Being a sucker for history, double barrel shotguns, and all things tweedy, I’ve always wanted to shoot in the UK. If I had the time, I would definitely join Delaney & Sons this fall in Wales for their 2015 Harding Shoot.
Established in 1999, The Harding Shoot runs from November 15th to November 21st. It is based in the majestic hills of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, and guests stay in the quaint town of Crickhowell, Wales, at the historic Dragon Inn.
Last fall, Sean Delaney and his wife, Liz, took over the shoot from its originator. Their goal “… is to provide like minded American hunters with hassle-free access to traditional, high quality driven shooting — without pretense — for a reasonable price.”
The 2015 Harding Shoot is an all-inclusive affair and accommodations, ground transport, gun hire, ammunition, visitor’s permits, and food are all included. The price: $8,500.
To join the 2015 Harding Shoot, call 717-919-5317 for more info.
Here’s more about the Harding Shoot, from Sean Delaney:
“For our trip, all you need to do is show up at Heathrow on Sunday, and the rest is sorted from there. We provide nice vintage boxlocks, with the odd sidelock thrown in, as well as modern over unders if that is someone’s preference. If someone wants to bring their own guns, that is fine as well. Cartridges, food, lodging, etc. are all included. Tips to the individual estate keeper and alcohol at night are not included. The food is great, but there are no black tie dinners at castles.
The locals in the town we stay in, Crickhowell, know that we are coming and stop in throughout the week to say hello. If you go in a shop, the proprietor will likely say, “I heard the Americans were coming this week, how’s the sport been?”.
As far as the hunting is concerned, we are trying to drive home the point that driven shooting is a team endeavor, and a lot of people work very hard to present high birds to the guns. The head keeper, beaters, dog handlers and pickers up act in coordination with the guns to bring the bag home to be processed and sent to market. On many estates, the shoot lunch is a lavish affair held in a shoot lodge, but the beaters, handlers, and pickers up eat a boxed lunch in the parking lot. We have a much more egalitarian (American?) set up, inasmuch as well all eat together in a barn or an outbuilding. I think that this is a great way to really immerse the hunters in the tradition of the sport.
The other thing that we provide is hunting diversity. First, we hunt five estates over five days. The larger estates could entertain a team for a whole week, but ours are generally smaller. One of the shoots is almost entirely private; they only let one day a year, to us. We get to see different terrain and meet different people every day. Second, we provide diversity of species. Every shoot in the UK has pheasants, and many have partridge as well. But we add duck and woodcock to the bag, which is fairly unique.”