NEWSLETTER No 1: 2017-2018

  • By Frank Boddy
  • 11 May, 2017

March 2017

It has certainly not been a quiet start to our out of season.  Demand for days has been excellent with just short of 70% of our days taken up and I thank everyone who has already booked shooting in the new season.

 I am often asked what do I enjoy about running a shoot.  It certainly does have its challenges but these are soon forgotten once in the company of like-minded people from all walks of life and the real characters driven game shooting seems to attract!  One thing I really enjoy is to plan a new drive and to see it work, it may take a few times but we normally get there!  I have quite a number of new drives planned for our next season.

 There is no doubt that driven game shooting is increasing in popularity and am delighted to see more Ladies and young people are taking up our sport.

 So what is different about our Shoot.  Although we welcome full teams, we particularly cater for single guns and small parties.  I encourage novice guns to join us providing they have had some clay shooting experience and have an experienced shot or one of our loader/instructors standing with them.  I would be disappointed if an individual gun joining us for the first time did not feel at home within a few minutes of arrival.

 Planning the days is a challenge in itself as everyone seems to have quite different priorities.  I plan each shoot day just how I would expect it to be if I were in the line of guns.  The following is how I would hope our shoot days will be but as always anything can happen.

 For the shoot to be hosted in a relaxed no rush manner with refreshments throughout the day.

To shoot with a convivial team of like-minded people.

Once on your peg not to have to wait ages for the birds to show.  A mix of pheasant and partridge achieves this.

To be presented with challenging birds but not impossible, spread over the whole line of guns on each drive.

To have fellow guns who are selective and respect their neighbour’s birds.

To be able to work my dogs at the end of a drive without the birds already being vacuumed up by the pickers up.

To experience a full days shooting with four or five drives and achieving an excess over the target bag without being charged an overage.

To have a tasty lunch with decent wine not cheap plonk!

There are many other aspects of a shoot day but if we can achieve these I am sure everyone will go away happy.

I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect.  However we must never forget we are always faced with our unpredictable weather and wild creatures.  So some days will certainly be better than others.

List of Available Days

It may seem a long time to our new season, however as many of you are already planning your shooting I am pleased to give an update of available days.

 Most of the Hardcastle and Heathfield grouse and Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side days have been taken.  However there are still a very good variety of days at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret.

 I have kept all the prices the same as last season except the cost of our early days up to 7th October at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret have been reduced and are excellent value.

 The availability changes every day and Lynda has been so busy typing confirmations and invoices she has not yet been able to detail each day on our website!  So please contact Lynda on 01423 323321 or by e-mail  info@ripleycastleshoot.co.uk  for an update of available days.

 There are quite a number of days on the enclosed list which were not included in previous lists so I do hope there will be something workable for you.

  Exclusive Days for full Teams

There are still days where no guns have been taken.  These are available and are ideal as Exclusive Days for full teams, Roving Syndicates or for entertaining friends and clients.  The costs are the same as our other days just choose a date and the bag can be tailored to suit you.

 Given the present demand for days I suggest you consider these quite soon.

  Exclusive Membership

It is inevitable that by the way I run the Shoot selling mainly to individual guns, by the gun per day, that once the season starts there will be some unsold pegs.  A day will be run providing a minimum of six pegs have been sold but the target bag may be revised in line with the number of guns.  I am often asked if there are any odd pegs available at a reduced cost.  For me discounted days begin with those of you who have already booked days.  So I established our Exclusive Membership as a way of thanking and rewarding individual guns for their support.  Purchasing shoot days to a value of £2,500.00 or more before VAT qualifies for Exclusive Membership.  This applies to individual guns or where a team have booked, paid individually and collectively achieve £2,500.00 or more before VAT, then all members of the team are eligible for Exclusive Membership.

 Exclusive Members are offered by e-mail, at reasonably short notice, a selection of dates where there are unsold pegs.  You will receive a list of dates with attractive discounts offered on the original fee.  You may purchase as many of the discounted pegs are you wish for yourself and to bring one or more guests on any of the days  not just the days you have already booked.  You must of course be present on the day when you bring a guest at discounted rates.

 Depending on the take up of days which remains very good at present, I would hope to send out a number of offers during the season.  However to be eligible to take advantage of these you need to have previously purchased days to the value for £2,500 plus VAT.   If at present you have purchased days below the value you can always add more to make up the amount required.

 Exclusive Members will receive a plastic card during May which will entitle them to receive attractive discounts on clothing and accessories at selected retail stores.

  Charity fund

As in the past everyone has been extremely generous in supporting our daily sweep, fines, guest lunches and sale of mounted birds in aid of our Charity fund.

 We experienced a further exceptional season and we have raised our highest amount ever with an impressive £20,424.  The fund has been distributed as follows:

 Collected on a shoot day and given to the team host to send direct to their chosen Charity:

 

St Michaels Hospice                                                                                                                             £300.00

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust                                                                                        £550.00

Teenage Cancer                                                                                                                                        £45.00

PPR Foundation Brain Tumour Research                                                                                £1,505.00

Douglas McMillan Hospice                                                                                                                 £300.00

                                                                                                                                                                   -------------

                                                                                                                                   Total                      £2,700.00

                                                                                                                                                                   -------------

 

Donated during the year

Tanfield Grouse Charity Clay Day                                                                                                    £500.00

Princes Trust: Richard Jackson’s Charity Bonfire                                                                     £540.00

                                                                                                                                                                    -------------

                                                                                                                                     Total                     £1,040.00

                                                                                                                                                                   --------------

 

Other funds collected and distributed as follows:

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.  North Yorkshire Branch                                   £8,000.00

Gamekeepers Welfare Trust                                                                                                            £1,500.00

Songbird Survival Trust                                                                                                                        £500.00

*Moorland Association                                                                                                                      £2,500.00

*Countryside Alliance                                                                                                                         £2,000.00

PPR Foundation: Pam Roberts aims to raise £1M for brain Tumour Research           £1,000.00

                                                                                                                                                                    --------------

                                                                                                                                     Total                    £15,500.00

                                                                                                                                                                   ---------------

 

Plus funds held in hand for other opportunities during the year                                     £1,184.00

 

                                                                                                                                                                     --------------

                                                                                                                                  Grand Total          £20,424.00

                                                                                                                                                                    ---------------

 

*I have included The Moorland Association and The Countryside Alliance in this season’s donations  in appreciation for the magnificent work they did in fighting the petition against grouse shooting in Parliament, which although produced and excellent result also proved very expensive for both parties.

 I am always looking for new worthwhile causes allied to our sport so please advise me if you know of any.

 Thank you again for all your support.

  Shoot Dinner: Saturday 10th February 2018

Unfortunately due to a large number of staff and guests being unavailable on the date of our 2017 dinner, I very reluctantly found it necessary to cancel the dinner.

 So in 2018 I do hope you will be free to join us at Ripley Castle on Saturday 10th February.  Please make a note of the date for a really fun evening.

  Instructors and Loaders

I doubt you would take up playing golf or possibly any sport without instruction from a professional.  So I cannot see any difference between other sports and shotgun shooting.

 Over the years I have convinced many of my friends that having someone to look after them on the day can be a real advantage and improve their performance.  It also gives them plenty of time to work their dog at the end of a drive when they don’t need to worry about their gun or clearing up their spent cartridges.

 For anyone new to and with limited driven game shooting experience it is essential.  On the grouse Moor not many guns now shoot without a loader, even when shooting single guns.  Having two pairs of eyes spotting on the Moor, I feel really improves your day.  After over 50 years of driven game shooting I now never shoot without a loader.

 Having a loader to stuff cartridges is very useful, however having one of our loader/instructors to show you where you are possibly going wrong, really does improve your day.  My encouraging guns to have someone with them has given me a problem as our instructor/loaders are now in great demand, not only on our Shoot but by guns taking them elsewhere.  So for this reason if you wish to have someone to look after you could you please let me know as soon as possible.  The cost remains as previous seasons £90 for the instructor/loader for the day paid direct to them.

  Shotgun Hire

The law states that anyone may use a shotgun without a UK Shotgun Certificate or Visitors Permit provided it is in the presence of the owner who has the serial number of the shotgun used registered on his Shotgun Certificate or Visitors Permit and the required insurance cover is in place.  Shotguns are available for hire, provided notice is given, from our instructor/loaders at £50 per day.  Knowledge of height and if he or she is left or right handed would help in selecting the most ideal shotgun available.

  Four Wheel Drive Vehicle Courtesy Vehicles

As more and more guns are travelling some distance to shoot with us, we now have available on all three Shoots a long wheel base Land Rover Station Wagon with a driver which will seat up to five people comfortably.  If required we can provide transport for a full team (3 vehicles) providing the vehicles are not being used on our other Shoots.  Each vehicle is available at no cost to the guns or their guests, however prior booking is recommended to ensure space is available.  Your dog will travel in the Keepers vehicles. The demand for this service is growing so I suggest you give as much notice as possible.

  Hotels

As Harrogate continues to attract more and more conferences and exhibitions each year.  I found that quite often The Boar’s Head was fully booked on many dates last season.

 The Boar’s Head offers excellent value and there are special rates for shoot members.  I therefore suggest you book your accommodation as soon as ever possible.

 Boar’s Head Hotel, Ripley Castle Estate, Nr Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 3AY

Tel: 01423 771888                reservations@boarsheadripley.co.uk                     www.boarsheadripley.co.uk

 A comprehensive list of our local hotels is detailed on our website  www.ripleycasleshoot.com

  The Game Fair 2017: Hatfield House 28th to 30th July

This year The Game Fair is being held at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.  After the problems surrounding the demise of the CLA Game Fair the new owners put on an excellent show last year at Radley.

 I am advised that the management have listened to what we want and expect from The Game Fair and are planning something quite special.  Please visit their website  www.gamefair.org

Ripley Castle Shoot News

By Frank Boddy 11 May, 2017

It has certainly not been a quiet start to our out of season.  Demand for days has been excellent with just short of 70% of our days taken up and I thank everyone who has already booked shooting in the new season.

 I am often asked what do I enjoy about running a shoot.  It certainly does have its challenges but these are soon forgotten once in the company of like-minded people from all walks of life and the real characters driven game shooting seems to attract!  One thing I really enjoy is to plan a new drive and to see it work, it may take a few times but we normally get there!  I have quite a number of new drives planned for our next season.

 There is no doubt that driven game shooting is increasing in popularity and am delighted to see more Ladies and young people are taking up our sport.

 So what is different about our Shoot.  Although we welcome full teams, we particularly cater for single guns and small parties.  I encourage novice guns to join us providing they have had some clay shooting experience and have an experienced shot or one of our loader/instructors standing with them.  I would be disappointed if an individual gun joining us for the first time did not feel at home within a few minutes of arrival.

 Planning the days is a challenge in itself as everyone seems to have quite different priorities.  I plan each shoot day just how I would expect it to be if I were in the line of guns.  The following is how I would hope our shoot days will be but as always anything can happen.

 For the shoot to be hosted in a relaxed no rush manner with refreshments throughout the day.

To shoot with a convivial team of like-minded people.

