There’s no better way to shop this year

‘Tis the season to be jolly, particularly with the magnificent news that shooting has reopened, so  with time better spent in the field we’ve made Christmas shopping very easy for you this year. 

1. Recall who you need to buy for. 
2. Make your choice from our suggestions. 
3. Get back out in the field & wait for the post. 

Your item will arrive with our stylish wrapping & we can add a personalised tag. 

Enjoy shopping!



– Our 8-Piece, Bond or Flat Cap in Kirkton or Teviot (size s).
– Warm and comfortable Casual Sweatshirt in grey or blue with gold lettering (size s).
– The easy care everyday Casual T-Shirt in grey or blue (size s).

– Tactical Mesh Cap in blue or a snapback in camo is the perfect gift for 16+.
– Bond Cap in Tweed for young adults who spend time in the countryside.
– The Linen Shirt for smarter days.
– Any of the Casual range such as Shorts, Sweatshirt or T-Shirt in blue or grey would be appreciated. …or go for the sets of T-shirt, shorts, long socks, baseball cap priced from £60-£140.

– Lambswool Gilet (as featured in “Best Gilet” in The Field) in navy or brown (works well over a polo neck).
– Hickory Umbrella that is wide enough for two people, very romantic.
– Alpaca Day Socks for warm toes indoors or outdoors. Choose from blue, brown and charcoal.
– 8-Piece or Flat Cap in Teviot and add the matching gilet for an extra snazzy gift set.

– Flat Cap in Kirkton is a classic look with added style.
– Lambswool Gilet (as featured in “Best Gilet” in The Field) or Shooting Vest for those who require more pockets.
– Buffalo Horn Crooks & Sticks to accompany walks.

– Teflon Coated Tweed Breeks (we can help you with sizing if you are unsure)
– Tweed Shooting Vest, perhaps in matching tweed or great on it’s own.
– Go the whole 50 yards and add the 2-Button Tweed Jacket.

– The Best Rest Bundle (T-shirt, shorts)
– The Video Conferencing Bundle (T-shirt, shorts, long socks)
– Crooks & Sticks handmade in The Scottish Borders
– Alpaca Shooting Socks
– Casual Shorts in Blue or Grey
– The Linen Shirt 
– Caps & Hats 
– Casual Sweatshirt
– Casual T-Shirt
Don’t forget to order your gift, to you, with love from the dog…

Fieldsports Photographer George Gunn – For The Love Of Game

On day 10 of our “12 Days of Shooting”, and ahead of the upcoming shooting season, Benedict & Hott chats with internationally renowned lifestyle and rural photojournalist George Gunn.

Widely regarded as a leading fieldsport photographer, he is a passionate supporter of all rural, whether it be fishing in Iceland, photographing shooting parties Worldwide or creating lifestyle shoots. He is an ambassador for both the British Game Alliance & The Country Food Trust, and is recognised as a passionate wildlife supporter. 

Tell us about George Gunn, how/why photography?

I have always been surrounded by farming, from an early age. As I grew up on the Angmering Park Estate in West Sussex and spent most my life outdoors. We were lucky enough to live by the sea in my teens so if I wasn’t out beating in the winter, then I’d be kite surfing in the summer. I also wanted to travel, and with this was my introduction to photographer. I realised I could see the world and do something that I love. I found the pair worked very closely together travel and making a career out of photographer and then worked brilliantly together.

A day in the life of G.G, what does it look like?

Sadly, it’s not as exciting as you’d think! I’m either spending most the day editing, whilst sat at a desk or driving for hours, to often stand in the rain! Taking the photos, is actually such a small part of the job. 

You’ve been on hundreds of shoot days, what makes a “good one”?

A great atmosphere. Whether I’m shooting or photographing. If everyone is having a good day and the atmosphere is exciting, then you know it’s going to be good day.  Whether you’re walking up pheasants in Norfolk or driven grouse in Scotland; if you’re with the right people, you’ll have the best time. 

Best or most exciting wildlife sighting on a moor?

