• Browning Blog : Hurray for the empty bag!

    Hurray for the empty bag!

    Ah, the empty bag! Every hunter has come back with it, and no hunter looks forward to it! Empty, but usually with a bitter tinge of disappointment and a bitter feel; it can put you in a bad mood, even make you insufferable to friends and family…

    But what would hunting be without it? What pleasure would we get from the battue, the night in the hide, or the walk-up, if the possibility of the empty bag never loomed in our mind?

    The fear of leaving empty-handed

    Every hunter knows this grim paradox. Waiting for the bird, looking for the hare, casting the hounds after the boar, we all hope the quarry will appear in our sights, presenting us with a shot – fairly and squarely, of course!

    Yet the possibility of it not happening, of our efforts and stratagems and trusted techniques being fruitless and for nothing, adds piquancy to our excitement.

    Learning patience through hunting

    It has often been said that hunting provides a master class in patience, and so it does; but it also teaches us to master the possibility of failure, though without ever truly succeeding, thankfully.

    For surely the most wonderful and deepest aspect of the hunt is precisely the fact that the lure of the marsh or the woods does not wane, despite, or perhaps because of, the times we come back empty-handed. In it is a touch of sublimated instinct that brings us truly to life and, in some way, keeps us from apathy.

    I have never understood that hunters can be blasé, personally: for me, it’s a complete contradiction in terms, and maybe returning from the hunt empty-handed serves to protect us from a state of mind that by its nature shuts out wonderful excitement. Especially as we always do “see” something out on the hunt: we just have to open our eyes and ears…

    An example, to illustrate

    Picture the scene – which won’t be difficult as many of our readers have been in similar situations. I’m standing at the foot of an enormous oak tree, bang in the middle of a forest. Most of the leaves have fallen; a tenacious, cloaking mist hangs all around; I know that the easterly wind of the last few days has brought in a fair number of wood pigeons. All bodes well for the “on-the-branch” shooting I’m hoping for, wrapped snugly in my hunting jacket, gloves on hands and balaclava pulled tight…

    The first few minutes see birds speeding over the treetops, followed by others, then more still. I’m sure that some among them end up roosting within range of my shotgun.

    The minutes go by and turn into an hour, two hours; night is looming and I still haven’t shouldered once; my chances are fading, but I still believe. Around me I can hear whistling and flapping wings; I catch a glimpse of a shadow of these lightly “mocking” birds; some have settled further away, but too far away, and with no way to get nearer… We’ve been there before: who’s the pigeon, now? At the end of the day, Lady Luck didn’t smile on me; time to take down the lofting poles and go home.

    A stronger state of mind

    Disappointing, yes, because I believed. It all looked so promising… But the conundrum, the great conundrum, is that tomorrow and the day after that, a year and ten years from now, despite everything, I’ll still believe. And the day I do come away with a fine bag, maybe on a day when the conditions are conspiring against me, I’ll remember the times I left without a harvest, the countless empty bags, the fruitless waits and frustrated efforts that make the successes so meaningful.

    This modest example of a fruitless pigeon hunt can be applied to every hunting discipline, of course. It merely shows that the heart of the hunt is hope permanently fed by desire. So, hurray for the empty bag!

  • Browning blog : How to bleed and treat the carcass

    How to bleed and treat the carcass…

    There are many ways to bleed the carcass of the animal and they all serve our own purpose and use. Some of these ways are better than others, but they all do the same job. We all know that the quick bleeding of the carcass after the animal has been felled is as important for the meat quality as the shot placement or a nice, clean gralloch.

  • Browning Blog : Ferreting, an ancient hunting technique

    Ferreting, an ancient hunting technique

    Not very big (30 to 60 cm long), not very heavy (400g to 2kg), this hunter’s companion is very efficient at flushing out rodents – and especially rabbits – from their burrows.  They are enthusiastic sleepers, especially when their stomachs are full.  For several decades now, ferrets have been considered as quirky pets: their appearance and behaviour are not without a certain charm. 