Once on your peg not to have to wait ages for the birds to show.  A mix of pheasant and partridge achieves this.

To be presented with challenging birds but not impossible, spread over the whole line of guns on each drive.

To have fellow guns who are selective and respect their neighbour’s birds.

To be able to work my dogs at the end of a drive without the birds already being vacuumed up by the pickers up.

To experience a full days shooting with four or five drives and achieving an excess over the target bag without being charged an overage.

To have a tasty lunch with decent wine not cheap plonk!

There are many other aspects of a shoot day but if we can achieve these I am sure everyone will go away happy.

I hope this gives you an idea of what to expect.  However we must never forget we are always faced with our unpredictable weather and wild creatures.  So some days will certainly be better than others.

List of Available Days

It may seem a long time to our new season, however as many of you are already planning your shooting I am pleased to give an update of available days.

 Most of the Hardcastle and Heathfield grouse and Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side days have been taken.  However there are still a very good variety of days at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret.

 I have kept all the prices the same as last season except the cost of our early days up to 7th October at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret have been reduced and are excellent value.

 The availability changes every day and Lynda has been so busy typing confirmations and invoices she has not yet been able to detail each day on our website!  So please contact Lynda on 01423 323321 or by e-mail  info@ripleycastleshoot.co.uk  for an update of available days.

 There are quite a number of days on the enclosed list which were not included in previous lists so I do hope there will be something workable for you.

  Exclusive Days for full Teams

There are still days where no guns have been taken.  These are available and are ideal as Exclusive Days for full teams, Roving Syndicates or for entertaining friends and clients.  The costs are the same as our other days just choose a date and the bag can be tailored to suit you.

 Given the present demand for days I suggest you consider these quite soon.

  Exclusive Membership

It is inevitable that by the way I run the Shoot selling mainly to individual guns, by the gun per day, that once the season starts there will be some unsold pegs.  A day will be run providing a minimum of six pegs have been sold but the target bag may be revised in line with the number of guns.  I am often asked if there are any odd pegs available at a reduced cost.  For me discounted days begin with those of you who have already booked days.  So I established our Exclusive Membership as a way of thanking and rewarding individual guns for their support.  Purchasing shoot days to a value of £2,500.00 or more before VAT qualifies for Exclusive Membership.  This applies to individual guns or where a team have booked, paid individually and collectively achieve £2,500.00 or more before VAT, then all members of the team are eligible for Exclusive Membership.

 Exclusive Members are offered by e-mail, at reasonably short notice, a selection of dates where there are unsold pegs.  You will receive a list of dates with attractive discounts offered on the original fee.  You may purchase as many of the discounted pegs are you wish for yourself and to bring one or more guests on any of the days  not just the days you have already booked.  You must of course be present on the day when you bring a guest at discounted rates.

 Depending on the take up of days which remains very good at present, I would hope to send out a number of offers during the season.  However to be eligible to take advantage of these you need to have previously purchased days to the value for £2,500 plus VAT.   If at present you have purchased days below the value you can always add more to make up the amount required.

 Exclusive Members will receive a plastic card during May which will entitle them to receive attractive discounts on clothing and accessories at selected retail stores.

  Charity fund

As in the past everyone has been extremely generous in supporting our daily sweep, fines, guest lunches and sale of mounted birds in aid of our Charity fund.

 We experienced a further exceptional season and we have raised our highest amount ever with an impressive £20,424.  The fund has been distributed as follows:

 Collected on a shoot day and given to the team host to send direct to their chosen Charity:

 

St Michaels Hospice                                                                                                                             £300.00

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust                                                                                        £550.00

Teenage Cancer                                                                                                                                        £45.00

PPR Foundation Brain Tumour Research                                                                                £1,505.00

Douglas McMillan Hospice                                                                                                                 £300.00

                                                                                                                                                                   -------------

                                                                                                                                   Total                      £2,700.00

                                                                                                                                                                   -------------

 

Donated during the year

Tanfield Grouse Charity Clay Day                                                                                                    £500.00

Princes Trust: Richard Jackson’s Charity Bonfire                                                                     £540.00

                                                                                                                                                                    -------------

                                                                                                                                     Total                     £1,040.00

                                                                                                                                                                   --------------

 

Other funds collected and distributed as follows:

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.  North Yorkshire Branch                                   £8,000.00

Gamekeepers Welfare Trust                                                                                                            £1,500.00

Songbird Survival Trust                                                                                                                        £500.00

*Moorland Association                                                                                                                      £2,500.00

*Countryside Alliance                                                                                                                         £2,000.00

PPR Foundation: Pam Roberts aims to raise £1M for brain Tumour Research           £1,000.00

                                                                                                                                                                    --------------

                                                                                                                                     Total                    £15,500.00

                                                                                                                                                                   ---------------

 

Plus funds held in hand for other opportunities during the year                                     £1,184.00

 

                                                                                                                                                                     --------------

                                                                                                                                  Grand Total          £20,424.00

                                                                                                                                                                    ---------------

 

*I have included The Moorland Association and The Countryside Alliance in this season’s donations  in appreciation for the magnificent work they did in fighting the petition against grouse shooting in Parliament, which although produced and excellent result also proved very expensive for both parties.

 I am always looking for new worthwhile causes allied to our sport so please advise me if you know of any.

 Thank you again for all your support.

  Shoot Dinner: Saturday 10th February 2018

Unfortunately due to a large number of staff and guests being unavailable on the date of our 2017 dinner, I very reluctantly found it necessary to cancel the dinner.

 So in 2018 I do hope you will be free to join us at Ripley Castle on Saturday 10th February.  Please make a note of the date for a really fun evening.

  Instructors and Loaders

I doubt you would take up playing golf or possibly any sport without instruction from a professional.  So I cannot see any difference between other sports and shotgun shooting.

 Over the years I have convinced many of my friends that having someone to look after them on the day can be a real advantage and improve their performance.  It also gives them plenty of time to work their dog at the end of a drive when they don’t need to worry about their gun or clearing up their spent cartridges.

 For anyone new to and with limited driven game shooting experience it is essential.  On the grouse Moor not many guns now shoot without a loader, even when shooting single guns.  Having two pairs of eyes spotting on the Moor, I feel really improves your day.  After over 50 years of driven game shooting I now never shoot without a loader.

 Having a loader to stuff cartridges is very useful, however having one of our loader/instructors to show you where you are possibly going wrong, really does improve your day.  My encouraging guns to have someone with them has given me a problem as our instructor/loaders are now in great demand, not only on our Shoot but by guns taking them elsewhere.  So for this reason if you wish to have someone to look after you could you please let me know as soon as possible.  The cost remains as previous seasons £90 for the instructor/loader for the day paid direct to them.

  Shotgun Hire

The law states that anyone may use a shotgun without a UK Shotgun Certificate or Visitors Permit provided it is in the presence of the owner who has the serial number of the shotgun used registered on his Shotgun Certificate or Visitors Permit and the required insurance cover is in place.  Shotguns are available for hire, provided notice is given, from our instructor/loaders at £50 per day.  Knowledge of height and if he or she is left or right handed would help in selecting the most ideal shotgun available.

  Four Wheel Drive Vehicle Courtesy Vehicles

As more and more guns are travelling some distance to shoot with us, we now have available on all three Shoots a long wheel base Land Rover Station Wagon with a driver which will seat up to five people comfortably.  If required we can provide transport for a full team (3 vehicles) providing the vehicles are not being used on our other Shoots.  Each vehicle is available at no cost to the guns or their guests, however prior booking is recommended to ensure space is available.  Your dog will travel in the Keepers vehicles. The demand for this service is growing so I suggest you give as much notice as possible.

  Hotels

As Harrogate continues to attract more and more conferences and exhibitions each year.  I found that quite often The Boar’s Head was fully booked on many dates last season.

 The Boar’s Head offers excellent value and there are special rates for shoot members.  I therefore suggest you book your accommodation as soon as ever possible.

 Boar’s Head Hotel, Ripley Castle Estate, Nr Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG3 3AY

Tel: 01423 771888                reservations@boarsheadripley.co.uk                     www.boarsheadripley.co.uk

 A comprehensive list of our local hotels is detailed on our website  www.ripleycasleshoot.com

  The Game Fair 2017: Hatfield House 28th to 30th July

This year The Game Fair is being held at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.  After the problems surrounding the demise of the CLA Game Fair the new owners put on an excellent show last year at Radley.

 I am advised that the management have listened to what we want and expect from The Game Fair and are planning something quite special.  Please visit their website  www.gamefair.org

By Frank Boddy 10 May, 2017

As always our out of season period is busier than ever and we have much to look forward to 

THE GAME FAIR 2017

Friday 28th to Sunday 30th July 2017: Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 5HX

I am delighted to advise that the Shoot has taken a stand on Gunmakers Row, so you now have somewhere to meet friends for a drink and leave coats and shopping. I also hope it will give us the opportunity to attract a few new Members.

 Ruth and Debbie will be looking after you with tea, coffee and the odd glass of Pimm’s and Champagne. If you would like to help on the stand for a few hours on any day please let me know and I will have a name badge produced for you. I have not yet been advised of the stand number but this should be available for my next Newsletter

 Please call in with your friends.

  SHOOT DAYS

There has been an excellent take up of days with over 75% now taken. I would like to thank those of you who have not only booked days in the new season but have also paid your initial shoot fees.

 There are a few initial payments still outstanding and would appreciate receiving these as soon as possible. For those concerned, in addition to a copy of your confirmation I also enclose a copy of your outstanding invoice.

 Where applicable I also enclose an invoice for the second part of your shoot fee.

  REMAINING SHOOT DAYS

I enclose a list of available days and as you will see there are plenty to choose from with every type and size of day still available. As there are a number of days which were not included in my previous lists please check if there is something which may now be workable for you.

 For further updates on available days please visit our website www.ripleycastleshoot.com or www.gunsonpegs.com . Both sites are updated daily and are iphone and android accessible and now have responsive design image, whatever all this means!!

  INSURANCE AGAINST LOSS OF DAYS DUE TO BIRD FLU

Restrictions on free range egg producers were lifted on Thursday 13th April throughout the UK. Although now free from outbreaks here in the UK, bird flu continues in other parts of the world.   No one knows how the problem of bird flu will progress as once migratory birds return in the Autumn we must wait and see.

 My proposal for the way forward is for the Shoot to cover outbreaks up to the start of the season. Should this happen and I find it necessary to cancel some days due to lack of birds a full refund will be given against any days I find it necessary to cancel.

 From 1st September should shooting be stopped due to bird flu it is the responsibility of each gun to insure against loss of their days, in the same way you would insure against loss of days due to bad weather.

 Insurance cover is now available from GunsOnPegs under a separate policy to the Triple Barrel Cover

www.gunsonpegs.com/insurance or telephone 0207 491 1363 for a quotation.

  GAME SALES

There is much talk about what happens to shot game. Although our main game dealer Yorkshire Game went into administration during the season, they continued to take our game as a new company.

 Although we received no payment for our birds for most of the season all our shot birds still entered the food chain. However as an approved shoot to supply Marks & Spencer through Yorkshire Game we continued to receive a premium for all birds sold through their stores.

