game as a more day-to-day ingredient instead of just Sunday lunch!

As demand for shooting continues, inevitably so will the amount of shot game entering the food chain which we all have a responsibility to consume, promote and enjoy. With shooting in the spotlight, the promotion of game as a sustainable source of food, with associated conservational and economical benefits is of great importance to the future of our sport.

Simulated Game

Despite the season being over, we now begin our Simulated Game Season. We have a range of days for full teams and roving guns at a number of locations – please get in touch for further information.

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During the off season we also recommend having your gun serviced and regular fittings mean you will get so much more from your special days out. For information or advice on buying a new gun please visit our award-winning Gun Room and Shooting School outside Cheltenham or enjoy one of our Open Days where a range of brands will be available to try and buy.

For more information about game shooting with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us today – either on 01242 870391 option 3 or via e-mail: info@iancoley.co.uk

Best wishes,
Ed, Ian, Jack, Tara & Adam



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