February on the shoot

The season is well and truly over now, there’s no denying it, there’s no more posting reminiscent photos, it’s done. Just because the shooting is over though, it doesn’t mean the work is. Operation clear up is nearly ticked off and this week has been time for the catching.

Ah the joyous task of catching… cage type structures are set up around the shoot where the pheasants are, the birds can get in under the wire but can’t get out, that is until the keeper clambers in, gathers them up and pops them in a crate ready to be transferred into a large pen where they all accumulate.

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Spot the half hen half cock bird!
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Don’t worry guys, it’s not for long!
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Despite being freed every time, this duck KEEPS coming back to be caught!
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Running as far away from me as possible it seems…

All keepers do things differently, it’s one of the great things about shoots, hearing everyone’s approaches and ways of tackling tasks.Even the name of kit can differ between keepers. Estates will all have varying amounts of birds left over from the season too, I heard one tale of a place where over 100% of the birds put down get shot because so many wonder over from neighboring shoots!

We’ve got a fair few caught and ready to be collected tomorrow. It’s been a week long process altogether and involves regular checks, especially that final one of the day as the light is barely touching the ground anymore and the dusky haze sets in, you don’t want to be leaving birds in the cages overnight in case a fox gets in, as we found this morning with a few partridge, or rather remains of, this also means that cage won’t be catching any birds now.

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We did hit a few snags along the way this week…

The white pheasant that I was pleased to see survive the season is still about, roaming freely with pride (I’m pretty sure birds can’t be proud, but if they could it would look like this one!). I tried to get a picture, but it’s as easy to photograph the sly creature as it is to catch it – not at all!

Elsewhere the feeders are all being cleaned up, stacked and stored The main jobs are coming to an end just as February does too, focus is now shifting to preparing for the rearing season which can only mean one thing: spring really is only around the corner!

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