My most exciting was watching a peregrine falcon hunting on the moors. To see them pick their prey and dive at 200mph is pretty exciting and awe inspiring. I’ve only ever really seen these types of birds on moorlands managed for grouse keeping.  

In your experience, what is the first lesson people learn on a moor?

It’s unpredictable. The weather, the shooting. Even walking to the butts can be a challenge with peat bogs etc. Can be sunny as you get out the car and snowing when you return. Prepare for the worse, but a brilliant day. 

What don’t you leave the house without, clothing wise?

My boots. Always have good boots and I don’t mean wellies. I mean solid goretex walking books. You need a good bed and good boots because if you’re not in one you’re in the other. 

Why are grouse so special?

Everything about grouse is special. Just how vulnerable they are to breeding. One cold night in May can almost wipe out a whole brood. One great storm can mean they pack up in August. The moorlands are the most incredible places and to be able to work on them is a huge honour.  

We can’t ask what your favourite moor is, but favourite moorland area and why?

I have two answers to this… the North York moors is very special as it’s where I started my career within the grouse circle and I am very lucky to have met and now have some great friends who allowed me to sofa surf, fed and watered me and generally helped me out for years to establish myself in the grouse industry. Then there’s the north Pennines. A huge contrast from Yorkshire. A wild and wet moorland with some stunning views. No two days are the same! 

We all have our own opinions on how important moorland management is, but in your opinion – why is it so important?

Both environmentally and economically, these local communities thrive through the management. Whether it’s tourism walking across the beautiful purple heather moorland unbeknown to them that it’s that beautiful due to management from grouse keepers in August. To the red listed wildlife that benefits from heather burning and pest control all year round. If it wasn’t for the highly skilled individuals that maintain the moorlands they’d turn baron or just be over grazed and the communities would die out. 

Who would be your dream team to photograph and why?

I actually have a dream team. The team photograph normally on the twelfth. Just hard-working guys that love shooting. Nothing pretentious always a great laugh and can all shoot pretty straight too.  

Best shot you’ve seen in action? Or memorable bird?

I have hundreds of great shots. Phil Burt, Ralph Percy, Simon Ward to name a few but probably a friend I often enjoy watch shooting is Jimmy Brough, head keeper at Rosedale and Westerdale. He will outshoot most of these topshots and often does. He kindly took me on a walked-up day a few seasons ago. I am pretty sure between him and his underkeeper Michael they shot most the bag. It is always a pleasure watching those two shoots together. Not much gets passed. 

Contact George regarding bookings for Editorial, Fashion or to document a shoot or hunt day.

Email –

Photo credits – @georgegunnphoto

The Macnab Challenge – A Special Pursuit

With the start of the shooting season just around the corner, important Macnab planning might be underway. A challenge which runs between mid-August and mid-November and in todays “12 days of shooting” post, we will be exploring what the Macnab is and tracing its history. The challenge itself, sound simple; to stalk a stag, bag a brace of grouse and catch a salmon in one day…any fieldsports lover will know that “simple” is not quite the case!

The Macnab challenge originates from the 1925 novel John Macnab, written by John Buchan. It follows three friends who are jaded with their current hunting escapades, so turn to poaching. 

The men, Sir Edward Leithen, MP John Palliser-Yeates and Charles, Earl of Lamancha, yet under the mantle of John Macnab, issue a warning to three Highland estates: that within 48 hours they will remove a salmon, stag and a brace of grouse, undetected, and present it at the door of the house. On this, they stake their reputations. The challenge in the novel continues to inspire people today, and The Field’s Macnab Challenge has become a bucket list item among sporting fans

Today the requirements of poaching and remaining undetected are not part of the challenge. Instead, the rules dictate that the grouse, stag and salmon which have been ‘poached’ are done on an estate where you have been given permission for the challenge to happen. Due to the local habitats of the three animals, the only place to carry out the classic challenge in the UK is in Scotland. 

