The Lackham Shoot reached a special milestone as the 2013/14 season closed.
Having launched five seasons ago in 2009 as a commercial shoot run entirely by Wiltshire College Lackham’s gamekeeping students, the shoot played host to its 250th guest, Will Owen. Mr Owen and his team shot at Lackham last month, with second year students Jason Madden, Oliver Long, Andrew Barratt and Joe Nixon running what turned out to be a tough, but enjoyable day. At the end of the day Will said: “We really valued the chance to contribute to the development of the next generation of gamekeepers. The sheer enthusiasm and hard work of the students is a breath of fresh air and resulted in a fun, relaxed and very rewarding day.” The Lackham Shoot is unique in the way it is run. Students in the second year of an Extended Diploma are in charge of planning and managing the shoot days, taking it in turns to either host guests or run the beating line. First year students act as beaters and underkeepers for the rest of the year, preparing themselves to take on the beatkeeper’s role when they reach the second year. Shooting 50 bird days six to eight times in a season, Lackham’s students see a huge range of different guests during their time at college and reaching number 250 was particularly special. Over the years a community of current and former students has grown around the shoot. Mark Shaw is a Lackham alumni, who was a gamekeeping student when the Lackham Shoot was launched in 2009 and was there to see the 250th guest in 2014. Since leaving college Mark has established himself as an agronomist. Commenting on how the Lackham Shoot had prepared him for working in the countryside sector, Mark said: “It was a great platform to develop and practice my communication skills, both with the other students and with the paying public.”