hand selected shoots
We personally know, all of the shoots and gamekeepers we use. We know them that well we can pop in for a cup of tea and chat and can discuss the latest issues with Game and Game Meat, whether it be control of Rabbits, the arrival of the Woodcock after a full moon or a quick catch up on the season ahead. The personal relationship means we trust the shoot owners and keepers to provide us with the very best shot game, handled carefully and sent in to us in the best condition.
Too often in the past, due to the low value of feathered birds, shoots were careless with Game after it was shot, they believed that once it was hanging up in the Game cart their job was done. At Bay Tree Game we have found that what happens to the birds after they have been shot is just as important as to how they were nurtured when alive; and our strict policy to only use shoots who are diligent and respectful to the Game both before a shoot day and after the shoot day means that the Game we use is of the best quality.
Sitting half way up the valley on the Essex side of the Stour (owned by David Fahie), Brook Hall runs a mixed private and let day operation. The shoot is run by the Harvey trio: father Bryan and adult sons Joe and Daniel. Joe is the head keeper and looks after a predominantly partridge based shoot adding in some Pheasants from young woodland.
The partridge are some of the most testing in the area and rise quickly off the gentle slopes of the Stour valley. The Harvey clan know all to well just how to run a successful day with some 50 years combined experience. Joe and brother Dan have both been out in the field since they were young boys, whilst we have been shooting with Bryan for well over 30 years, Joe’s enthusiasm for shooting hasn’t dwindled since we first came across him as a cheeky faced, smiling 7 year old out beating in his Liverpool hat. Twenty odd years later that joy for the sport is as strong as ever and if anything he is more passionate now about the industry now than ever before. That is why some of the best shots locally congratulate them on the healthy, strong, high flying birds they show – and with the added bonus they are always in great condition for the table.
A superb true farm shoot near Lavenham, which has been organised by David Lane for over 30 years. Run in conjunction with his friend and long-time game keeper Colin Ruffell (who gave me my first lessons in game-keeping) between them, they produce healthy and clean pheasant and partridge, and with excellent teams of guns in attendance (especially on the private days). It means the quality of bird is second to none. Based just up the road they are that close they bring the birds direct to our chiller on shoot days!
So we have to own up here, this is family so I am going to be biased but another fantastic shoot overlooking the Stour from the Essex (south) side, where the pheasants are looked after by aspiring young gamekeeper, known locally as Skidder. He has been helping on shoots since the age of 10 and has been brought up to understand the importance of the meat for the table, as well as the quality of shooting. As such he uses a secret feed mix which produces big plump pheasants that fly strong and high. This healthy upbringing gives the bird the perfect layer of fat over a large breast. Great for a roast.
REMNANTS SHOOT SYNDICATE
From the ashes of a syndicate started nearly 40 years ago by a group of farming friends, the Remnants shoot syndicate rose under new leadership and at a new base and now thrives on a on the Suffolk side of the river Stour. A true syndicate where everyone chips in, each member spends a week feeding and rearing in the summer/autumn and are rewarded with friendly and fun days in the winter. It means those shooting the birds have spent time rearing and caring for the Game and this means that the birds are always treated with the highest respect. The Game is delivered straight to our chiller on shoot days and includes a mixture of Pheasant, Partridge and Mallard.
Kept by brother & sister team Ben and Abbi, with a little help from Spen, this superb little shoot in the River Box Valley produces some of the best conditioned birds you'll find. Cared for impeccably, the birds have a wonderful varied habitat including large patches of wetland, meadow-land, arable and woodland to peck and forage in. They shoot later in the season, allowing the birds to grow large and provide a plump, juicy meat for the table.
LITTLE GREYS HALL
New to our list in the 2017/18 season this farm shoot was once part of a wider commercial operation. Taken back in hand by the farmer this family shoot is known for High flying pheasants down the slopes on the Suffolk side of the Stour valley. They birds are brought directly to our chiller on shoot days, meaning quality and freshness is guaranteed.