 It would seem there is an oversupply of game with many birds in feather still in cold store.

 It is most important for our sport that all game shot should go into the food chain. I am assured by the new Yorkshire Game and our other game dealer Jason Drewery that they will take all our game next season and we may even receive some payment.

  PARTRIDGE AND MAIZE

In a recent phone call one of my Shoot Members pointed out that we are one of the very few lowland shoots offering testing partridge shooting. The reason I first introduced partridge over 20 years ago was that I became very bored waiting for birds to show on many pheasant drives.   I find maize is possibly the best holding and presenting crop for partridge which normally show before the pheasant and this waiting problem is avoided.

 Over the years partridge have become an important part of our shoot and I am always trying to find ways of holding and presenting even more testing birds. Our total area of game cover for the new season at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret has grown to over 350 acres of which 98 acres is maize.

 The actual sowing date for maize is critical and finding a contractor prepared to sow small areas of maize at the correct time is near impossible. We have therefore purchased our own maize drill. David is going to be very busy during the last two weeks of May! I am very confident that this substantial investment in maize will improve even further the overall quality of our partridge.

  CATERING

I am very pleased to advise that following the success last season of our lunches in the Shoot Cabin in our Ripley Castle Shoot Yard, which were provided by Ollie Stewart and his staff at Ripley Castle Kitchens. In the new season Ollie will also now be providing our lunches in the Shoot Box on Hardcastle Moor and in the Shoot Lodge on Mountgarret Estate. Sadly his food will not help my waistline!

  NEW INCUBATOR & HATCHER AT RIPLEY CASTLE

For some time I have been wanting to rear our own pheasants at Ripley Castle from our own laying field. In the past most of our pheasants have been produced from eggs originating from France. Having dealt with France for many years in the past with my hardwood importing business I was pretty certain they would use Brexit to increase prices by restricting supplies, which ironically has happened this year but due to bird flu.

 I therefore decided to purchase an incubator/hatcher to produce most of our pheasant chicks. However with the onset of bird flu I decided to increase the capacity even further before it was delivered in order to produce all our pheasants.

 As we already have a smaller incubator/hatcher at Mountgarret. We established a laying field of over 1,500 hens caught up at Ripley Castle and Mountgarret to produce the majority of eggs we require for both shoots.

 As I also feel is it important to introduce some new stock each year we will be purchasing a small quantity of UK produced pheasant chicks in addition to our own production.

 Now having our own pheasant production we are in a stronger position than most should an outbreak of bird flu occur.

  WEBSITE www.ripleycastleshoot.com

During the summer our website will be undergoing a major upgrade, so watch out for this as it will be very different.

 

REVIEW OF OUR 2016-2017 SEASON AND PROPOSALS FOR OUR NEW:  2017-2018 SEASON

Our 2016 season must go down as one of the most challenging season’s I have ever experienced in my 25 years of running Shoots.

 We were faced with warm, mild and sunny conditions throughout most of the season. With birds spread over the whole countryside in search of the abundant supply of natural food and not necessarily in the drives where we wanted them to be!

 As Christmas and New Year approached everyone thought we would at last experience some real shooting weather in January. Unfortunately this was not to be and I can remember only one morning of frost and one covering of snow on the Moor.

 The days were very challenging for our keepers and beaters but even given these conditions the birds flew well. Overall we succeeded in providing acceptable days throughout the season, but we do not want to go through this again. I never thought I would be wishing for overcast, damp and windy days but I do hope we have a few in the new season!

 This unseasonal weather has left us with the big problem of too many birds remaining on the ground. We have caught up over 2,000 hens for our laying field, other shoots and game farms but there are still too many remaining. We must live with this and are feeding wheat which is being taken as if it were December. The one good thing is that we will have plenty of well grown early October pheasants!

In the past we always tried to leave a breeding stock in order to produce some wild pheasants. This was before the skies were full of buzzards and red kites. Sadly this has now become unworkable, which is a great pity as these adult birds will produce chicks which will be devoured by raptors within a few days of hatching. This is called progress and appreciate we must accept and work with it.

  HARDCASTLE & HEATHFIELD MOORS: RETURNS FOR 2016

HARDCASTLE MOOR

                          Brace             Average bag per Day       10 year average       5 year average

Up to 2015             -                                 -                                   530                           787

2016                     606                               64                                 470                           813

  HEATHFIELD MOOR

                          Brace             Average bag per Day       10 year average       5 year average

Up to 2015             -                                 -                                   355                           572

2016                     338                               48                                 321                           570

 Following an acceptable but not exceptional season in 2016 we have left a good stock on both Moors so we should have a reasonable season in 2017.

 Unfortunately Heathfield has suffered from a second year of work under the direction of Natural England and The Yorkshire Peat Partnership. In short they spent four months over the winter blocking more grips (ditches) cutting and moving heather brash and planting sphagnum moss. I do hope it is worth the many hundreds of thousands of pounds it has all cost.

 The outcome for our grouse is that we may experience another below average season on Heathfield as the birds may not have had sufficient time to re-establish on the worked areas. They certainly will not appreciate the bog which has been created. As last season we may well have half a moor, we must wait and see. However I plan to shoot our first days and decide how we should proceed once we have seen what stock we have.  

  RETURN ON BIRDS RELEASED AT EAGLE HALL & ASHFOLD SIDE 2016-2017

                                  Pheasant         Partridge         Overall

10 year average           48.26%            44.05%           46.65%

2016-20176                   43.39%             56.37%           50.11%

Birds shot average: 4.79. Birds shot in excess of the target bag for the season: 3.93%

 Following another excellent season particularly on our partridge, everything is now in place for another successful season.   We do not have any major changes planned as what George and his team have created takes some beating.

  RETURN ON BIRDS RELEASED AT RIPLEY CASTLE, NIDD, HOB GREEN AND CAYTON 2016-2017

                                  Pheasant         Partridge           Duck             Overall

10 year average             45.55%             31.76%           70.40%             42.67%

2016-20176                   41.93%             39.04%           52.28%             41.64%

Bird shot average: 3.49. Birds shot in excess of the overall target bag for the season: 9.18%

 We plan similar releases to past seasons of pheasant and partridge with a reduction in our duck due to the increased number of duck reared in the wild. However one main change is the installation of our incubator/hatcher as detailed earlier in this Newsletter. We have also increased the number of day old partridge and reduced the number of partridge poults.

 Due to the additional workload created by our producing all our own pheasants we have employed a trainee keeper, Ben Coates who has recently left College and has worked on the shoot part time for some time.

  RETURN ON BIRDS RELEASED ON MOUNTGARRET 2016-2017

                                  Pheasant         Partridge         Overall

2016-2017                     45.06%             40.00%           42.97%

Birds shot average: 3.38. Birds shot in excess of the target bag for the season: 7.61%

  MOUNTGARRET SHOOT

Having just completed our first season on Mountgarret, it would be an understatement to say it has been very challenging with a few surprises which are now behind us. I must admit it was somewhat naive of me to believe I could change overnight something which had been established over 100 years. However much has changed over the year and I am very confident we are now heading in the right direction.

 Something which I had spotted earlier when I first looked at the Shoot was that although the pheasant are very acceptable, on many drives the partridge are exceptional. This is something I plan to build on in the new season.

 During the year I have had tremendous support from the Estate. One problem we have, as do many Estates, is that some of the woodlands have grown too dense to allow the light to penetrate the woodland floor in order to establish suitable cover to hold game and also that the birds cannot fly through the trees. The circumstances of this are that the birds walk to the end of the wood producing large flushes which are not necessarily what we want. As part of the Estate forestry programme many of the woodlands will be thinned this summer creating much improved habitat for both holding and flushing the birds.

 We have received invaluable support from all the farmers in making areas available for game cover. When I took the Shoot there were 17 acres. In the new season we will have over 150 acres of game cover. Much of this will be maize being ideal for partridge.

 Last season we did have a few disappointing days which would have been difficult to avoid given the constant warm and still conditions. Overall we achieved an acceptable season but there is still much room for improvement. We have also increased the drives even further to over 30.

 Martin Nesham our Head Keeper will be assisted by Liam his son and our new Keeper Andy Maloney who is ex army having served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq so he knows his way around!

 As we do not know how the partridge will perform on many of the drives, I propose releasing more than we will require in future years by releasing some on each drive. Once we know which drives produce the best partridge we will build on these in the future.

 It is also worth noting that the prices remain as last season however we are only fielding 8 guns compared to 9. This should give more birds over each gun and the cost per bird is reduced.

 I am very confident the many changes and improvements I propose for the new season will bring the Mountgarret Shoot to a new level and we can all look forward to some excellent shooting.

 We now have everything in place for another successful season and I will keep you advised on our further progress.

By Frank Boddy 01 Dec, 2016
Much has been happening and I am delighted to report we are experiencing an excellent season with some challenging shooting. Even considering too many sunny still days and when we had a wind it came from the East, which was a real pain. At last we may now be experiencing some real winter shooting weather which should make our days even better.
I am pleased to give a brief summary of the season so far.

HARDCASTLE & HEATHFIELD MOORS
We achieved an acceptable season with a combined bag of around 940 brace. This time last year George forecast a total bag for the season of between 900 and 1,000 brace. He was not far out!! I won’t tell you what his forecast is for next season is but I am planning our days around this and if 1achieved we will all be very happy!

EAGLE HALL & ASHFOLD SIDE
The shooting can only be described as exceptional this season. George and his team have produced some amazing days. With only 3 guns remaining for the whole season, if not already booked the opportunity to shoot is somewhat limited!

David and his team have brought Ripley Castle to a new level this season with many of the birds

RIPLEY CASTLE, NIDD, HOB GREEN & CAYTON
just as challenging as those experienced at Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side. There are still a few guns remaining and I do hope there maybe something workable for you.

MOUNTGARRET
As this Shoot is new this season I am often asked how Mountgarret is progressing. I had planned for this to be running as smoothly at Ripley Castle and Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side within a few shoot days. Unfortunately I underestimated the impact of my increasing the game cover from 15 to 130 acres and drives from 14 to 28 and the time it would take to perfect these new drives. 

It has been quite a challenge. We certainly had a very bumpy start with some interesting results whilst we were finding the best ways of driving our new drives! However with the very positive support of Martin our Head Keeper and his very tolerant (of me) team, we have certainly turned the corner and are now experiencing some excellent shooting.

It is obvious this is an 8 gun shoot and I am planning as many of our remaining days as possible this season fielding 8 guns. More importantly, as I originally thought, although the pheasant are good, the partridge on a number of drives are exceptional. For a rolling lowland/parkland shoot many of the birds are comparable to some of the higher ground partridge shoots I have shot in the past. I do however find we have one main problem. Due to the way Martin and his team have held their birds we find there are far more birds on the ground than are required to complete our season.
As I feel we have now brought Mountgarret to a new level and would like as many of you as possible to experience the Shoot I have decided to field a number of 150 bird 8 gun days during the remainder of this season. These days are offered at an attractive price of £585 per gun plus VAT. Each day will be as a normal shoot day, with breakfast and lunch in our Shoot Lodge plus other refreshments throughout the day.

