High pheasants – 90 yard screamer from Crowman

[Music] Some of you, especially if you are a pigeon,
will only have seen Andy from the neck up – but today he is stepping out from the hide
for some exceptionally high flying pheasant shooting. He’s a guest here today as a thank you for
helping out with the cover crops which, as many of those watching in the UK will appreciate,
have been difficult to manage with the appalling wet weather we have had. Crow and his son
also beat here regularly, so he knows the guns and how well the birds fly. We see some nice birds here. They stop in
those trees and hide, well three quarters up the bank and a pheasant over the top of
those trees is going to be harder than most usual shoots. It is good birds here, serious
birds. On the first drive, shoot manager Mike tells
Andy where he wants him. When they start coming through here and Nigel
starts missing them, you can have a crack at some nice birds. OK. On most occasions he’ll be a back gun. Andy’s cousin Gary is also here today – not
to shoot, nor to load – but just to enjoy the scenery, the weather and the company.
Could pheasant shooting become a major spectator sport? Today that depends on how well Andy
shoots. The first drive doesn’t deliver much for Mr
Crow but the birds flying across this Surrey valley are wonderful to watch. When Andy does get into the shooting he’ll
be trying out some speciality pheasant cartridges from British ammunition manufacturer Hull
Cartridges. I am shooting some quite high birds today.
I have been sent High Pheasant Extreme. I have asked for them in size 5 shot. We are
only using fibre ….. here 32g, because they are serious birds here. Every one who knows
me knows which cartridge I use. These are totally different to what I am used to using
and I am going to see how they go and give them a good try. Drive two is a favourite of Andy’s and if
it goes well there should be some screamers. Tell me about the gun Andy. Gary brought this up, brought this up for
me to use. He has had it since he was 17. He bought it from Chris Potter Guns. It is
only Maruko, only Maruko, it is a lovely gun I shoot it well. I shoot it better than he
does, that’s why he lets me use it. It is just that me using my auto here wouldn’t really
go down very well I think. He’s certainly got his eye in for this one
and makes some cracking shots. Getting a feel for these cartridges now. Yes,I
am getting some quite nice shots here. Had a couple of silly misses, but it would be
boring if you got everything you shoot at wouldn’t it. Time for a snifter, for medicinal purposes
only. In case you are wondering, this man is not a midget, but a normal-sized bloke
with an enormous hip flask. The first two drives were just a warm-up for
this one. If it were a ride at a fairground it would be known as “the beast” or “the big
one”. The birds can be as much as 150 yards above you, well out of range for most shooters,
so it has got Andy’s blood pumping. Yes, I have seen them fly off this drive before,
some of the best birds I have ever seen. You have got to know your stuff to get these.
We will see how they come over today, but I was up there beating a few weeks back and
they take off from the top of the bank and we have got a wood behind us and they make
for where the pen is at the top of the wood and I have seen them come over here and come
over 100 to 150 yards up and they are unshootable really, unless you are George Digweed and
he is definitely in a different league. People like him can shoot at 100 yards, but I can’t.
I don’t claim to either. But let’s just see how it goes. There are a few partridge in here too but
it’s the pheasants that are supplying the sport – and here comes Andy’s bird of the
day. He later confesses that it’s one of the birds of his life. Unfortunately, cameraman
David’s new year yoga classes have come a bit late to bend with the shot, but he gets
on it for the re-entry. And the splashdown. There is nothing better than that. That is
what you come out for that, to shoot those big ones. To shoot something like that, that
has made my day that has, I’ll tell you. Very impressed, yes, yes. I would have liked
to have had a go. I don’t think I would have hit it though. It was high. After a shot like that you do just want to
put your gun away and go home so as not to spoil the moment. But then again with birds like this it’s worth
sticking around. I am not a big man on the pheasants anyway.
You have only got to have one shot like that and you can take that home and remember it
for a while. That’s way I work. That was some shot. Yes, like I say it is not the big bag
and things. It is picking the bird you want to shoot and that was one I wanted to shoot.
When I came here I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t shoot anything on here because
they do come off here seriously high. But no, I am having a good day. I didn’t start
off too good, but these cartridges are performing well. It shot that one nicely so yes. On the last drive before lunch Andy stands
behind the guns which are lined up along the bottom of the valley. Andy gets a few chances on birds that have
already ducked and weaved past a number of shots. Thankfully, this one is not his – it’s a foot
away from an insurance claim. It’s been another great drive and there is
plenty of praise for those who have shot well. How did you get on? I shot two. Did you? Yes, nice old cock bird…. Did you shoot the hen bird? Yes. The one that nearly hit the car? No, cock bird. Yes. Was it close? Yes, about that far away. About two foot away. I heard everyone shout. Thanks. Cheers. Lunchtime and a chance to talk over this morning’s
shooting. This group of guns have shot well today. They’ve had to. It wouldn’t be much
fun for a novice here. With the days being so short at this time of year, everyone decides
to save dessert for later. The last drive is another stormer. The valley is perfect for the experienced
gun. Andy used to be farm manager on this ground and grew up around here. He has known
some of the guys here since he was a boy. So before ground the rings out with shots,
let’s find out whether The Crow prefers a day on the pigeons or the pheasants. A good day pheasant shooting takes a lot of
beating, hell of a lot of beating. Nice day it has been a brilliant day. When the birds come, it’s fast and furious
– Andy picks the bird he wants way in front and stays on it – it’s a technique that’s
working well for him. It pays to pick out a bird and concentrate
on it. Don’t change your mind, stay on it. That is what I always do. Cause you have made
up your mind on that bird, so stick with it. That is what I always do. Cousin Gary has generously been offered a
shot on this last drive and Andy keeps him on his toes. We have been so lucky today, the weather has
been with us, which is a miracle, and we’ve been able to witness some great shooting by
Andy and the rest of the guns on ground that keeps everyone searching the heavens for their
next opportunity. [Music]

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