Most start with what is probably the hardest and most unpredictable element: the salmon. There are debates as to whether you should next pursue grouse or stag, and many would come down in favour of the stag. A good stalker will get you in range of your beast with little disturbance to the surrounding ground, but inevitably your quest for grouse, whether walked-up or over dogs, will send the stags in all directions. Some estates, it is true, have enough ground for this not to matter, and would opt to try for the grouse before the stag.

The Macnab challenge encourages people to take part in game shooting, fly fishing and deer stalking, and supported by a number of official organisations and organised by The Field. The Macnab has also evolved into different challenges, which all still must be completed in one daylight day. These challenges include the Classic Macnab; a salmon on the fly, a stag and brace of grouse and the Real Macnab; a salmon on the fly and a stag, as in the book but must ‘poached’ in a legal and sporting manner.

Other Macnab challenges which can be done in different places around the world are listed below, still within a 24-hour window:

The Macmarsh; a foreshore goose, pike and fallow buck.

The Macscandi; a moose, capercaillie and trout on the fly.

The Southern Macnab; a couple of snipe, sea trout and a roe buck.

The Macvermin; an impressive rat, a pike on the fly and a brace of magpies.

The Macargentinian; a golden dorado, 100 brace of doves and a wild pig.

The Maccharlie; riding to foxhounds, the harriers and staghounds.

The Macafrican; a brace of sandgrouse, an impala and tiger fish.

The Corinthian Macnab; riding to hounds, shooting a brace of partridges and a trout on the fly.

Part of your vital preparation for the Macnab will be making sure your fieldsports apparel is up to the job, whilst still looking the part. Benedict & Hotts’s breeks, linen shirt and shooting vest would be the perfect look for the important day ahead!

To enter The Field’s Macnab challenge, please email for an entry form. 

Photos courtesy of:

George Gunn Photography –

The Field Magazine –

A diamond in the rough, Purdey award winning diamantaire, Richard Vainer – talks grouse.

A true country gent, who takes great delight in arranging someones first day on the moor, in the field or on water. Benedict & Hott, as a part of the 12 days of shooting August campaign, talks to Richard Vainer, an Purdey award winning countryside conservationist, in terms of all things grouse.

Tell us about you first experience with grouse….

I was lucky enough to go grouse shooting in my early 30’s…and It wasn’t quite what I expected! I’d been included in a group of syndicate pals, to try out a moor in Yorkshire… (no names mentioned!) I wasn’t that sure on what to expect, and had the party line of “I just want to try it once” … well, reality was slightly different, it was pouring with rain, then the fog came in and I think the day got cancelled at lunchtime. I wondered what all the fuss was about. 

Fast forward 10 years, when I had much more experience with pheasant and partridge shooting, I was keen once again to give it ago and since then I have never missed a season. For me personally, it’s the anticipation, the excitement, the wildness of a grouse day that I love. 

You’ve been on lots of shoot days, what makes a good one?

Company, without a doubt. Would you prefer to go on the best days shooting, on the best estate, but with terrible company, no. But equally, all mates and terrible shooting isn’t brilliant either. 

A great pal of mine, once said to me “If you knew when the red letters days were, would you even know they were red letters days?” It’s a jigsaw puzzle, and the day is made up of many components, but the main one for me is company. 

Best or most exciting wildlife sighting?

The abundance of wildlife on a moor, is always a fantastic sight. However, for me it would have to be a pack of grouse, going with the wind. A truly magnificent sight and very telling of some fantastic moorland management. 

Why are grouse so special?

It goes without saying the birds are unbelievably. The speed, the movement, they are like no other. 

However, it is the grouse habitat, the management, the moorland that makes the grouse season so unbelievably special. To make a grouse season work and to help grouse survive, there are many components that need to work in harmony with each other, the second one aspect of the ecosystem gets disrupted, the whole system is out of kilter.

The weather, the habitat, heather health, positive spring counts, inclement weather, so many things that could affect this season and effectively collapse it. 

On the flip side, because we are talking of a natural ecosystem, it is easy to collapse, but also easy to build once again. It’s a system who do not see with any other game bird. 

Where would be your dream place to shoot?