I appreciate that many of you will already have booked your days for late December and January. So in order to give you plenty of dates to choose from I have included 7 additional 8 guns 150 bird days as detailed on the attached list of available dates. A day will be fielded provided there are a minimum of 6 guns and I do hope there will be something
to suit you.

REMAINING DAYS
I am pleased to attach details of our remaining days and as you will see a number of new dates have
come available.

NEW SEASON 2017-2018
I have been trying to put a Shoot Calendar together and hope to have this available soon, not sure
how soon!

As you are aware the majority of our days are sold to individual guns by the gun per day. However I do offer a few full days. If you would like to take any full days at Ripley Castle or Mountgarret, could you please contact me as soon as possible in order to plan these into the Calendar. I can also confirm there will be no price increases for the 2017-2018 Season.

SHOOT DINNER 2017
Just to remind you this will be held at Ripley Castle on Saturday 11th February 2017.
By Frank Boddy 01 Nov, 2016
Everything is progressing really well and I only wish I had more time to tell you all about it! I will
do soon.

COCKS ONLY DAYS
The reason for this e-mail is to introduce something I have wanted to try for quite some time. This
season we released a number of additional pheasants at both Ripley Castle and Mountgarret as I
knew we would need to catch up around 1,750 hen birds at the end of the season for our two laying
fields.

The very warm dry conditions which have prevailed for most of the season have been ideal for our
pheasants with more than ever surviving the release and growing period. I forecast that by the end
of January we will still have all the hen birds we require but we will also have far too many cock
birds remaining on the ground.

In the past we have caught our surplus cock birds up for other shoots and game farms with the
balance being shot on late season cocks only days. I see no point in rearing these through the whole
season just to dispose of them at the end by whatever means possible.

I have therefore decided to field 4 Cocks Only Days during the main season; 2 days at Ripley Castle
and 2 days at Mountgarret.

These will be run as normal shoot days of 9 guns with a target bag of 175 cock pheasants in
December and 150 in January 2017. Should we find by lunch time we are short on the bag we will
include some partridge in the afternoon drives.
These days will be fielded on:

Thursday 8th December: Mountgarret
Tuesday 13th December: Ripley Castle
Monday 9th January 2017: Mountgarret
Monday 23rd January 2017: Ripley Castle

The cost will be £685.00 per gun plus VAT

There is only one catch with a cocks only day. How do we stop guns from shooting hen pheasants?
This is the only part of my plan I have not yet worked out! However there will be a penalty shared
between the guns which will be donated to charity.

These will be fun days and picking out cocks from hens will make us concentrate more on our
shooting. I do hope you will join these days.

SHOOT DINNER 2017
A number of guns have asked when this season’s Dinner will be held. This is booked with Ripley
Castle to be held on Saturday 11th February 2017.
Please make a note in your diary to join the evening.

EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIP
This season I have made a number of offers of discounted days to my Exclusive Members. These
have been very well received and a number of Exclusive Members have enjoyed some excellent
discounted shooting.

All you need to do to become an Exclusive Member is to purchase £2,500 worth + VAT of days at
the list price. You will then be sent Exclusive Members Special Offers of some very competitively
priced shooting as the days come available.

REMAINING SHOOT DAYS
Overall the days have been taken up very well. However as usual there have been some days
moved around and cancelled.

I am pleased to attach a list of remaining days where you will see there is a good variety of days
available and do hope there maybe something workable for you.

2017-2018 SEASON
As more and more of you like to plan your shoot days well in advance, I hope to issue details of
next season quite soon.

If you were to be considering any full days on any of the Shoots. Could
By Frank Boddy 01 Sep, 2016
So much has been happening in the last few months that it seems like only yesterday that we were
out on what must have been our wettest season ever. I recall six consecutive days during
November/December of two or three coats which must be a record I would prefer not to repeat. As
always we faced what was literally thrown at us and carried on regardless. We still had possibly
our best season ever.

I always say our out of season period is far busier than when we start shooting. My staff may not
agree and now the season has started they can look forward to a rest, or maybe not!!

HARDCASTLE & HEATHFIELD MOORS
As always nothing is certain with grouse and this season they have been as unpredictable as ever.
I had planned 9 full days and 3 half grouse and half partridge/pheasant days on each Moor. Giving
24 visits in total. In hindsight I may have been slightly over optimistic.

On Hardcastle Moor we have a reasonable but not exceptional stock. Over our first 4 days we
averaged 73 brace per day. This was very acceptable however by what we have seen George and I
have decided to cancel 2 full days. We will now shoot 7 full and 3 half grouse and half
partridge/pheasant days on Hardcastle.

On Heathfield Moor we have a reasonable stock but unfortunately due to disturbance caused by the
restoration work carried out by Natural England/Yorkshire Peat Partnership during last winter, the
stock is not evenly spread across the Moor.

We have shot 3 full days. The first went well with 64½ brace. On the second it was the warmest
day of the year when nothing wanted to fly, it was a miracle we shot 21½ brace. On our third day
everything was going really well. Then just as we started the last drive the mist descended so we
had to stop the drive for safety reasons. We shot 45 brace and should have had 65 or 70 brace.
Over the 3 full days we have shot, we averaged 45 brace which is very good considering the
weather conditions on the last two days.

However the fact remains we have an unevenly distributed stock on Heathfield Moor. So George
and I have decided not to shoot any more full days but to shoot 6 half and half days. We plan to
shoot the whole Moor in two drives each day omitting the areas where the grouse are scarce. This
will give us 3 full and 6 half and half days on Heathfield for the season, 9 visits in total.
We shot the first of these half and half days this week. It can only be described as magnificent.
The weather was perfect, overcast with a light breeze. We saw a very good showing of grouse on
Heathfield and finished the day with partridge on Landslide, which was well up to its usual standard
in every way. The bag was 38 brace of grouse and 165 partridge. A truly excellent day.
I would stress that on all the half and half days we will plan to shoot as many grouse as possible
with the balance made up of partridge/pheasant.

I am ever the optimist and am aware that Heathfield is a Moor which does not usually show its
stock until September onwards (as we experienced this week) so it is possible we may see more
birds than we think and you never know we may not need to include too many partridge and
pheasant on some days.

We must wait and see as we know too well the grouse are always in control.

EAGLE HALL & ASHFOLD SIDE
It is not easy for George and his team releasing birds, particularly partridge 1000 feet above sea
level. When the sun is shining at Ripley Castle it is normally torrential rain or mist at Greenhow.
We have had our usual amount of rain, however so far everything is looking good. Let’s hope this
continues.

We have completed the repair work to the tracks and infrastructure damaged last winter. So
everything is now in place for another successful season.

As always I am sure George and his team will have a few surprises for us.

RIPLEY CASTLE : NIDD : HOB GREEN AND CAYTON
Overall the weather had been kind to us on the rearing field this year. Giving David and his team
fewer losses than usual from day old to 7 week old poults. As our poults were in such good
condition it’s the first time ever that we have not had to medicate the birds on release. We must be
getting something right but its taken 20 years!!
The outcome is that we have released a few more birds than usual. Given this position some shoots
would put on more days. I prefer for you all to have a few more birds in the bag each day.
We have had no full time staff changes so there will be the usual familiar faces on a shoot day.
However due to my taking on our new Mountgarret Shoot my time is limited. Stuart Thompson
who many of you may already know, will be hosting a number of days, with other days hosted by
Nigel, David and myself. Stuart’s claim to fame is that he trained my two dogs Bonny and my new
Labrador Bea who looks surprisingly like a springer spaniel!! I have now made an excellent job of
totally spoiling them as you will all soon see!

As always David and his team will have everything in place for our first day on Saturday 10th
September

MOUNTGARRET
For all of us this is the great unknown. I have tried to keep you all advised of our progress but
something new happens each day.

Martin our Head Keeper and myself have worked with the farmers to identify and establish new
areas of game cover, which given the rolling terrain, I am very confident will produce some
challenging birds. At least half the drives have never been shot before. So you could say anything
can happen! Martin has also had an excellent return from the rearing field with more birds released
than I expected. As at Ripley Castle I have not put on any additional days so we should have plenty
to shoot. I doubt if there will be many days when we are not comfortably over the target bag.
In addition to Martin and Liam I have employed James Meloni who has enrolled on a Game
Keeping Apprentice course at Newton Rigg College.

On Mountgarret I have recruited some good friends to host some of the days for me. Jonny
Dimsdale who has spent most of his life involved in horse racing, Christopher Orme who is the
Agent for Mountgarret Estates and Stuart Thompson who is also hosting at Ripley Castle. I hope
you will come and join us in this new shooting adventure.

AVAILABLE DAYS
With the addition of Mountgarret and other changes there were 31% more days available this
season compared to last and I am delighted and thank you all for your support in the excellent take
up of days.

At present there are 18% of the original days still remaining compared to 8% at this time last
season. So there is still a good variety of days to choose from which are detailed on the attached
list.

EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIP
I would like to remind everyone of this and those of you who are eligible should have already
received your Exclusive Membership card and details.

It is inevitable that by the way I run the Shoot selling mainly to individual guns, by the gun per day,
that once the season starts there will be some unsold pegs. A day will be run providing a minimum
of six pegs have been sold but the target bag may be revised in line with the number of guns. I am
often asked if there are any odd pegs available at a reduced cost. For me discounted days begin
with those of you who have already booked days. So I established our Exclusive Membership as a
way of thanking and rewarding individual guns for their support. Purchasing shoot days to a value
of £2,500.00 or more before VAT qualifies for Exclusive Membership. This applies to individual
guns or where a team have booked, paid individually and collectively achieve £2,500.00 or more
before VAT, then all members of the team are eligible for Exclusive Membership.

Exclusive Members are offered by e-mail, at reasonably short notice, a selection of dates where
there are unsold pegs. You will receive a list of dates with attractive discounts offered on the
original fee. You may purchase as many of the discounted pegs are you wish for yourself and to
bring one or more guests on any of the days not just the days you have already booked. You must
of course be present on the day when you bring a guest at discounted rates.

Last season due to the demand for days I did not make any discounted offers to Exclusive Members
as all our days were sold.

However with more days to offer I sent out a “Special Offer” to Exclusive Members in early
August. The days were offered at a 35% discount on the original price before VAT. This offer was
very well received and a number of Exclusive Members are very happy!!

Depending on the take up of days which remains very good at present, I hope to send out further
offers during the season. However to be eligible to take advantage of these you need to have
previously purchased days to the value for £2,500 plus VAT. If at present you have purchased
days under the value you can always add more to make up the amount required.

If you are eligible and have not received an Exclusive Membership card please contact Lynda by
phone on 01423 323321 or e-mail info@ripleycastleshoot.co.uk.

HEAVY SHOT AND HEAVY LOADS
In every sport competent sportsmen always try to push their sport to the extreme. Driven game
shooting is no exception. There is a trend towards shooting so called extreme birds using heavy
loads of up to 50 grams and shot sizes of No. 3 or even larger using shotguns with up to 34 inch
barrels. I personally have all the satisfaction I need from a maximum of 32 gram No. 4 on really
high birds which is what I rate as extreme. However I still prefer 30 gram No. 6 or No. 5.

