Game keeping has always been a passion that runs deep in me since my first time being taken under the wing of a local game keeper who saw a bright spark in me as a boy. Ole Reg was an old school keeper when I met him and well in his late 60s and inspired me in the way he loved his birds and indeed all wildlife and his passion for conservation.
He truly was a countryman of the old school and taught me many lessons he was just like my Pappy (grandad) both men on very different sides of the fence but with a common interest. Both of these men went about things very much the same way but different at the same time, both Pappy and Reg inspired me to learn more respect for nature and how conservation walked hand in hand. It was both these old countrymen that gave me the passion to go and get formal training and qualifications in everything I do.
So I found myself at Bicton College in devon studying game keeping, wildlife and habitat managment, as well as doing another course training to be a deer manager with hunters hygiene. I also completed further training to gain all my certificates for Food Fit for Human Consumption with a company called Train 4 Game. I passed with flying colours and found a passion for not only learning but teaching too, I was presented with all my new qualifications by Sir David Bellamy who I got on with very well indeed and invited me up to his butterfly moors,
From this my passion for teaching grew and indeed I took on a batchelors degree in coaching specialising in course/sea and game fishing as well as a higher level in habitat management. Its my wish to teach as many kids and families the way of the countryman/game keeper/ deer stalker and gillie, that is why I further took on a child protection course and excelled in this too. I see the only way to protect the countryside and waters we love is by inspiring and educating properly the kids and families of the future.
I am also still very involved in the game keeping/fishing and pest control side of things as I not only run a brilliant shooting club the Woodspring Pigeon Shooting & Wildfowling Club ( www.woodspring-pigeon-shooting.co.uk ) but also have our own family run shoot that I am head keeper on. If I say so myself its a model of a shoot for a wild walked up rough shoot all my birds are in tip top condition and strong flyers.
We don't over shoot it and no longer do driven days concentrating more on working our dogs and taking a few brace for the table. I must say its a magnificent little shoot and for 250 acres it punches way above its weight with rolling hillsides mixed woodlands rivers, ponds, huge bracken and gorse banks with rough areas set aside for my birds. In fact we run it so well the conservation side is of huge importance with king fishers, water voles, rare newts and plants etc the shoot really is a haven for all wildlife.
Well as a keeper and seeing my birds fly well and the shoot run as smooth as silk, watching my own children and young men I have taught to shoot and work their gun dogs, really is a thing that fills my heart with joy.
Also my shoot is very special when the fall of Woodcock come in they come out like driven pheasant, that's one bird I love to hunt as I love them on the plate as much as any other wild game I love to eat. I am also a member of the Shooting Times Woodcock club and have been since 2001, actually I have quite a knack of shooting right and lefts of these awesome birds with my best being seven right and lefts in one season in front of witnesses too.
So as you can see the passion for game keeping and conservation and passing on this knowledge runs deep from inside of me to inspire the next generation, beyond using best practices and a love of the countryside fieldsports and conservation and how it all walks hand in hand.
As we say at both the Woodspring Shoot and the Woodspring Pigeon Shooting & Wildfowling Club our motto is FINDING THE BALANCE.