It is now 20 days since the season finished and amazingly next season will be my 22nd year as a Sporting Agent at The Royal Berkshire Shooting School which is hard to believe as those years have flown past! For myself, Ben and Leo in the Agency our annual game of chess has started with the re-booking of our clients’ shoot dates for next season. This is never as easy as it sounds because when we are dealing with three difference diaries, i.e. clients, Estates and our own, it can get somewhat complicated. However, it never ceases to amaze me how it all eventually falls into place.
Although a very busy time and different to the life in the field I have had for the last 6 months, it is a great time of year to catch up with our clients and Estates and hear all their stories about the season including their most memorable moments and perhaps some of their least. One thing that did interest our clients this season was the ability for them to shoot with a Purdey shotgun, as Ben and I had a Purdey demo gun with us throughout the season which was very well received.
The most frequent question I get asked as soon as the season finishes is “So will you be going on a long holiday now?” If only this was possible! The next few weeks will be our busiest period for bookings, with Estates keen to receive commitment from teams of guns in order that they can plan their shoot calendar according to sales. Most Estates will have already put a provisional order in for their chicks/poults and will increase or decrease this depending on the sales so it is crucial that they have this indication of commitment so early. In general, Estates only ever return between 25% and 45% depending on location, species and habitat so the amount of birds bought in or reared will generally be based with this percentage return in mind. Goodness only knows where the remainder of the percentage goes - if only we had some true statistics for this figure! (And if anybody does, I would love to see them!)
Early indications show that grouse shooting is in short supply, with teams that were cancelled last season snapping up as much as they can with the worry that the same may happen next year and the Moors perhaps being reluctant to oversell after last year’s grouse season that was a disappointment for most. We do, however, have the odd grouse day still to sell so if you are in the market for some grouse shooting, do please give Ben or myself a call on 01491 672918.
In addition to shooting in the UK, we also offer some amazing opportunities for bird shooting trips to Africa; dove shooting trips to Argentina and driven partridge trips to Spain. Given that the season in some areas runs until the end of March and in Mallorca as late as the end of April, there is still chance to book something in for this year.
So, if you are looking for that very special day, this is a good time to give us a call for either the UK or abroad. There will undoubtedly be shooting availability throughout the year but if you are looking for that specific date and specific Estate, you need to make the call now. Ben and I look forward to hearing from you.