My main area of concern with this trend is that although I know most guns who practice this are
very competent safe shots. It may attract inexperienced shots who are unable to handle the heavy
shotgun required. It only takes one low shot for an accident to happen. It could be bad enough with
30 gram No. 6 but with these heavy shot/loads it could be fatal to beaters and keepers. For this
reason, the maximum permitted on any of our Shoots is 34 gram No. 4 and on the Moor 32 gram
No. 5, all with fibre wads. As always, no plastic wads please.

GROUSE SHOOTING PETITION
You may well already know there have been 100,000 + signatures for a petition put forward for the
banning of grouse shooting. Although this is aimed at grouse shooting, I do believe these people
have a much more far reaching agenda. This has been promoted by persons whose names I do not
wish to deface my newsletter with. At least one is employed by a television company and has used
the media to promote his views.

In support of our game shooting you may have already received the pro-grouse shooting petition. If
you have not already completed this electronic petition and would like to use the following link:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petition/164851

After sending you will receive an e-mail response from H M Government which asks you to
confirm your e-mail address to formerly register your vote. Every vote counts.

SHOOT FEES: DUE AND OVERDUE INVOICES
Finally and possibly one of the most important items are funds to pay the shoot bills!
The only thing I really do not enjoy about running the Shoot is having to chase outstanding shoot
fees. Producing statements involves quite an amount of work on my part which I do hope you can
help me avoid. Could you please check your invoice/confirmation and I would really appreciate if
you could clear any due or overdue payments as soon as possible.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As you can see there is much happening and I am very confident we can all look forward to another
season full of surprises.
We now have reintroduced a few English grey partridge on Mountgarret which was a wild English
grey partridge shoot in the past.
By Frank Boddy 01 Aug, 2016
It may seem hard to believe that we are now only a few weeks away from the start of our new season. Where
has the year gone? It has certainly been a busy time for George, David, Martin and their teams. Much time has
been spent on repairing the tracks and car parks damaged by last winter’s heavy rain. Everything is now in good
order ready for the new season. At this time of the season I am asked two questions. How are our birds and
particularly the grouse? How are our days selling and what do we have left?

OUR BIRDS
Our rearing fields at both Ripley Castle and Mountgarret have progressed well with the majority of our birds
now released. However there have been a few testing days when our birds were once again very confused
wondering if they are living in a tropical or arctic climate! At Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side all our birds are
bought in as poults and are now settling in well.

I can confidently report that everything is looking very good.

On Hardcastle and Heathfield Moors I am very pleased to report that we do have a shootable stock. We might
have had more grouse but unfortunately George feels we may have lost a few nests to the late snow which
covered both Moors just as the hens started to nest. We do not have as many as we did in 2014 which was our
record year but we do have a much improved stock compared to last season. It is too soon to know if we will
field all our planned days. I do hope we will but as always with grouse anything can happen so we must wait
and see.

EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIP
I would like to remind everyone of this and those of you who are eligible should have already received your
Exclusive Membership card and details.

It is inevitable that by the way I run the Shoot selling mainly to individual guns, by the gun per day, that once the
season starts there will be some unsold pegs. A day will be run providing a minimum of six pegs have been sold
but the target bag may be revised in line with the number of guns. I am often asked if there are any odd pegs
available at a reduced cost. For me charity begins with those of you who have already booked days. So I
established our Exclusive Membership as a way of thanking and rewarding individual guns for their support.
Purchasing shoot days to a value of £2,500.00 or more before VAT qualifies for Exclusive Membership. This
applies to individual guns or where a team have booked, paid individually and collectively achieves £2,500.00 or
more before VAT, then all members of the team are eligible for Exclusive Membership.

Exclusive Members will be offered by e-mail, at reasonably short notice, a selection of dates where there are
unsold pegs. You will receive a list of dates with attractive discounts offered on the original fee. You may
purchase as many of the discounted pegs are you wish for yourself and to bring one or more guests on any of the
days not just the days you have already booked. There may be a ceiling on the value of pegs each individual
gun may purchase dependant on the number of pegs offered. You must of course be present on the day when
you bring a guest at discounted rates.

Last season due to the demand for days I did not make any discounted offers to Exclusive Members as all our
days were sold.

However I am pretty certain due to the increased numbers of days initially available there will be discounted
days offered this season. If you have not already done so please consider booking your preferred days up to
£2,500 before VAT or more very soon. Preferably before mid August. This is more of a hint than a promise!! I
never thought we could be likened to Ryanair, they like to have “bums on seats”, and I want to have “guns on
pegs”

If you are eligible and have not received an Exclusive Membership card please contact Lynda by phone on
01423 323321 or e-mail info@ripleycastleshoot.co.uk.

AVAILABLE DAYS
I would like to thank those of you who have already booked days which as always I do really appreciate.
I am delighted with the excellent take up of days and as previously advised compared to last season we would
have now been sold out. However due to the increased number of days, some recent cancellations and some
days moving around there is a very good variety of days available with something for everyone. All are detailed
on the enclosed list. You can also visit our website www.ripleycastleshoot.com or www.gunsonpegs.com for
further information on available days which is updated daily and is iPhone and android compatible (whatever
this means. I thought these were creatures from outer space!!)

SHOOT DAYS
There are days available on all our Shoots at Ripley Castle, Mountgarret, Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side and on the
Moors with target bags from 200 to 400 birds.

In the past there has been a tendency to compare Ripley Castle with Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side. Although Eagle
Hall & Ashfold Side does have the ideal terrain to present testing birds. Over recent seasons and particularly last
season partly due to our strain of birds, David and his team have brought our Ripley Castle Shoot to a new
higher level, with an increasing number of drives presenting birds equally as good as Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side.
For this season we also have Mountgarret which I know will present excellent birds but cannot say any more as
many of the drives are totally new and never been shot before.

MOORLAND GROUSE DAYS
Due to a recent cancellation there is 1 gun available on 16th August and 5 guns available on 6th September. Both
days are on Heathfield Moor. These are some of the fastest grouse you will ever experience, so I am told.

MIXED GROUSE AND PARTRIDGE DAYS
These days are normally taken up as soon as released as I feel they are possibly our most exciting combination of
birds in one day. Fast grouse in the morning and challenging partridge in the afternoon. Due to a cancellation
we have available 7 guns on 14th and 3 guns on 26th September.

NOVICE AND PRACTICE DAYS
These days are ideal for anyone new to driven game shooting as well as experienced shots for some practice
before the main season starts. The drives chosen are as a normal shoot day with the only difference being a few
non competitive clays to start the day, followed by four live bird drives. There are guns available on Saturday
10th and Saturday 17th September.

LADIES DAYS
I am delighted to see that driven game shooting is increasing in popularity particularly with Ladies. I have run
Ladies Days for over 12 years which are best described as a very pleasant day out in God’s own Country in the
company of Ladies who are out to enjoy themselves and experience some testing shooting. My Ladies Days will
suit both experienced and guns new to driven game shooting and pegs may be shared. The drives are as a normal
shoot day, with instructor/loaders available by prior arrangement.
This season I have days planned under the “Just for Ladies” banner on:
Tuesday 4th October and Fridays 31st October, 16th November and 13th January

BOUNDARY DAYS
As we are not planning to shoot parts of the Mountgarret Estate on our main days, these days are ideal to try out
some of our smaller and boundary drives.

MCRIPLEY DAYS
These are the ultimate shoot day, incorporating main drives at both Ripley Castle and Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side
when we field 2 teams of 9 guns each day. There are a few guns remaining on 17th and 28th December.

ROVING SYNDICATE/CORPORATE DAYS
Any day where no guns have been taken can become an exclusive day. These are ideal for entertaining friends
and clients. The bag and the order of the day is tailored to suit the host.

NEW SHOOT BROCHURE 2016-2017
I am pleased to enclose a copy of our new brochure. As every shoot is different in the way they present a day,
for anyone new to our Shoot this brochure gives an idea of what to expect and what is expected of them on the
day. The new brochure details the changes and improvements we have made to ensure the success and safety of
every shoot day. It includes an introduction to the Shoot, details and maps of our various meeting locations, a
comprehensive list of Hotels and Restaurants together with details of Personal and Cancellation Insurance.
However as always the most important section, detailed on pages 21 to 24 are our “Risk Assessments”. These
have been revised and updated and I would request that all guns and non-shooting guests have a copy or sight of
a copy of this brochure. Further copies are available from my secretary Lynda on 01423 323321 or by e-mail
info@ripleycastleshoot.co.uk. Or may be downloaded from our website www.ripleycastleshoot.com . I do
hope you enjoy this season’s edition.

OUTDOOR JACKETS
I have purchased a quantity of Mistral Jackets personalised for each Shoot in a variety of sizes. They are
reversible, shower proof with fleece inside.
Ripley Castle: Green with the new Ripley Castle corporate logo.
Mountgarret: Burgundy with the Mountgarret Crest
Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side and Hardcastle & Heathfield Moor: Green with Ripley Sporting logo
These are available free to staff, regular beaters and pickers up. For Shoot Members, if you would like to
purchase at £20 per jacket, 50% will be donated to our Charity Fund.
These jackets are available from our Head Keepers, George, David and Martin.

TAXIDERMY
We now have available from our Ripley Castle Shoot Cabin a large selection of “stuffed” birds. Available are
white and melanistic pheasants, white partridge, jay, magpie, woodcock plus others. The majority are for resale
at £150 per item, £50 of which is donated to our Charity Fund.
If you shoot a bird and wish to have it mounted, this can be arranged but can take a few months. In which case
you are most welcome to take one we already have mounted.

A FEW ITEMS TO REMEMBER BEFORE THE START OF THE SEASON
FINAL CHECK OF YOUR KIT BEFORE THE START THE SEASON
A reminder to check that your guns and equipment are ready for the new season. The “Last Minute Check List”
loose insert with each copy of our Shoot Brochure 2016-17 may well assist with this. You may think your guns
are fine until they let you down on a shoot day. It is a small cost to have them serviced but as everyone may be
arranging this at present, I suggest you do not delay. It is also worth bringing a spare gun on any shoot day.
For gun servicing I recommend Steve Baren at The Yorkshire Gun Room, a few minutes’ drive from Ripley.
Steve can be contacted on 01765 620602 or 07885 253659
The last minute check list also details a number of items we always seem to forget to take with us on a shoot day
and then regret not having them with us. On the reverse of the list is a Shoot Planner for the new season.

PERSONAL, PRODUCT LIABILITY AND SHOOT CANCELLATION INSURANCE
I was somewhat shocked to read that following a recent survey of driven game shots 30% admitted to having no
Personal Liability Insurance. I sincerely do hope that this statistic did not apply to anyone shooting with us.
Compared to the cost of a shoot day the cost of insurance is negligible. The excellent value Triple Barrelled
Cover insurance package offered through GunsOnPegs is detailed on page 15 of our Shoot Brochure 2016-2017
and on our website www.ripleycastleshoot.com . Together with Personal Liability Insurance, Cancellation
Insurance is just as important, as if a day is cancelled due to bad weather or any acceptable reason; the full cost
of the shoot day still stands. Please do not delay and apply for cover now from GunsOnPegs
www.gunsonpegs.com/shooting_insurance/ripley , or telephone Samson Steiger-White on 0207 491 1363 for a
quotation.

