Andrew Venables

Where does time go? One minute we are finalising our South African trip to train Wilderness Trail Guides; then, suddenly it’s six months later and lots has happened.

Over the summer we’ve been busy with great days and wonderful people. We’ve welcomed clients from Spain, Mexico, Canada, the USA, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and several other countries in Europe and further afield who came for our bespoke training. We’ve also been busy with our Sniper Experience Days, Masterclasses, Historic Rifle Days and working with the UK government and NGOs on training projects. The feedback has been awesome and we enjoy the fact that while clients arrive it is new friends that leave. Thanks must go to our very able team of instructors who give me excellent support; Mark Khan, Neil Parks and Chris Parkin.

In May I helped the team from Cervus UK, Seeland, Sauer, Leupold and Hornady deliver a five-day epic training and deer management venture. Two groups of journalists and influencers from Europe came to shoot and hunt in Hampshire with the legend that is Owen Beardsmore and his superb team of guides.

Chef Pascal Proyart was in charge of the task of feeding the gathering, which he did to extraordinary effect. We were eating cordon bleu food in the field from a barbeque, prepared with skill, panache and great humour.

I guided some clients in the evenings after training days. Empowering people to make the shot even better, just before they go hunting is a great recipe for success, though not as tasty as Pascal’s food…The standard of hunting and shooting was top notch, with a number of roe bucks humanely culled as part of the local management programme and lots of venison for consumption. Owen and his guides worked 20 hours a day for five days; I don’t know how they did it, to be honest but the result was an incredible success.

Back in Wales we’re not only busy running WMS but also enjoy our work with and for the local community.

Helena was invited to become a Trustee and Company Secretary for the Strata Florida Trust ( http://www.stratafloridatrust.org ) which is a fantastic project to restore the buildings around the historic Strata Florida Abbey and establish a centre for Welsh history and culture. Helena will still be the main point of client contact for WMS and both of these jobs bring important focus, investment and visitation to Ceredigion and Wales.

While I am busy running our training days I’m also working with several people local to ensure the benefits of shooting—in all its forms—are communicated clearly. Part of this is achieved by the Ceredigion committee of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust which is working with local landowners and residents. As we are now at the start of the game shooting season I have also set aside some time and resources to promote the value of well-managed, sustainable small shoots to the local farming community, the local council and Welsh government. Shooting does so much for conservation and the rural economy in Wales. It is time to promote and sell the benefits to the general public through all forms of media.

Best wishes to all for the game season 2019-2020.

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