It is safe to say that the 2020/2021 season was anything but normal.
I would firstly like to thank and congratulate the estates, for persevering throughout a season that brought with it so many challenges and for coping so well with the unknown territory that we found ourselves in. Although a very frustrating time for the guns, it must have been a soul-destroying time for the game keepers.
We got off to a great start in August with the grouse and the positive momentum continued throughout the majority of the grouse season. As was to become the norm, every day was socially distanced and the catering arrangements were altered in such a way as to keep everyone safe.
September and October continued in this way and we had one of the best partridge seasons that I can remember. Everything was teed up to be a great season!
Then came the lockdown. With the whole of November written off and shooting unable to continue, most of the days due to take place were rescheduled to December and January. This meant that the estates had to try to rearrange their diaries to fit three months’ shooting into two! This put more pressure on the estates and staff, but every effort was being made so as not to disappoint the eager teams of guns.
Although the changes were far from ideal, we had the most amazing December and with all the birds having had a month’s rest, they performed and held well. However, as is typical of this season, just as we were flying through the days… we were once again hit by another lockdown. It was inevitable, with so many new daily cases of Covid-19 and a new strain of the virus, that another lockdown would be put in place.
In summary, we should be thankful for the days that we were able to enjoy. Shooting has shown itself to be resilient and inventive and we have all learnt a great deal from the situation. It has made us all stronger and allows us to look forward to a much better 2021/22 shooting season with confidence. I am sure that at the speed in which the vaccine is now being rolled out, we will be able to enjoy those memorable days together in the field. It is now an important time to support the estates that have supported us, throughout a very difficult time, in order that we can enjoy what they offer for many seasons to come.
If we have not spoken already regarding next season, I very much look forward to catching up with you again over the next few weeks.