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The Fur Feather & Fin Guide To Shooting

Essential Beating Kit

If you’re new to beating then you may be wondering what it is you’ll actually need to wear and take with you. Whilst all shoots differ, here is the basic kit that you will definitely need if you are going to enjoy yourself. Woodland shooting beating essential kit | Gloves waterproofs chaps leggings gun dogs stick hat fleece | Fur Feather and Fin country living and sporting gifts

Boots & Gaiters — Wellies are great but very few, if any, offer the proper foot and ankle support you ought to have when spending an entire day tramping up and down hills through rough ground. A good pair of waterproof boots in conjunction with a decent pair of gaiters will keep your feet and lower legs supported, protected, and relatively dry. Waxed Leggings/Chaps — personally I prefer chaps as they are very easy to remove, and allow your nether regions to breathe! If you’re worried about a wet backside then leggings are the best way to go, they also tend to be a little better at keeping you dry. Base Layer — If you aren’t sweating when you’re on a beating line then there’s something wrong. When you’re clothes become damp from the inside it’s far more uncomfortable than when they become damp from the outside. A simple way of combating this is a wicking base layer, which also helps to keep you warm. Fleece— As well as being a good insulator to help keep you warm, fleece is also quick drying and helps to wick moisture away from your body.  It is also lightweight, reasonably rain-proof, and tends to be reasonably priced. Waterproofs— if the weather gets truly savage, it may be necessary to break out the waterproofs. Thin plastic-type waterproofs will last about a minute when you’re beating your way through dense undergrowth. You will need either heavy PVC/PVC lined waterproofs, or heavy waxed waterproofs. Gloves — No one likes having cold hands, and you can’t walk along with them in your pockets when you’re beating as you need them for balance. You don’t need anything too special as long as they make and attempt at being waterproof, and you’re able to hold your stick or a warm drink. Stick — A stick is always a useful thing on a beat. It gives you additional support and allows you to spread your weight on a climb, and also is useful to whack against trees and ground to help corral the birds in the correct direction. Hat — Keeping the rain out of your eyes, as well as your head warm! Dog & Whistle — Dog’s aren’t for everyone, and neither is gundog training. An untrained dog has no place on a beating line, and best case scenario is it will ruin the paid-guns day (you can forget your invite in the future!). Worst case scenario is it will be accidentally shot or seriously injure itself. If you want to be able to take your dog beating, it will need a considerable amount of training first. The basics can be found in our gundog training articles, after which you should seek the advice of the shoots keepers as to who can help you bring your dog along.

CLA Game Fair 2014

It’s the time of year when the ladies and gentlemen of the country loving world proudly don their Tweed flat caps and come along to help celebrate the Great British countryside with the other keen attendees at this year’s CLA Game Fair. CLAA Game Fair From Friday 18th to Sunday 20th July 2014 the annual event will take place at Blenheim Palace to become the CLA Game Fair’s 56th year of the event’s history, and if you are looking to attend a country fair this year, then this is the one that is simply not to be missed. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy an action-packed programme that will offer them the chance to watch some of the best country sportsmen do what they do best and spectators can even see how they fare when they have a go themselves. Gunmakers Row will also be packed with the very best and latest shooting products in the industry, so be sure to come and see us at Stand S650 for barrel loads of shooting accessories, clothing and gifts. Fancy a go on clay shooting range, stepping up to the archery range, or maybe the fishing village is more your thing? There’s fantastic variety of field sports and country pursuits on offer to try your hand at, from beginners to experts, there’s something to be enjoyed. Don’t forget to catch the 4x4 off-road course displays where exciting displays will be taking place either. Finally, for dog owners and enthusiasts there will be a number of top professionals going head-to-head in a host of Gundog competitions, again, simply not to be missed! We look forward to seeing you there!

Keeping warm this winter

The winter season may appear to get in the way of going out and shooting or beating, however, with the right equipment, it is something you can do all year round. Here's how to brave the elements and enjoy a winter's day in the country: Winter shooting | Keeping warm this winter | Fur Feather and Fin country living and gifts

Layering… Layering is the term that refers to wearing several layers of clothing rather than one bulky garment. The science behind this is that air is trapped in between the layers of clothing — air is a very poor conductor of heat so these layers of air prevent heat from escaping from your body. Layers can be broken down into three categories; Base, Middle, and Outer layers:   Base layer — Modern base layers are usually made of a close-fitting comfortable synthetic fabric designed to wick moisture (perspiration) away from your body as it is produced. The importance of removing moisture will be explained later in the waterproofing section. Middle layer — This is often referred to as the insulating layer, and can actually be up to two or three layers of insulating clothing such as a microfleece, thick shirt, and jumper. How many middle layers you wear will depend on just how cold it is, but in the UK one or two is the norm. Outer layer — The outer layer, usually a heavy coat or waterproof, is designed to protect your base and middle layers from the elements (wind and rain). If cold air or water is able to get to your other layers they will be rendered useless.   Waterproofing… Water conducts heat from the human body 20 times faster than air, so the moment perspiration builds up or rain gets in you are set for a miserable outing! In my opinion, there is no such thing as a breathable waterproof coat! Better quality coats will be rain-proof to a point, but after enough driving wind the rain will be driven into the pores that usually allow air to circulate. That isn’t to say that some coats will not keep you dry all day in the rain, but it is a rarity so don’t expect too much from such items if the weather is utterly foul. To be truly waterproof a garment needs to be made of something that will hold water, such as PVC, heavily waxed cotton, or treated leather. It will also need to have either no seams or very well made and placed seams. The trouble with true waterproofs is they tend to be heavy, as well as rather sticky inside once you start moving around. There’s no magic trick here unfortunately, heavy waxed outers are probably the best all round compromise in wet weather country days out.   Hats… Contrary to popular myth, you only lose approximately 10% of your body heat from your head. Nevertheless this is enough to make you feel uncomfortable, so a hat & scarf to keep your noggin warm and dry is always a good idea.   Footwear… I generally wear a pair of leather and Gore-Tex wellies, then vary the thickness of my socks to suit the weather. However everyone’s needs will be different as no two people or environment are the same. My choice was struck on a compromise between comfort, waterproofing, durability, and style (in that order as those are my personal priorities). Probably the most popular option is to have a pair of Neoprene lined wellies for the wet and cold, and a pair of brogues when conditions are more civil.   Alcohol… Alcohol does not warm you, this myth comes from a basic misunderstanding. When we are cold our blood vessels contract and move away from the surface of our skin (making us appear pale or blue!). When we then enter a warm environment we find it difficult to absorb external heat as our blood is being kept away from the external environment. Alcohol Expands blood vessels, so drinking when you are outside will actually make you colder, because more blood vessels will be exposed to the environment and heat will be exchanged from your blood to the cold air around. Drinking once you get back into the warm will however aid warmth as it allows your blood vessels to expand and absorb the external heat. It’s worth mentioning that this can also result in broken blood vessels as often blood vessels expand too quickly due to alcohol. Having said all of this, what would a day’s shooting or beating be without the customary end-of-day tipple or sup from the hip flask! Always drink responsibly —   Getting on with it!... Ultimately the best way to stay warm and dry is to simply get on with it — a bit of wind and rain won’t kill you, and the right clothing will soften the effects. Moving around will generate warmth and help dry you off. Smile, enjoy yourself, and wear the right kit!

