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Game Shooting - The Elusive Woodcock Right & Left


I recently had the pleasure of shooting at The Plumstead Shoot just east of Norwich. The opportunity arose through a shooting friend...

I recently had the pleasure of shooting at The Plumstead Shoot just east of Norwich. The opportunity arose through a shooting friend and the price, which I won’t mention as I think my fellow game shooters from other Counties around the UK simply would not believe that you can buy driven shooting for around £20 per bird – Damn, I said it! So at that price I could not say no.

The weather on 2nd January was every bit as strange as it’s been almost every day in recent months. The sky was blue, the sun was a great ball hanging low in the sky and the wind was not blowing for once. All in all, just the kind of weather you don’t want for game shooting. However, the organisation was great, the company was fantastic and the birds were plentiful, even if you had to look hard for the high ones.

Much of the shooting was done through squinted eyes and often the birds were not visible in the bright sunshine until they had passed the peg and were directly over head or even passing the pegs with most of the shot birds landing behind the line of guns.

The Plumstead Shoot is clearly a wonderful partridge shoot and large numbers of red legs were flushes from game cover on every drive, so much so that had the sun not been so bright and the wind been a little more co-operative the 150 bag would have been achieved by lunch time. Good numbers of pheasant and woodcock also featured in the bag. I had been fortunate enough to shoot two right & lefts in quick succession on red leg partridge and an earlier one on pheasant. The thought ran through my mind that perhaps today would be the day when I could achieve my ambition of shooting a double on woodcock. Alas, this was not to be as although almost every drive produced one or two woodcock, none of them came my way.

Imagine then my mixed emotions when at the end of one of the afternoon drives, one of my shooting friends appeared with a woodcock in each hand and a smile that said it all. My good shooting friend Steve Casey from Cambridgeshire had achieved my ambition of shooting the elusive woodcock double and several other guns, including his 14-year-old son Peter, witnessed this.

Well done Steve, no hard feelings - much !

"Well done Steve, no hard feelings - much !"

Steve had in fact shot a woodcock double some seasons ago but the second bird fell into water and was never seen again. This time both birds fell on dry land and were immediately picked and photographed with a very proud Steve and two very envious shooting friends horsing around in the background, one of them being me.

Steve decided immediately that the brace would be stuffed and mounted and put on show at home (I refer to the woodcock, not his shooting friends) and will no doubt take pride of place on his sideboard, I’m guessing much to the annoyance of his wife.

Steve Casey will now apply for membership of the Shooting Times Woodcock Club and will undoubtedly attend their Annual Dinner on Friday 21 March at the Orangery at Blenheim Palace, Oxon. This just happens to be the thirtieth anniversary of the Woodcock Club. 30 years, about the same period of time that I've been trying to shoot the double.


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