London Lite Tuesday, 27 October 2009 13 Target practice: Eifion gets some shooting tips from Robin learning to hunt and shoot your own dinner Six of the best sanyo VPC wh1 WHEN youre older, youll be really glad that you filmed that holiday, first birthday, stag weekend, five-a-side decider or wedding on high-quality digital video. These six will produce immeasurably better, longer films than any camera or phone. angus watson 293.20, amazon.co.uk ITS waterproof to three metres, has a big, fat 30x optical zoom capacity, and fits into a jacket pocket. Perfect for snorkelling, snowboarding and kite- surfing videos. From 179.99, sony.co.uk STANDARD rather than high definition, this has fewer pixels than comparably priced HD cams. Quality is fine unless youre demanding. A huge 60x optical zoom will please wildlife watchers. 87.99, misco.co.uk THIS has a holster and you hold it pistol-style, which makes it pleasingly gangster -- and HD for under a ton is a bargain. 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They teach countryside pursuits to townies, including clay pigeon-shooting lessons, simulated game days and pigeon shooting. I thought Id start with clays, then gradu- ate to the real thing. Robin is a trained instructor and before we could begin he had to find out which was my master eye, the one I would favour when focusing on my prey. Standing in front of me, he told me to point at him, then pronounced my right eye dominant. Then it was time to fit me for my gun. Robin picked out two shotguns, a 12-bore Winchester and a Miroku. Shootingstar SEvEnTy-fIvE per cent of the work is in the feet, Robin told me, demonstrating how to adopt the Stanbury shooting stance: weight on the forward left leg (if youre a right-hander), keeping it straight, shotgun butt tucked into your right shoulder and cheek pressed firmly against it. Unfortunately, there was no beginners luck for me but Robin proved his expertise as a teacher and I soon had the hang of it. After a 90-minute lesson it was lunchtime and time to move on. The clay range is in a field owned by Common Leys farm, a B&B that takes in weekend shooters and fishers (commonleysfarm.com). Owners Doug and Allie will prepare and cook anything you catch -- if youre lucky enough to hit anything, that is. We retired to the bar with a bowl of soup and a pint, then it was back to the farm to look for some pigeons, with Robins dog Zeus along to scare up the birds. Chasingthebirds STAnDInG before a large hedge, clutching a cold, 12-bore shotgun, it suddenly occurred to me this wouldnt be some run-of-the-mill practice session. Ive shot clay targets before, but that is rather differ- ent from taking a life. Maybe the vegetarians were right? no, were hardwired to hunt, I told myself. Shooters must only aim at birds that are high in the air to ensure the safety of the beaters -- in our case Robin and Zeus, who were on the other side of the hedge trying to scare up some targets. If you hear a clattering sound itll be a pheasant, so be ready, Doug called. Unfortunately for me it was not to be. not only was there no pheasant, but no pigeon either; even the crows stayed well out of range. A single pheasant was spotted at the far end of an adjoining field, looking smug -- it knew it was on private land. Luckofthedraw SOMETIMES the birds are there, sometimes they arent, Robin observed philosophically, but I wasnt too disappointed. It had been an exhilarating day just wondering if I might manage to shoot something. Before leaving home that morning, Id promised the wife pan-fried pigeon for dinner, but shed doubted I had the giblets to kill anything and was keeping the takeaway menu handy. 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