SHOTGUN CERTIFICATE AND PROOF OF LIABILITY INSURANCE
Unless you are hiring a shotgun you must have in your possession on all shoot days a valid UK Shotgun
Certificate or UK Visitors Permit, with the serial numbers of the shotguns you are using entered on the Shotgun
Certificate or Visitors Permit. Anyone shooting must also have proof of Personal Liability Insurance with them
on a shoot day.

INSTRUCTORS AND LOADERS
We are fortunate in having available the services of a number of experienced clay pigeon and driven game
shooting loader/instructors. No matter how experienced a shot may be, having an instructor for the day soon
rectifies all the bad habits - shooting ones - which we seem to perfect without too much of a problem! Having
an instructor is a necessity for a novice game shot and even for an experienced shot an instructor can make quite
a difference to your performance. The minimum cost of an instructor/loader for the day is £90 which should be
paid direct by the gun/host. This service is now very popular so as much prior notice as possible would be
appreciated. If you do not require instruction, a loader is always useful to look after you for the day. If you
bring your dog, having a loader gives you more time to work it at the end of a drive.

SHOTGUN HIRE
The law states that anyone may use a shotgun without a UK Shotgun Certificate or Visitors Permit provided it is
in the presence of the owner who has the serial number registered on his Shotgun Certificate or Visitors Permit
and the required insurance cover is in place. Shotguns are available for hire, provided notice is given, from our
instructor/loaders at £50 per day. Knowledge of height and if he or she is left or right handed would help in
selecting the most ideal shotgun available.

CARTRIDGES
I have decided to stay with Express as they seem to offer most of what we require in a cartridge. Felt or fibre
wads only please, no plastic wads and nothing heavier than 34 gram No.4 at Ripley Castle, Mountgarret and
Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side and 32 gram No. 5 on the Moors. There will always be suitable 12 and 20 bore
cartridges available for purchase on all shoot days. Non-toxic cartridges in 12 and 20 bore will also be available
with my compliments when we shoot a dedicated duck and goose drive. For bulk cartridge purchases please
contact me.

FOUR WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE COURTESY VEHICLES
As more and more guns are travelling some distance to shoot with us, we now have available on all three Shoots
a long wheel base Land Rover Station Wagon with a driver which will seat up to five people comfortably. If
required we can provide transport for a full team (3 vehicles) providing the vehicles are not being used on our
other Shoots. Each vehicle is available at no cost to the guns or their guests, however prior booking is
recommended to ensure space is available. Your dog will travel in the Keepers vehicles.

INSECT REPELLENT
There is every possibility that this warm humid weather, which is ideal for midges, will continue well into the
season. I would therefore strongly recommend you always have some insect repellent with you. It will be
essential on the Moor and at Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side and possibly this season may even be required at Ripley
Castle and Mountgarret.

TICKS
The weather conditions this spring has been ideal for ticks. I therefore strongly recommend you treat your dogs
prior to a visit to any shoot or moor. I have discussed this with my Vet who recommends “Bravector” which is
one pill giving three month’s protection. There is also a very effective spot on “Advantix” however it can be
very toxic to cats. “Frontline” is supposed to work but may not be as effective. Tick bites can be very
dangerous to humans so it is also important to check you have not acquired any unwelcome friends. It is also
worthwhile spraying your clothes at the start of the day to avoid attracting any type of insect.

CONFIRMATION OF BOOKING AND FINAL INVOICE
I would again very much like to thank those of you who have already booked your days and paid your shoot fees
so far. I now enclose a further copy of your Confirmation of Booking detailing my understanding of the days
you have booked. Could you please check this and should I have made any errors please advise me as soon as
ever possible. Also detailed on the Confirmation of Booking is an acknowledgment of all your payments made
so far. There are a few overdue amounts and for those concerned I would appreciate these being paid without
delay.

Finally I enclose an invoice for those of you who receive separate invoices in February, May and August.
However I would stress that this is not due for payment until 1st August.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As always George, David, Martin and their teams will be doing everything possible to give you some memorable
shooting in our stunning North Yorkshire countryside. I only hope we will have some dry and breezy days but
as always we will face whatever is presented to us by enjoying ourselves and carrying on regardless.
By Frank Boddy 01 May, 2016
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME OUT OF SEASON FUN IN STUNNING NORTH YORKSHIRE
ARMY BENEVOLENT FUND ABF AND GAME & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TRUST GWCT
CHARITY CLAY DAY: RAISETHORPE MANOR, NR MALTON: SATURDAY 4TH
JUNE 2016

On behalf of the organising committee we would like to invite you to either enter a team or take an individual
gun to make up a team. We plan to field 30 teams of 4 guns and 4 loaders. At present we have 25 teams so are
looking to make up approximately 5 more teams.

During the morning each team will shoot 6 simulated clay stands plus 4 other optional surprise stands running
alongside the main stands. Once the shooting is completed we will take a champagne reception followed by a
three course lunch. There will be a number of competitions and following lunch we will hold an auction of
many “Money Cannot Buy Lots” together with a Silent Auction.

There are also a number of prizes for the shooting: Top Tossers who are first, Naughty Nines in ninth place and
Sweet Sixteen for sixteenth place, so everyone has a chance to win and the prizes are similar for each winning
team. All this for £2,000 per team or £500 per gun including your loaders.

As we are out of season you are not meeting your shooting friends so making up a full team may not be easy. If
you or one or two friends would like to join other guns to make up a team please let me know and I will put
teams together. If however you would like to field a full team of 4 guns and 4 loaders please contact:

Amy Simeon, Executive Secretary NE & Yorkshire
ABF The Soldiers Charity, Hipswell Lodge, Smuts Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire DL9 3AX
Tel: 01748 874127 E-mail: northeast@soldierscharity.org
Please do try and join the day when I can guarantee you a memorable time in aid of two such worthwhile
Charities.

OUT OF SEASON SO FAR
I am often asked what do I do out of season. I do try to go fishing but at present it is difficult to find the time!
You may think this would be a quiet time for the Shoot but in fact we are far busier out of season than during the
actual season. This year is no different with George, David and their teams busy repairing the damage caused by
the relentless rain last season as well as preparing for the new seasons chicks and poults. At Ripley Castle we
rear all our pheasant and partridge from bought in day old chicks and at Eagle Hall & Ashfold side we buy all
the birds as poults.

Martin has been particularly busy at Mountgarret. He has a laying field producing all his own pheasant eggs.
This together with reorganising the Shoot Yard, erecting a new rearing field and extending release pens.
As our pheasants have flown particularly well at Ripley Castle over the last few seasons being predominantly
Bezante and Bezante/Kansas cross. All the hens Martin is using on his laying field were caught up on Ripley
Castle land. The cocks are also Bezante which I bought in from another Shoot to try and avoid inter breeding. I
am hoping this new strain for Mountgarret will perform well for us. Martin’s partridge will be bought in as
poults.

All in all everyone is very busy with our first hatch of pheasant chicks on Mountgarret on 2nd May, five months
before the start of the season.
On the moor George is seeing quite an amount of sitting foil (these are the distinctive droppings from hen grouse
who are sitting). This is a good sign but a little early so we should be seeing our first grouse chicks very soon. I
do hope we avoid last season’s frost at hatching time. As it is very cold with snow showers at present it is a bit
of a worry.

KEEPERS DAYS
The Shoot never stands still and you will see from the enclosed list of available dates there are no more Keepers
Days. Well in fact there are, however although George and David will be running these days they will be
assisted by a co-host each day.
They find it difficult to keep both an eye on the line of guns and line of beaters. It is most important on any
drive that if possible there is an even flow of birds over the whole line of guns. This is not possible on all drives
but this additional help will assist in directing the birds and general running of the days.
In order to improve these days even further having been offered by Sir Thomas and Lady Ingilby the facility for
breakfast in the dining room at Ripley Castle in place of the Boar’s Head Bistro and also as The Bridge Inn now
has a new landlord who is very keen to help the Shoot and at Mountgarret we have an excellent Shoot Lodge.
On every shoot day we will now start with breakfast at 8.30 a.m. in the different venues. These are clearly
detailed on your revised confirmation enclosed where appropriate with this Newsletter.
BOUNDARY DAYS ON MOUNTGARRET
New this season are five Boundary Days on Mountgarret which will be run by Martin Nesham our Head Keeper.
We have introduced these as we have a large area of the Shoot with drives which will not hold sufficient birds
for a 200 plus bird day. With a target bag of 80 birds it could be said these days are just how a proper shoot day
should be.
The days will start at 8.30 a.m. in the Mountgarret Shoot Yard at Low Raikes House. You will need to bring a
packed lunch although we will provide soup and a pie at midday. You should be prepared to walk and well
behaved dogs are most welcome. Dates and costs are detailed on the enclosed list of available dates.

CONFIRMATION OF SHOOT BOOKING
I would like to thank those of you who have not only booked your days in the new season but have also paid
your initial shoot fees. I am pleased to enclose a copy of your Confirmation of Booking which acknowledges
your initial payment.

There are few initial payments still outstanding and would appreciate receiving these as soon as possible. In
addition to a copy of your confirmation I also enclose a copy of your outstanding invoice.
Where applicable I also enclose an invoice for the second part of your shoot fee.

Most important of all, could you please double check the dates on your confirmation in order to ensure I have
understood your requirements correctly! If you wish to change any of your dates please consider this as soon as
possible in order to give me ample time to re-sell.

REMAINING SHOOT DAYS
I enclose a list of our available days and as you will see there are plenty to choose from with every type and size
of day still available. As there are many days not included in the previous lists please check if there is anything
which may now be workable for you. For further updates on availability please visit our website
www.ripleycastleshoot.com or www.gunsonpegs.com . Both sites are updated daily and are iphone and android
accessible and now have responsive design image, whatever all this means!!!

EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIP
As you are no doubt aware the majority of our days are sold by the gun per day to individual guns or small
parties making up the team on the day. I established Exclusive Membership for individual guns as a way of
thanking and rewarding guns for their support. Purchasing shoot days to the value of £2,500 or more before
VAT gives Exclusive Membership which also gives a number of other benefits.

Last Minute Availability
It is inevitable that by the way I run the Shoot selling mainly to individual guns that once the season starts I may
be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to field a day where some pegs remain unsold. In the past it may
have been necessary to cancel days and ask guns to move to other days which I may well still need to do, A day
will be run providing a minimum of six pegs have been sold. What I prefer to do is to offer any unsold pegs at
short notice to Exclusive Members at a substantial discount. All you need to do is purchase £2,500 or more
value of days before VAT. If you are uncertain of the dates you would like to purchase during the season, you
can buy £2,500 worth + VAT of days which would be invoiced and you can decide the actual dates later.
You will receive a card to confirm your Membership which can be used at a selected number of retail stores
where you will receive attractive discounts on selected products. It is certainly worth becoming an Exclusive
Member of Ripley Sporting.