  • Hunting habits: Backpacking, cleaning rifle, …

    Getting ready to hunt before and afterwards is very much like a military operation! First let’s consider your equipment; rifle and ammunition, clothing, ancillary equipment; binoculars/scopes and/or laser rangefinder, knives/sharpener, bipod and/or shooting sticks, rubber gloves (for gutting and skinning) and some sort of bag/carrier for the game. Plus, water and food if it’s going to be a long day and a small medical kit and don’t forget your firearm’s license and written permission from the land owner.

  • Browning blog : recipe grouse burgers

    Recipe: Grouse Burgers

    At this time of year we are enjoying stocking up the freezer during shooting season and I’m making the most of the variety!
    Investing in a mincer has opened up a whole new range of options for cooking game. One of those options being a delicious homemade burger!

  • Browning blog : What makes Browning over-and-under shotguns so durable?

    What makes Browning over-and-under shotguns so durable?

    I often get the chance to work at hunting fairs in Europe, but whether in France, Germany, Sweden or England, one question comes up time after time. “Hello, I shoot with a B25 purchased in the 1960s and I wanted to know why Browning shotguns stand out from the rest with their extraordinary longevity”? Well, here are some of the answers.

  • Browning blog - Recipe: Pheasant satay skewers

    Recipe: Pheasant satay skewers

    My first ladies’ driven shoot day has just been. After a fantastic day in the field with seven other lovely ladies, we ended up with a mixed bag of 91. We each took a brace or two home and I already knew what I was going to make, pheasant satay skewers – one of my favourite dinners!

  • Browning-blog-OU_VS_Semi-Auto shotgun

    Semi-auto or double barrels Shotguns? Frowned Upon

    So what’s wrong with a semi-automatic shotgun for game shooting?

    British shooting is often seen as traditional, if not hide-bound, with many taboos imposed not for legal reasons, but because people do not approve.

  • browning-blog-falconry-thumb

    Falconry, or hunting with a bird of prey!

    It is likely that the art of falconry first appeared on the high plateaux of Central Asia 4,000 years ago. Falconry (or hunting on the wing) is the hunting of natural game in its environment using a specially-trained bird of prey.

  • browning-blog-brexit-what-about-shooters

    Brexit blues : What about shooters?

    So what might happen to shooters after the UK leaves the European community, here are some thoughts. 

  • browning-blog-top-10-excuses-going-hunting

    The top 10 excuses for going hunting

    During each period between hunting seasons, the same thing happens. You dismantle, clean and reassemble your weapons up to six times a day. You stockpile so much ammunition that you have to close off certain parts of your home. At night, you alternate between hunting and erotic dreams. Your Sundays punctuated with family meals and naps in front of Inspector Derrick are as joyful as a congress of forensic pathologists.

  • The hunt: a boost to the economy!

    Opponents of hunting are often hermetically sealed against any arguments that hunters might advance. Regulation? They either do not believe in it or do not want to believe. The support it provides to farmers and breeders? An unacceptable rural conspiracy, and so on…

  • The Fox Terrier, a companion of character

    At least based on appearances, Snowy, famous canine companion to the even more famous Tintin, was certainly one… Indeed, it’s impossible not to think of this most celebrated and adorable ambassador of the breed, faithfully recreated even down to its faults – the most obvious of which is its highly ‘tenacious’ character – when calling to mind the Fox Terrier. For if Hergé

  • The John M. Browning Collection

    A legend is reborn. As we head into 2016 with open arms, we can proudly announce Browning’s iconic Custom Shop has evolved into the John M. Browning Collection. This is a new generation, but what can you expect?

  • The Heart of Africa: Hunting for Conservation

    Biased or not, having grown up involved in shooting sports and seeing all of its values, especially in hunting, I am committed to doing all I can to ensure the sustainable management of not only our surrounding wildlife but further a field too. It’s time to discover the facts of hunting conservation on the plains of Africa.

  • French Huntinfg Permit

    The French Hunting Permit “Permis de Chasse”: What You Should Know

    Understanding foreign hunting permit laws will certainly help you out if you’re looking at hunting abroad – Our second feature on Sport Abroad looks at the French hunting laws, whether you’re maybe moving to France or simply interested in hunting in the country, here is what you should know…