Peter Carr enjoys a double day at the hares with European guns in the annual driven Rothwell weekend.
Many of my fellow hunting guests over the decades have been foreigners who feel privileged to hunt both species of hare in numbers they could never attain in their home countries. During my time as an outfitter and sporting agent, I let any number of days to Italian, Maltese and Greek hunters. But it was the German, Austrian and Scandinavian guests that really respected the hare, and indeed all legitimate game. I have always admired these sportsmen for their respectful traditions towards fallen game, and often thought it is something we have missed out on here in Britain. Blowing the hunting horns in salute to the harvested game, and to send it to the next world with goodwill, and respect, is a practice I have always found very moving.
“But it was the German, Austrian and Scandinavian guests that really respected the hare, and indeed all legitimate game.”
By far the best driven brown hare days I have enjoyed have been in the Lincolnshire Wolds on the famous Rothwell Estate known for its record bag of 2,119 wild partridges shot on the 3rd October 1952 by the late Sir Joseph Nickerson and five guests. 151 hares were also shot on what would be known forever after as ‘The Great Day’. For the past twenty years the estate’s game shooting interests have been managed by the Nickerson family’s redoubtable head keeper John Pyle. I feel privileged to have been a member of a mixed gun team composed of German aristocrats, foresters and a token Austrian captain of industry on their annual hare shoot at Rothwell these past few years. Indeed the weekend is best described as an epic event rather than a hare hunt because the après shoot shenanigans have become Lincolnshire folklore thanks to the efforts of their group leader – forest director Jost Arnold.