For me it’s the company, BUT…. if I have to choose a place, I would have to say the Scottish Highlands, it is the most stunning scenery and not too far from home! Second place would have to be Derbyshire, I have spent many happy shooting days there. 

Moorland management – why is it so important?

The UK is home to 75 percent of the world’s heather moorland, which as a habitat is rarer than rainforest. The majority of the grouse moor landscape in the UK is managed for grouse shooting and funded primarily by private investment – this is the most cost-effective model of upland management to the tax payer, not to mention the carbon offset by peat bogs. It’s a really interesting ecosystem, that wouldn’t survive without such intense management. 

Heather burning, cutting and monitored grazing all play a part, while managing pests, predators and invasive species, controlling disease and ticks, and restoring historically damaged peatland all help towards improving the grouse moor landscape.

What is the one item of clothing that you wouldn’t leave the house without…

Eyewear for protection for sure, and also to stop me squinting. I have to have at least two more items, which would be my guns and my dog for company.

What is the 1st lesson that you learn on a moor…

The basic difference between grouse shooting and pheasant/partridge, is that often you are not shooting into sky and that takes some getting used to. Guns also need to remember that safety is paramount and to not swing through

Another consideration, rather than rule as such is that it is important to remember that you are invited to that moor, due to the brilliant management that has taken place and the keeper believes there is a harvest of grouse that can take place due to numbers being good and consistent. 

Top tips for shooting grouse?

In my experience, some of the best shots that I have seen taken, have been from guns that take the shot early on. These are quick moving birds and you can’t be too precise, it goes without saying, you always have to be 100%s ure your shot is safe, but it’s a habit of getting into the shooting before you might in other forms of game shooting. 

Grouse or salmon?

Some of each please! I am lucky enough to have a great pal who invites me grouse shooting and without wanting go show off too much, we shoot in the morning and fishing in the afternoon. Every countryman’s dream! 

What to wear shooting: cracking the code!

As a part of our 12 days of shooting, today we are covering the ultimate style guide for the main event, the sport in hand.  

Low flying and fast: a challenging combination. Driven grouse shooting can correspond with some of the warmest days of the year, conjuring up images of beautiful still purple moorland, light skies and no need for a raincoat. Often, the reality is that you will be exposed to some extreme weather and end up pretty much braving the elements all day long! As with any day on the peg (or in the butt) it is essential that you are well kitted out, to ensure you can focus your attention on the day and birds in hand.

Allow Benedict & Hott kit you out from nose to tail…

Benedict & Hott – Unisex Country Hat

Essential for keeping the sun out of your eyes and the rain off your face. Benedict & Hott’s signature range of men’s tweed caps, are designed and made in Britain and available in a range of styles and colours. For a stylish countryside look, team perfectly with our men’s tweed jackets.

Benedict & Hott – The Full Monty… 

If you’re on a formal shoot, many Guns will be wearing a three-piece tweed suit with matching breeks, waistcoat and jacket. It’s a very smart look and is lovely to wear when it’s not raining. Even if you aren’t a great shot, you do look the part!

Benedict & Hott – Shooting Jacket  

At this time of year and hopefully if the weather is kind to you, a tweed jacket is a is ideal smart jacket for arrival and those early drives. Team our Teflon® coated technical jacket with Benedict & Hott matching breeks, for a practical and smart outfit.

Benedict & Hott – Shooting Vest 

If you know the day is going to be clement, a shooting waistcoat can often suffice, rather than a full jacket or waistcoat. Benedict & Hott have two shooting vests, designed to have a more tailored cut, yet is shorter than a traditional shooting vest, giving a modern cooler look. The spacious bellow cartridge pockets, have retainer straps to ensure you have easy access when reloading. An impact protection pad can be placed in an inner pocket on the right-hand shoulder for those bigger days.

Benedict & Hott – Breeks 

Breeks are essential for a day on grouse, and our Teflon® coated and fully lined breeks add both style and are cut for comfort and ease of movement. Perfect for a long day in the butt or walked up.  