Strong grouse season predicted on Glorious Twelfth

Grouse Season Shooting Scotland | Glorious Twelfth Lapwig Curlew Estates | Fur Feather Fin Country Lifestyle GiftsThis year’s grouse shooting season looks set to be a memorable one if the nation’s best gamekeepers are proved to be correct. With the Glorious Twelfth celebrated today, gamekeepers say prospects for the season look good thanks to the mild winter and warm spring we’ve experienced this year. While those conditions are believed to have boosted grouse numbers the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) says prospects are also good for the threatened curlew and lapwig species.

Excellent heather management and predator control by gamekeepers has helped produce a surplus of grouse for sport, which has also benefitted the threatened curlews and lapwigs. “The prospects for the grouse season look good,” SGA chairman Alex Hogg has reported. “The weather has been right for the birds, and they’ve feathered up well, while there’s also been enough water and a healthy insect hatch.” Mr Hogg said that it should secure a good season for sporting visitors to the Highlands, which will, in turn, help Scotland’s small rural communities, its tourism businesses, shops and retailers. The season is expected to net Scotland’s economy around £32m. While the economic benefits of a good season are welcome, Mr Hogg said he was more pleased to see Scotland’s native birds thriving. He said: “The most pleasing thing for us, is the fate of our fragile species." Mr Hogg added how conservation work by gamekeepers has seen a full head count take place of all the country’s curlews and lapwigs — work paid for by grouse. “Since sustainable grouse shooting helps estates to pay keepers for such vital conservation work without public money,” Mr Hogg argued, “the season helps to prevent afforestation of vast swathes of Scotland’s heather moorland, which is more endangered than the rainforest. To celebrate the Glorious Twelfth why not buy one of our charming grouse themed products? You could have breakfast from a grouse egg cup before putting on one of several silk grouse ties and heading out to shoot.

Guide to applying for a Firearms Licence

When you first start shooting, you are often regaled with numerous stories about how difficult it was to get a firearms licence. Common myths include:

  • “You need land in order to get a firearms licence”
  • “You won’t get one if you have any history of significant physical or mental health”
  • “You’ll need to set up Fort Knox to keep your guns safe”
  • “It’s very expensive”

Below is a step-by-step guide to applying for your first firearms and/or shotgun licence that dispels some of the more common myths and pitfalls.

firearms licence forms waiting to be filled out

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Join Us at the British Shooting Show

Here at Fur Feather and Fin, we’re preparing for one of the biggest annual events on our shooting calendar – the British Shooting Show! Next weekend from the 15th-17thFebruary, this renowned event will take place at the NEC Birmingham and will welcome both retailers and visitors from across the nation to discover the very latest shooting ranges from some of the industry’s biggest brands. From air rifles, pistols and shotguns to ammunition, clothing and footwear, there’s so much to see at this year’s British Shooting Show. To help you make the most of your visit, we’ve put together a brief guide to what’s on offer to browse throughout the weekend: 

A man shooting a gun into the air

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The Best Shooting Jackets 2019

Though the shooting season is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kitting yourself out with quality shooting gear that can also be used for a variety of country pursuits in the intervening months before the season returns. It is always good to prepare yourself for outdoor activities you partake in, so we have put together a list of our best ladies and men’s shooting jackets for 2019 available on our website.

Alan Paine Berwick Waterproof Coat

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Quarry Species and Shooting Seasons Explained | Infographic

While shooting is a popular field sport for many, it is often difficult to know what species can be shot legally, as well as when the best time to shoot is. Across the UK, there are an extensive variety of game birds, waterfowl and other bird species that can be shot during certain seasons; at different times of the year, it becomes illegal to shoot them. This lawful block on shooting enables many bird species to recuperate, breed, and move to and from nesting or wintering grounds before the season starts once again.

A man wearing Alan Paine Combrook Shooting Vest Lovat and a tweed cap.

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All About: Aigle

At Fur Feather & Fun, we stock a wide range of country clothing for all manner of countryside pursuits for men, women and children. In this post, we are taking a closer look at one of the finest brands that produce clothing and footwear for country activities: Aigle.

Aigle Wellington boots available at Fur Feather & Fin

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