SHOTGUN SERVICING AND FITTING
Each season I remind you all about the need to have your guns serviced before the start of the season. This year
it has certainly proved necessary for me. I am one of the few “enlightened” game shots who still shoot side by
side shotguns!! Not only this but my guns are now 127 years old. So I suppose I can expect to have a few
problems. They performed well during the season so once we stopped shooting they went in for service. Steve
Baren our local gunsmith noticed a crack in the main spring of one which would have inevitably failed. It has
been necessary to have a new main spring made by a specialist which has taken over three months. This together
with the fact that most carriers will no longer handle firearms meant it had to be transported by hand which
added to the problem.

I describe this as if I had not sent my guns for service the problem would not have been spotted and would have
occurred during the season which could have spoilt some of my early grouse days when double guns may be
shot. The moral to the tale is to have shotguns serviced in good time. With only four months until the start of
the season I know all the gunsmiths are becoming quite busy.

One other point to consider is to have a spare shotgun with you on a shoot day. Last season there were a number
of occasions when shotguns failed and surprisingly many were new or nearly new guns. When this happens
there is normally a spare gun available. However not everyone wishes to loan his spare gun and it will inevitably
not fit. An inexpensive spare gun, fitted for you or at least with a stock of a length suitable for you is well worth
having with you on a shoot day.

If you are looking for a competent gunsmith I can highly recommend Steve Baren on 07786 370848 who works
out of the Yorkshire Gun Room. The Gun Room is only 5 minutes’ drive from Ripley and Steve is available on
most shoot days at either Ripley Castle or Mountgarret either loading or helping on the Shoot.
If you are considering buying a shotgun, I do suggest you have it fitted. Finding a competent gun dealer and
gunsmith is not easy. However I am pleased to advise we have this facility available 5 minutes’ drive from
Ripley Castle.

The Yorkshire Gun Room and Shooting Ground, Bishop Thornton, Nr Harrogate HG3 3JN
Tel: 01765 620602 E-mail sales@yorkshiregunroom.com www.yorkshiregunroom.com
Jeff Lupton, who in his younger years was a clay pigeon champion, holds an extensive stock of shotguns and
rifles so is well worth a visit. If you are considering buying a shotgun you can try it first on the shooting ground.
Jeff also offers a shotgun storage service which has proved very useful for many of my Shoot Members.
Finally and most importantly, for actual shotgun fitting you will find it very hard to find anything better than the
combined knowledge and experience of Jeff and Steve. I do strongly recommend their services.

INSTRUCTORS AND LOADERS
Over the years I have convinced many of my friends that having someone to look after you on the day can be a
real advantage and improves your performance. It also gives you plenty of time to work your dog at the end of a
drive when you don’t need to worry about your gun or clearing up your spent cartridges.

For anyone new to and with limited driven game shooting experience it is essential. On the grouse Moor not
many guns now shoot without a loader, even when shooting with single guns. Having two pairs of eyes spotting
on the Moor, I feel really improves your day. After over 50 years of driven game shooting I now never shoot
without a loader. I do not feel double guns are necessary on partridge or pheasant, however for grouse on some
days it can improve your performance. On our Shoot we only shoot double guns on grouse and this is very much
an option.

Having a loader to stuff cartridges is very useful, however having one of our loader/instructors to show you
where you are possibly going wrong, really does improve your day. My encouraging guns to have someone with
them has given me a problem as our instructor/loaders are now in big demand, not only on our Shoot but by guns
taking them elsewhere. So for this reason if you wish to have someone to look after you could you please let me
know as soon as possible. Cost remains as previous seasons £90 for the instructor/loader and £50 for shotgun
hire if required.
As always lead and non-toxic cartridges for 12 and 20 gauge are available to purchase on every shoot day.

FOUR WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLES
There will always be adequate parking to leave your car all day and everyone is welcome to bring their own four
wheeled drive vehicle, there is no restriction as to the number on the day, however I prefer no-one to be on their
own, unless this is necessary for private phone calls etc. If you travel to the Shoot by car, there is normally space
available in the other guns vehicles for you to travel with them. However please bear in mind that not everyone
wishes to give a wet muddy dog a lift in their vehicle so your dogs would travel with my Keepers.

COURTESY FOUR WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE
As more and more guns are traveling some distance by car to shoot with us, we now have available on each
shoot day a long wheeled based Land Rover Station Wagon together with a driver. Each vehicle will seat up to
five passengers comfortably. Your dog(s) would travel with my Keepers. There is no charge for this service but
I would appreciate if you could book this as soon as possible. Just in case, as happened on a number of
occasions last season when we required both courtesy Land Rovers out on the same shoot day.

NEW BROCHURE AND WEBSITE UPDATE
During June you will receive a copy of this season’s brochure. This new publication includes details of the
Shoot Day, Information on an increased number of Hotels, Meeting Places and Insurance together with Risk
Assessments. It is important that all guns and non-shooting guests receive a copy. Additional copies are
available from Lynda on 01423 323321 or e-mail info@ripleycastleshoot,co.uk or can be downloaded from our
website. The reason I mention this now is that it should be read in conjunction with our website
www.ripleycastleshoot.com . This is undergoing an upgrade at present which should be completed by June.
The new brochure has only a few photographs so for an illustrated guide to the Shoot we have a web page Photo
Gallery which is well worth visiting.

GAME FAIRS 2016
As advised in my previous Newsletter the CLA have given up their ownership of their Game Fair. This has
brought about a very unfortunate “free for all” in Game Fairs. There are now three main Game Fairs this year.

Field & Country Fair, Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2016 at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
UK Game Fair, Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th July 2016 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire
The Game Fair, Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July 2016 at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire

As I expressed in my previous Newsletter I am very disappointed and personally feel the hand over at the Game
Fair was badly managed by the CLA. It all happened far too slowly giving other parties interested in putting on
their own show sufficient time to advertise and get their show off the ground.

I will be attending The Game Fair at Ragley Hall. However I will not be arranging any refreshments for
Exclusive Members as I have in the past as I prefer to see how the new Game Fair performs.

HOTELS
As Harrogate will be having a busy conference and exhibition season together with an increased number of
weddings at Ripley Castle. The Boar’s Head Hotel is becoming well booked. We have special rates for Shoot
Members for the new season so I strongly recommend you book your accommodation now.

WEDDINGS
Finally the very best news of all with three of our Keepers getting married this year.
David Cockshott our Head Keeper at Ripley Castle to Caroline Lacks on Saturday 12th May.
Joel Banner our Moorland Keeper on Hardcastle to Emma Palmer on Saturday 23rd July
In August; Matthew Pillar our Assistant Keeper at Ripley Castle to Sarah Hotham who also helps on the rearing
field and beats on most shoot days at Ripley Castle.

I am sure you will all join me in wishing them a long and happy life together.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks for your support and I will keep you advised of our further progress.
By Frank Boddy 01 Apr, 2016
REVIEW OF OUR 2015-2016 SEASON
Our season started on Hardcastle Moor on 12th August with a day to celebrate the life of our very good
friend Craig Smith. Sophie, his wife and her father and a number of his close friends attended. After
the first drive at Jack Hole we unveiled a Cain built by our Keepers to remember Craig as I know he
viewed the grouse Moor as his second home.

The refreshments proved more of a success on the day than the bag!! Our excuse was the very still
warm conditions. In the evening we dined on grouse shot that day at The Malt Shovel at Brearton, one
of Craig’s favourite haunts. Although a day of mixed emotions it was very memorable and I am sure
Craig would have approved.

As always the weather dictates the success or otherwise of our season, with our overall bag well down
on the Moor compared to recent seasons there are a number of theories. However as always our grouse
will keep everyone guessing.

A very severe frost hit the lower ground moors in Nidderdale just as the broods were hatching with
many chicks perishing through cold and lack of available insect life. The higher Moors hatched seven
to ten days later when the frost has ceased. Hence our neighbouring higher moors, Grimwith,
Ramsgill, Stean and Scar all had a more acceptable season.
We did have a good stock at the top of Heathfield which is higher ground, hence a better return from
Heathfield compared to Hardcastle. It is worth noting that returns throughout the country were variable
and overall down. On the Derbyshire Moors hardly a shot was fired.
The partridge season at Ripley Castle and Eagle Hall & Ashfold Side started with the now seasonal
warm still weather. However due to the excellent condition of our birds they flew well. I can recall
some of the most challenging partridge I have ever experienced.
The warm still conditions continued through October then it started to rain and in short never really
stopped until the end of January when the sun came out. The difference between each day was how
hard it rained! We did not experience any “winter” shooting as we only had two days of frost and half
a day of snow.
These conditions proved very difficult for George, David and their teams. Not apparent to the guns on
a shoot day but our birds were wandering everywhere and quite often there was some concern that we
would actually have sufficient birds in the drives for the daily bag. They were definitely on our ground
but not necessarily where we wanted them! However everything worked out well overall.
All in all I feel we had a brilliant but wet season which may have been our best ever. This was
certainly due to the excellent condition of our birds which produce some very challenging shooting,
thanks to the hard work by George, David and their teams.
As we now seem to be experiencing “climate change” running a shoot may be even more challenging
in the future. I am confident our “Team” will as always rise to the challenge. I do however suggest
you bring three waterproof coats each day in the future not one or two!!

RIPLEY CASTLE : NIDD : HOB GREEN AND CAYTON 2016-2017
The relentless rain last season has certainly damaged many of our tracks. However due to our keeping
these in good repair to a high standard by our policy of annual maintenance, this damage is not as bad
as it could be. Any track work will need to be left until the ground dries up.

NEW THIS SEASON ON ALL RIPLEY CASTLE SHOOT DAYS
Breakfast in the Dining Room of Ripley Castle
The main change to our arrangements for the new season is that on every day at Ripley Castle,
Members, Keepers, Ladies and McRipley Days we will now meet for a full breakfast in the dining
room of Ripley Castle. Access to the Castle will be by the main entrance and we will park outside the
Castle. Any vehicles which are parked all day should be left in the Boar’s Head car park or nearby but
not in the Castle grounds.

We will continue to take lunch at 12.30 p.m. each day in the Shoot Cabin at Birthwaite however this
will now be provided by Ripley Castle catering staff. Advent Catering will still be providing the Shoot
Box lunches on the Moor.

Amended confirmation detailing these new meeting and breakfast arrangements will be sent out before
the start of our season.

MOUNTGARRET 2016-2017
As most of you will be aware I have taken the Sporting lease on this 2,000 acre shoot which borders
our present Ripley Castle Shoot. I propose running the Mountgarret Shoot as a stand-alone Shoot
separate to Ripley Castle.

Although pheasant will remain the mainstay of the Shoot, the untapped potential is in partridge. With
the support of the farmers I have increased the area of game cover from 20 to 85 acres. This will create
a number of new drives which should be ideal for both pheasant and partridge.
I am planning to field teams two days each week with a variety of bags, 200, 250 or 300 birds. We also
have a very well appointed traditional Shoot Lodge where we will take breakfast, lunch and afternoon
tea. In addition to our normal shoot days we are fielding a few Boundary Days. These will be run by
Head Keeper Martin Nesham.

