The shooting at Thrumster is very varied, being an area of very diverse habitats. The estate has 5,000 acres of grouse moor, and the rest is composed of mixed arable ground, in the small holdings known as crofts, and of rough pasture, marshes and waterside ground near our lochs, burns and ponds.
The moor holds good stocks of grouse, and partridge are found on its fringes. In August, the snipe are also in season, and usually feature in any grouse-day bag. We have a certain number of resident snipe, but the main influx appears in October/November.
In September, partridge come into season, and Thrumster has always held stocks of our native grey partridge. Their numbers are boosted each year by locally reared birds. They provide testing sport, as they burst from under a dry-stone wall, or from the whin bushes, and guns must be quick to seize the moment, or it is lost.
Our best mixed shooting begins in October, when pheasant are in season, the snipe are arriving, and towards the end of the month, the first woodcock are beginning to come in. Wildfowl are beginning to come in, and both Sarclet and Hempriggs are favoured roosts for many different species of overwintering duck, especially wigeon, mallard and teal, as well as for the greylag geese that arrive in mind-boggling numbers. New flighting ponds have been constructed, and quickly colonised by our resident duck.
We also continue to shoot small numbers of grouse into December. This gives the possibility, with rabbits and pigeon, to have as many as 10 species in the 'bag' on any one day. Guns should be reasonably fit, as most of our days involve walking up with suitable dogs.
A dram is served at the end of the day, with a chance to mull over the events and excitements of the sporting day.