Keep following our 12 days Of Shooting for our guide to the perfect shooting accessories 

Q & A with BASC’s Northern regional director – Duncan Thomas

As a part of our “twelve days of shooting”, Bene & Hott’s founder Gilan Booker catches up with Duncan Thomas, Northern regional director at the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and for seven years, Duncan’s work across the region has been significant. His drive to promote and protect shooting for future generations has made him a leader and inspiration within the community. 

Best or most exciting wildlife siting on the moor? We took a small group of enthusiastic bird watchers up into the Moor who had won the trip/day in one of our Youngshots/Conservation fundraisers. The trip was packed with some really impressive species being ticked off their lists, Curlew, Ring Ouzil, Peregrine, Golden Plover. I was explaining how a Palid Harrier (very rare) had been seen recently when the very same bird appeared on the horizon, it quartered the Moor towards us ending up flying past at less than 25m away, they were transfixed, very very lucky and an amazing experience.

What is it about grouse that makes it the king of game birds? Grouse are an incredible bird, truly wild and very hardy. It’s a miracle of nature that they can survive and breed in some really challenging conditions at times.  Everything about them impresses me, they fly so well, hugging the contours and can flick a wing and change direction in an instant. They taste amazing as well!

On the moor, what is the one piece of clothing that you don’t leave home without? Without doubt a lightweight waterproof jacket, the weather can change quickly and nobody enjoys a soaking. Equally, late season grouse soon wise up as to the line of guns, so keeping “green” is essential.

What’s the best thing to come out of good moorland management? The advantages of grouse moor management are endless. Both the bio-diversity and the extensive list of species that benefit is impressive. Driven grouse shooting, is also a valuable source of income generation within isolated rural communities.

Best looking moorland region and why? * You can’t say your home patch!  We’ve recently been delivering C19/shoot briefings and I’ve had the pleasure of spending a week up in Northumberland, the scenery is just stunning. My mother comes from near Hexham it was great to be back amongst some of my roots.

Key preparation for the shooting season ahead? It’s vitally important to prepare and practise your shooting. Some of the clay grounds have a superb grouse layout and we use the one at Coniston Cold regularly. Always wear the kit you shoot in when practising so you get used to both the mount and range of movement.

Favourite memory of being in the field? I’ve helped introduce thousands of youngsters and novices to shooting sports, it’s an amazing part of my job. I’ve seen scores of people shoot their first grouse and I think this is probably one of my fondest memories. That and a few “life changing” retrieves from my dogs over the years!

In recognition of his tireless conservation and educational work across the North of England, Duncan has recently been given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Great British Shooting Awards – congratulations Duncan and thank you for all of your hard work.

The Glorious Twelfth: A Brief History

The 12thAugust is a sacred date, dubbed by some the ‘New Year’s Day of hunting’, as it marks the start of the 121-day grouse shooting season – commonly known as the ‘Glorious Twelfth’. But how did it all begin? 

The early beginnings – 1773

The shooting law to put restrictions on when you could and couldn’t shoot game appeared way back in the Game Act of 1773 – “An Act to explain – the preservation of the moor or hill game”.

Enacted on the 24th June, the Act stated that no-one would be allowed to hunt or even buy “black-game” or “grouse, commonly called red-game, between the tenth day of December and the twelfth day of August.” In that instant, the 12th August became the first day of the season. 

Licenses change the game – 1831

Moving on to 1831, and another Game Act was introduced to clarify the law surrounding game hunting and it was the introduction of licenses, a practice that still exists today.

“Before any person takes, kills or pursues or aids or assists in any manner in so doing, or who uses any dog, net, gun or other engine for the purpose of taking, pursuing or killing any game, woodcock, snipe or any deer must take out a licence to kill game.”

The concept of licenses was an important moment for the sport. Not only did it mark the end of ‘Royal Forests’ – the monarch’s protected hunting grounds that had been around since the 11th Century – but it was an indication of how popular game shooting had become. 

The sport grows in popularity – 1853

The biggest surge in popularity for grouse shooting came in the 1850’s during the Victorian era. The introduction of widespread railway networks across the UK suddenly allowed more people than ever to reach the moors. 

