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The Gazette
Red-Legged Partridge • Clays and Quail Shooting School

 Nothing guarantees a miss more than taking one’s eyes off the bird before the shot is completed – usually “fluffing” the shot. The experienced Gun keeps his muzzles on line, with his eyes out to the closing covey. Leading with the left hand and coordinating a simple step with the left leg into the line of flight, the muzzles mimic the speed and flight line throughout the mount. The shot is taken as the mount is completed and the stock hits the shoulder.
      If the mount is good and the gun fit accurate, the barrels will point where you are looking, as you push out in front of the bird and pull the trigger. Be sure to see the bird fall. If it is wounded, do not hesitate to give it the second barrel. That is what it is there for - to see off the crippled quarry. Only after you witness the crumple and fall of the first bird, should you look for a second bird. Once again, align the muzzles and your eye with the bird before repeating “the step”, reaching to it with arm and leg in unison.
     With regard to this “stepping into the line”, it should not be a stride forward, but rather a small step. Try to imagine you are standing within the circumference of a trash can lid and must keep within its perimeters. Heels no more than 6 or 7 inches apart and weight firmly on the front foot, be confident - lock onto your bird well out in front, make a smooth move to it and through it, coordinating eye, hand and feet to bring the bird down with a clean kill. The Stanbury technique of maintaining the weight firmly on the front foot always works well on the Classic Presentations.

     I have a different technique for those “High Flyers” launched from hills and steep banks. With these High Birds, what works on the low, fast-driven “Hedgehoppers” will not cut the mustard. You need to shoot them more in the manner of High Pheasant.
     This technique still requires the ascertainment of speed and line of flight, with eye and muzzle combining with gun mount and footwork to keep a square, level swing throughout the shot.
    Where the technique on High Driven Partridge differs from the Stanbury technique used in the low, driven approach, is in the weight distribution between the feet. With the Tall Partridge, I favour the Churchill Method, and transfer the weight to the back foot during the shot. This allows the gun to be kept on line much more accurately and also allows better control of the gun, a necessity with any bird above 35 yards.

Group photo

     Flying partridgeDetermining the line of flight and being able to maintain the muzzles on it, is much more important with High Partridge than any considerations of lead. The optimum place to take the shot is when the bird is at about 80 degrees, just before the perpendicular. If you are not on line, you will miss. Consistently holding the line will get you hitting the long shots more regularly.
     Early season Partridge shooting is a real pleasure - the last of the summer weather and longer evenings leave time for more drives, without the constraints and pressure placed on the Gun by the later season’s shortening daylight. The great thing about shooting Partridge in Spain is, not only is their season longer, but the weather warmer and the daylight also longer. These seasonal advantages, combined with the hospitable people, the wonderful food and the great wine, make Spain just about perfect for Partridge. I hope that you will join me one season to sample what is, without a doubt, some of the very best wing shooting in the world.
     With regard to the choice of gun, choke and cartridges, I prefer a 20 bore, but any gauge is acceptable. If it is your intention to shoot a large bag, you will need a pair of guns. If a moderate bag or a small day is your preference, a single gun is fine. As to choke, I like modified in both barrels. I would use a 1 ounce load if shooting an Over and Under, and 7/8 ounce if shooting a Side by Side.

Clays and Quail Wing Shooting Schools for the Upland Hunter

      This October begins our series of One Day Clays and Quail Wing Shooting Schools, designed especially for The Upland Hunter.

Bagged quail

     We start the day with a classroom session, then test your skills on The Sporting Clays course. After lunch, it’s a traditional Georgia Quail Hunt in the beautiful natural woodlands of The Lowcountry.
     Skilled guides, exceptional hunting dogs and fast, hard-flying bobwhite quail make a sporting challenge for even the best shot!
    The Dorchester Shooting Preserve’s 4000 acres of private hunting grounds are located 25 minutes south of Savannah, Georgia. Non-shooting companions can tour the Historic District during the day, then join you after the school for a gourmet dinner at any one of Savannah’s well-known restaurants.


One Day Clays And Quail
Wing Shooting Schools
January 6 • February 17

     The schools are limited to 4 students and the cost of $750.00 includes all instruction, videotaping, clays, on-site transportation, guides, hunting dogs and 8 quail.

Chris and student

Dogs and hunters

Additional quail are $10.00 each. Prepared quail may be taken home at no extra charge. Ammunition is not included, but may be purchased on-site at the members’ cost.

Gunfittings and Hourly Lessons
January 7 & 8 • February 18 & 19

A gunfitting takes about 2 hours and the cost is $350.00. 4 slots are available per day. Hourly lessons are $160.00 per hour for one person, $235.00 per hour for two people.

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