Everyone keeps asking me what will Mountgarret be like. The more I visit and view the positioning of
the woodlands, game cover and actual proposed lines of guns. As always I do not wish to oversell but
really do feel it will be an excellent Shoot. However the only way for you to really know is to try it
yourself.

EAGLE HALL & ASHFOLD SIDE 2016-2017
As at Ripley Castle the tracks have suffered from the persistent rain and will be repaired once the area
dries up. It is difficult to improve on what George has created over the last 12 years however as always
I am sure he will have some surprises for us.

HARDCASTLE AND HEATHFIELD MOORS 2016-2017
We left an ample stock of fit birds but unfortunately it is an old stock which is not as productive as a
stock of young birds. A grouse is old once it is more than one year old.
We carried out a pair’s count which was acceptable but not exceptional. So we should have a season
but as always there is no way of really knowing how good it will be. This is what makes grouse so
special.

SHOOT DINNER 2016
We had another very enjoyable and entertaining evening with 85 Landlords, Members, Guests and staff
attending.

SHOOT DINNER 2017
This has been arranged for Saturday 11th February, so please make a note in your diary.

AVAILABLE SHOOT DAYS
Although we have had an excellent take up of days and I do thank everyone who has booked their
shooting for the new season. With the Mountgarret Shoot coming available after the bulk of our days
had been taken there are now more days than usual still available. There are also a number of new days
not included in previous lists. I do hope there will be something to suit you.

EXCLUSIVE DAYS
Any day in the enclosed list of available days where no guns have been taken can become an Exclusive
day with the target bag tailored to suit the host.

EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIP
As in our last three seasons this will be available to everyone who spends £2,500 or more before VAT
on shoot fees during the season.
Benefits include:
• Discounts on last minute available on selected unsold days.
• Discounts on clothing and accessories at selected retail store.
I hope to increase the benefits so any ideas would be most welcome.

CHARITY FUND
As in the past everyone has been extremely generous in supporting our daily sweep, fines, guest lunches and the
competitions at the annual Shoot Dinner. This has been an exceptional season and we have raised an impressive
total of £16,500.
The fund has been distributed as follows:
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust; North Yorkshire Branch £7,000
The Gamekeepers Welfare Network £1,500
The Songbird Survival Trust £500
PPR Foundation: Pam Roberts aims to raise £1M for Brain Tumour Research £2,410
The Eve Appeal: Ladies-shooting.com official charity £1,280
The Tanfield Grouse Charity Clay Day £500
The Princes Trust: Richard Jackson’s charity bonfire £500
The Princes Trust £400
Myeloma UK: Sir Thomas Ingilby’s sponsored walk £500
Essex Air Ambulance £190
Focus Ireland: Dublin’s homeless charity £310
-----------
£15,090
Held in hand for other opportunities during the year £1,410
-----------
Total £16,500
-----------
I am always looking for new worthwhile causes allied to our sport or our Shoot Members. Please let me know if
you know of any.

GAME FAIRS 2016
As you will be aware the CLA have given up their ownership of their Game Fair. This has brought about a very
unfortunate “free for all” in Game Fairs. There are now three main Game Fairs this year.
Field & Country Fair, Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June 2016 at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
UK Game Fair, Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th June 2016 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire
The Game Fair, Friday 29th to Sunday 31st July 2016 at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire
I personally feel the hand over at the Game Fair was badly managed by the CLA. It all happened far too slowly
giving other parties interested in putting on their own show sufficient time to advertise and get their show off the
ground.

I am not sure which Game Fair I will be attending this year as it is a very fragmented market. If I do it will be
the one at Ragley Hall. However I will not be arranging anything for Exclusive Members as I have in the past as
I prefer to see how the new Game Fair performs.

INSTRUCTORS AND LOADERS
It may seem very early, however demand has been excellent this year so if you would like to have someone to
look after you, please let me know as soon as possible.

HOTELS
As Harrogate will be having a busy conference and exhibition season together with an increased number of
weddings at Ripley Castle. The Boar’s Head Hotel is becoming well booked. We have special rates for Shoot
Members for the new season so I strongly recommend you book your accommodation now.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks for your support and I will keep you advised of our further progress.
By Frank Boddy 01 Feb, 2016
We know our season has ended as the rain has nearly stopped and the sun is thinking about coming out!!

All in all, even with the relentless rain, we experienced some exceptional sport which I feel may have given us our best season ever. There seems to be no let-up in the demand for days in the new season, so I thought I should keep you advised on availability. I will be issuing a Newsletter shortly on our last season, however in the meantime I am pleased to keep you updated on our new Shoot on the Mountgarret Estate.

THE MOUNTGARRET SHOOT
When I took the Sporting Lease I knew the Shoot would be good but did not appreciate how good it really would be. There are some challenging pheasant drives and I propose improving these even further by changing the strain of our pheasant. The Bezante strain together with a few Kansas cross Bezante and Manchurians have given excellent sport at Ripley Castle over recent seasons. I propose catching up and removing as many as possible of the old stock in order to rest the land prior to releasing Bezante poults in July. Although the pheasant will remain the mainstay of our Shoot, the
untapped potential is in partridge.

With the support of the farmers I have agreed a number of new areas of game cover which will increase the number of drives by 30%.

In the past the shoot has fielded teams twice each week. I propose a similar number of days and this increase in drives will make it possible to rest each drive for a longer period. As we all know resting drives always improves the overall performance of the birds.

We are releasing an increased number of French partridge together with a few English partridge. I appreciate the latter is very much a gamble so we must wait and see what happens. As we will now have game cover in areas which will be ideal for partridge. We will field 3 days in September then 2 days each week from October onwards. I appreciate that as the majority of our early season drives are new and will never have been shot before, anything can happen and no doubt it will! So the only way to know what the new drives and the actual shoot are like is to experience them first hand. I have therefore decided to offer our first five days as “guinea pig days” (no I am not releasing any of these) at a much reduced rate. As always there will be no overages and we always plan to shoot in excess of the target bag each day.

PROPOSED EARLY SEASON “GUINEA PIG DAYS”
200 bird / 9 gun days at £685 per gun plus VAT.

Dates: Wednesday 14th, Wednesday 21st and Thursday 29th September. Wednesday 5th and Saturday 8th October.

I am pleased to attach a list of available dates and do hope the selection of days will give you something workable in order that you can try the Shoot for yourself. Full days are available on any day where no guns have been taken but we are finding the majority of our days are taken by individual guns and small parties making up the team.

Each day will start at 8.30 a.m. with bacon buns, tea and coffee in our very traditional and wellappointed Shoot Lodge at South Stainley. We will plan to shoot 3 to 4 drives in the morning with a very tasty lunch in the Shoot Lodge around 12.30 p.m. provided by the present caterer Amanda Firth. Dependant on the day and bag achieved by lunchtime we will plan to shoot 1 or 2 drives in the afternoon. As always we will take drinks and refreshments after most of the drives and the day will end with afternoon tea in the Shoot Lodge.

I am offering these days at a competitive rate but in turn I am looking to yourselves for feedback, good and bad, as to how we can make changes necessary for the future. Always remember no matter how well any establishment is run there is always room for improvement. This certainly applies to most Shoots and even ours!

I recommend 4 x 4 vehicles although the well maintained estate roads connect most of the drives. We also have a courtesy Land Rover Station Wagon available each day with a driver however if you require this some prior notice would be appreciated. Walking is kept to a minimum except in very wet conditions.

Although I plan a number of changes to the Shoot. It is most important that we maintain past traditions as you will experience when you visit on your shoot days.

I would like as many of you as possible to join me on this new adventure and look forward to hearing from you.
By Frank Boddy 01 Jan, 2016
Since issuing my Newsletter No. 1 and shoot calendar for the new season to everyone who has shot with us in 2015-2016, I am delighted to report you have kept me very busy with over 70% of available days now taken up. I do thank you for all your support which as always I really do appreciate. Nothing stands still on our Shoot and I have some exciting news.

THE EIGHTEENTH VISCOUNT AND VISCOUNTESS MOUNTGARRET AND FAMILY
After living away from their Mountgarret Estate at Nidd for some time Lord Piers and Lady Fenella Mountgarret returned to the family residence in August 2015 together with their three daughters Alexa, Morgan and Venetia. No sooner had they returned than their son Theo arrived on 11th October 2015.

As you can imagine they have their hands full at present. Both are keen game shots and hope to join the Shoot in the new season.

THE MOUNTGARRET ESTATE SHOOT
Now supposedly in retirement! I find I have a little more time available to indulge myself in my favourite hobby of running shoots!! I am delighted to advise I have been very fortunate in taking the Sporting Lease on The Mountgarret Estate Shoot. At present I have a lease on the Mountgarret Estate grouse Moor on Hardcastle together with the Nidd Beat of the Estate.

This 2,500 acre shoot is a real gem. For as long as records show it has been run as the Mountgarret Family Shoot. Its heyday would have been in the Victorian/Edwardian era. I understand it was then a wild grey partridge and hand reared pheasant Shoot. It would be wonderful to bring back grey partridge but sadly the ever increasing uncontrolled numbers 1of raptors together with modern farming  methods make it difficult to attempt.

The land is best described as rolling lowland together with well-placed wild bird cover, the latter being something I plan to increase.

I have been fortunate to shoot the Estate in the past and know it can produce some very challenging birds. In recent years it has been very successfully run by the Agent and Trustees as a traditional driven pheasant and French partridge Shoot. Thankfully avoiding becoming too commercial and just as importantly, avoided over stocking which is sadly becoming far too prevalent on many shoots today. I appreciate it may be hard to improve, however I hope to introduce a few new ideas but certainly do not wish to lose the traditions of the past. I propose running the Shoot as a stand-alone shoot with Head Keeper Martin Nesham who has been with the Estate for 18 years.

MOUNTGARRET SHOOT: ORDER OF THE DAY
As it will be all new to me anything may change as the season progresses. However the following is how I propose running the Mountgarret Shoot!

I plan to shoot two days each week fielding 9 guns with target bags of 200, 250 and 300 birds. The costs will be the same as at Ripley Castle.

The shoot day will start at 8.30 a.m. with bacon buns, tea/coffee in the Shoot Lodge at South Stainley. We will shoot 3 to 4 drives in the morning with a tasty lunch in the Shoot Lodge around 12.30 p.m. Dependant on the day and bag achieved by lunchtime we will shoot a further 1 or 2 drives in the afternoon.

We will take a number of drinks breaks between drives and the day will end with afternoon tea in the Shoot Lodge.

I would like as many of you as possible to experience the Mountgarret Shoot so please feel free to move any of your dates already booked at Ripley Castle to the Mountgarret Shoot.

I enclose details of the dates we will be shooting the Mountgarret Estate included in an updated list of
our other available dates in 2016-2017.

I also enclose “Shoot Day Information” for 2016-2017.

I look forward to hearing from you.
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