Teamed with the advancement of ‘breech-loaded’ shotguns, which allowed easier and faster re-loading. As a result, the bags from a day’s shooting in those days were enormous. 

The impact of rationing – 1940’s/50s

With food supplies being cut off by Germany, Britain’s food imports dropped from 55 million tons to 12 barely a month into the war and rationing took hold. 

As a result, game shooting quickly went from being an aristocratic preserve, to a necessary countryside pursuit. There are examples of farmers and landowners with large areas of land, who would invite their employees to shoot. The owners got free pest control and the employees kept the meat.  

Current Day

These days, the Glorious Twelfth becomes more ‘glorious’ with every passing season – Scotland in particular generates around £30 million a year from shooting tourism, the UK overall around £150 million. 

Grouse shooting – 12 facts about the grouse season

With the grouse season just around the corner, the Glorious Twelfth represents lots of things for many people. Here are Benedict & Hott, we believe this is the perfect moment to appreciate the amalgamation of sport, conservation and food, which is linked to everything we do with gun or rod in hand. The benefits of grouse shooting are no different. With preparation well under way up and down the country, from hotel bookings, last minute instructor visits, dogs prepped and cartridges ordered; and that’s just the guns! 

Check out 12 grouse related facts below, to polish up on your knowledge…  

1.     The king of the game birds…Grouse are incredibly speedy

Grouse are incredibly speedy, and often humble the very best of shots. They are regarded as the “king” of game birds, red grouse represent the most supreme shooting challenge. They can fly at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, often fly low and have a habit of changing direction at the last minute. Think pigeons on steroids. 

2.    They have a sweet spot for heather. 

As well as berries and seeds, a typical grouse eats up to 50g of heather a day. They eat the young, tender heather with green shoots but nest and shelter in the old heather. Heather moorland is now rarer than rainforest, according to the Moorland Association. The UK has 75 per cent of what is left worldwide.

3.    Noisy buggers…. Grouse make an unusual noise

Red grouse make a very distinctive call that sounds like ‘Go back! Go back! Go back’ as they fly fast and low above the heather. 

4.    It has less fat than chicken

The perfect bird to help keep you nimble and lithe for the season ahead. Roast grouse has less than a third of the fat and twice the protein of roast chicken. 

By early evening of the Glorious Twelfth first red grouse shot that day will already be on the menu of many top UK restaurants, including the brilliant Bell pub and restaurant at Langford. The annual “grouse run” creates a real buzz within the industry, as a celebration on this superb bird.  

5.    Red grouse are unique to Britain

Red grouse are unique to Britain, making them high-value birds. The red grouse’s closest relative, the willow grouse, is found throughout northern Europe, Asia, Canada and Alaska.

6.    Wise up folks, its increasingly controversial

Environmentalists accuse landowners of killing natural predators which threaten grouse populations both legally (like foxes and stoats) and illegally (birds of prey like hen harriers). Conservationists also argue that burning heather leaves peat exposed to the air, threatening wildlife that make their home in the peatland. 

However, gamekeepers that are responsible grouse moor management actually protect the environment. More than 60 per cent of England’s upland Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are managed as grouse moors, controlling bracken and controlling the grazing of livestock so heather and wildlife can thrive. This is merely the tip of the iceberg ad we will be covering how important moorland management throughout out “12 days of shooting:”. 

7.     History of Grouse shooting…

Grouse shooting can be traced back 160 years to 1853. It started to take off when the railways suddenly made it easier to get to the moors, and shotguns became breech-loading. Commonly associated with the Scottish Highlands, red grouse were, and still are, shot on moors in Wales, Northern Ireland and as far south as England’s Peak District.

8.    Upland birds breed more successfully on moorland managed for Red grouse

Gamekeepers meticulously manage moors and millions are spent to give the grouse the best breeding habitat possible and in turn, this responsible management helps the local environment two-fold.

