Dan Reynolds hopes that chinks of sunlight are starting to appear

by Daniel Reynolds

Since writing last, on 30th March, much water has passed under the gargantuan bridge that has proved to be the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the space of 7 weeks (the same time it takes to rear a pheasant chick to a released poult) we have undergone ‘lockdown’ and many people are subject to Furlough leave. This has meant strange times for us all and has given us plenty of time to reflect on the world in which we live. Time to appreciate our families, the usefulness of ‘Zoom’ & ‘Teams’ and the wide range of Flora & Fauna that is so special in the springtime.

But now we seem to be emerging into another stage and whilst not yet akin to a fully-fledged Mayfly, we are hopefully, starting to see hope and some semblance of new-normality on the horizon. Fortunately the shooting season is still a fair way off.

On the Estates, covert crops are being planted, birds are growing and keepers are preparing for their long hours and dedicated lifestyle. Most shoots have set their programmes of dates and their bird releases will be in kilter with the paid-up demand. It is more imperative than ever that if you have elected to support shoots this year, that your deposits are paid as it is now mid-May and huge thanks to those who have been particularly prompt.

We have tried to do our bit by supporting two worthy causes. Firstly, Game Aid a newly born charity raising money to ensure that health workers on the front-line have access to a good-quality packed lunch (including a game pie) delivered to their hospital to keep them well-fed and allowing them the freedom to not leave the building at lunchtime – please have a look at their just giving page and donate

We also continue to support the Country Food Trust, a wonderful organisation using top quality game meat to feed the homeless and those in poverty – this is more important than ever and we would encourage those who shoot to donate to this wonderful cause.

It is wonderful how mother nature is oblivious to the strife that homo sapiens is currently suffering and with less disturbance on moorland and the marvellous long spell of dry, warm weather, grouse have had a good time of it. So it may well be the year to dust off your tweeds a little earlier and head to the moors in August and September – call us for up to date availability.

And, if like most of us I suspect, you haven’t fired a shot since January you really should consider one of our simulated game days which we will run from late June until early October. The stunningly beautiful Hilldrop Farm twix Marlborough and Hungerford provides a life-like equivalent of any quarry you will encounter next winter.

And finally, look after yourself and as we emerge from the darkness into the light, look forward to making more wonderful memories in the fields and woods. We are always delighted to help make it happen.