The GWCT says: “Moors managed for Red grouse are shown to be better than other land uses in maintaining heather dominated habitat, and both directly and indirectly support the species that depend on or thrive in it. This is important because 75% of the world’s heather moorland is found in Britain. In addition, many species of upland birds, including curlew, lapwing and golden plover, are more numerous and breed more successfully on moorland managed for Red grouse than on other moorland not managed in this way.”

9.    It’s big business…

Grouse shooting is big businessGrouse shooting generates about £150 million for the economy every year. The industry also supports approximately 2,500 full time equivalent jobs – from gamekeepers and beaters to people in tourism and hospitality. This is not to be sniffed and often the only livelihoods for many people within the industry. 

10. Grouse are wild

Red grouse (Lagopus lagopus) are not artificially reared for shooting, like other game birds. Teams of gamekeepers manage moors to maximise the number of birds available – hence why some years the numbers fluctuate according to the conditions. 

Millions of pounds are spent every year carefully setting fire to heather when it reaches wellie-height to encourage regeneration. Different areas are burnt in rotation so there is always a patchwork of short and tall heather. Burning always happens in the winter and the early part of spring when there are no nesting birds on the ground and these events are highly managed and paned by estates. 

11.  Breeding

Red grouse begin to form pairs in the autumn, with male becoming more territorial throughout winter. Mating and breeding happen during spring, with laying occurring in April and May. Up to nine eggs will be laid and are oval, pale yellow with dark brown blotches in appearance. Eggs will be incubated for up to 25 days; chicks can fly 12 days after hatching and are fully grown after 30 to 35 days. Males will attract females by erecting their neck feathers and using their wings to make a drumming sound.

12.  Symbol of Scotland

Did you know the red grouse is Scotland’s national game bird? It was the former mascot of the Scottish rugby team (between 1990 and 2007) and is the emblem of the famous whisky. 

Photo credits – @georgegunnphoto

Respect for your quarry

Fieldsports are a vital part of the fabric of our nation. They provide an industry which enables the countryside to look after wildlife, flora and fauna. Such industry generates much-needed revenue to support the upkeep of the countryside and shape the beauty which so many people love.


Game shooting is steeped in tradition, and the traditional dress adhered to by its participants is derived from the number one rule in fieldsports: respect for your quarry. Tweed suits are donned to pursue game not only because the wool cloth is one of the finest materials made, but also because it gives a formality to the pursuit. One wouldn’t head to a formal occasion in jeans and a t-shirt, and the same applies to shooting game. Tweed cloth represents the countryside in many ways and we would be lost without it.

The respect of game is not only limited to the chase, it is also evident in how we deal with the carcasses and the journey it takes from the field to the table. Much of the game is distributed to the wider public and plenty is eaten by fieldsports men and women, their families and the wider communities in which they live.

There are also some amazing groups of people that are helping to raise awareness of the fantastic benefits of game.

One such group is The Country Food Trust, which makes a pheasant casserole and a partridge curry, packaged in pouches and distributed to charities, who in turn distribute to those in need all for free (

In addition, The Countryside Alliance and BASC each have a website promoting game, both offering superb recipes and information (

There are even the Game Eat Awards. Hosted by James Purdey & Sons Ltd, Boisdale Restaurants and Taste of Game, these awards aim to celebrate all that is best about wild British produce by recognising great culinary achievements and other contributions to the cooking and eating of game. Taste of Game is the collective behind the Great British Game Week (19th–25th November 2018), a perfect way for game shots to promote the benefits of game to the wider public.

Here is one of our favourites:

 Serves: 4

Preparation: 15 mins

Cooking: 45 mins


Naan or paratha bread poppadums crisply fried onions and picklesINGREDIENTS
A 2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic
450ml water
6 tbsps oil

6 pheasant breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
10 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsps ground cumin
3 tsps mild paprika
6 tbsps natural yoghurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps freshly chopped coriander


Blend the ginger, garlic and 4 tbsps of the water in a liquidiser.

Heat half the oil and lightly brown the pheasant and set to one side.

Add the remaining oil and heat with the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Add the onions, and cook until golden brown.

Stir in the ginger and garlic paste and the remaining spices.  Blend in the yoghurt and return the pheasant to the pan with the remaining water.

Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the pheasant is tender.

Season and sprinkle over the fresh coriander. Serve with the accompaniments.

How to prep for the shooting season ahead, with hot shot Charlie Stewart-Wood

Shooting Q & A session with freelance instructor, and hot shot Charlie Stewart-Wood

Benedict & Hott gets the inside information on how to prepare for the season ahead with Former Atkin Grant & Laing Director, and AA CSPA shot Charlie Stewart-Wood.  Charlie grew up surrounded by shooting on his Oxfordshire family farm and has been experience within the industry for over 10 years. 

Can you remember your first shoot? How did you get into shooting?

You know it’s been a big part of your life when you can’t really remember when you first started going out, but I can’t, it was always just something we did. As a family, we all started shooting , by moving through the different positions of a shoot and earnt our peg as such, I used to go beating, then I helped load and then moved onto my own peg. I shot my first pheasant with a side by side 410. and was hooked. 

Tell us about the first time you shot grouse, set the scene…

Crikey, my first-time shooting grouse was the ultimate grouse experience and I was very very lucky. An old family friend took a place in Perthshire for a week and arranged a day’s grouse shooting, whilst we were up there. We shot on the12th August, all walked up and we went on for absolute miles. I shot my grouse on the same day as 3 childhood friends. A really great day, with lots of celebrations that night….

What is the most important lesson who have taught so far, as an instructor?

Number one, and it goes without saying – safety safety safety. Anyone would agree that safety is the most important thing to practice, consider and action when shooting. Teaching and instilling that into someone who has just got into the sport, or reminding experienced guns is always something I am happy to do. 

If I was allowed a second lesson and one directly linked to a grouse shooting, would be to help guns learn more about the day, as it is quite full on. To inform people on the layout of the day, where the beaters are, where the flankers are and get them used to the fact that birds will often come at them, at eye level, or just above or just below and then flip, dive and swerve at the last second.

For a new gun to be fully prepared in terms of the day, and what to expect, will also help the gun be extra safe and take away any nerves. They will get the very best out of the day.

What is the one thing that you wouldn’t leave the house with on a grouse day?

I’ll need more than one thing… I’ll need at least three! 

  • My waterproofs, as the weather is unbelievable changeable on a moor…
  • My Benedict & Hott Bond cap – which is the perfect shade of green to blend into the moorland and the peak helps keep rain off my face. 
  • Shooting glasses, primarily for safety, but also for the changing light. Ideally, I would take two lenses, to you are prepared for all eventualities! 

What would you say is key preparation for the game season ahead?

Sounds boring, but practice, practice, practice. With grouse, people are different, they will often arrive on a moor having had lessons prior to the day or at least been at a local shooting school that has a butt etc, but with partridges and pheasants, people tend to pick up their gun for the first time that season, on that day…then go back to the shooting school. 

To prepare for any type of bird, I would head to my local shooting ground and get some 1:1 sessions with an instructor, to help bring safety back to the forefront of your mind, to check on your gun fitting etc and to generally blow away the cobwebs! 

Alternatively, and something I am a huge fan of…is pigeon shooing, aka the blue grouse! Pre-season stubble fields produce a brilliant opportunity to practice your shooting skills, and the way a pigeon ducks and dives is the closest presentation to grouse that you will see. Sitting in a hide, hovering above your seat and then getting up above your hide will help prepare some muscle memory, which is perfect for the butt! (titter titter)

Most exciting wildlife siting on a moor….

My absolute favourite and most exciting – black game. For me, it is one of the main examples of moorland being really well looked after and they are always great to see. One word of advice though…if you are shooting grouse and a covey comes over and if there is one bird that stand out, the one bird that catches your eye – don’t shoot it…it’s probably black grouse!

Finally, grouse or salmon?

Ah, well that is tricky, as we speak I am currently fishing on the Okyel River in Scotland and we’ve been here two days and I’ve not caught a fish… if there was a grouse nearby, I could definitely shoot it – so today I will say grouse and hope for a salmon tomorrow!!