Depden Hall is set in gently undulating grounds in South Suffolk. The countryside used to be dominated by large arable fields, which are not the best holding ground for game birds. In 1975 the current owner’s father planted six small woods under the guidance of Nigel Gray, Game Conservatory specifically to hold and present game birds. These woods were planted in such a way that maximised the topography of the farm. It is these woods that form the base for the Sporting Clay Simulated Game Shoot.
In 2014, having shot on a simulated game day elsewhere, Andrew Rabett decided to invest in his own clay setup and the Sporting Clay Company was born. Investing in the latest electronic, remote controlled traps, Andrew set about recreating a typical day’s game shooting using clay pigeons. This was done during the summer months when local shooting syndicates or groups of shooting friends could book a day and enjoy their sport during the ‘closed’ season. It has always been intended that these days were for ‘game’ shooters who traditionally did not want to shoot ‘targets’ at a shooting ground. This meant that the guns stood in a line and were faced with random targets, no one counts the hits or misses but everyone is encouraged to shoot at whatever targets they like. “We deliberately do not fill the sky with clays,” says Andrew. “We are trying to replicate the randomness of a driven game day so there will be gaps in the flow of birds as well as testing multiple targets."
All the traps are remote controlled so that Andrew and his team control the flow of clays over the shooting line. This ensures that the pace of the drive is determined by the ability of the guns. “Too many simulated game shoots have become nothing more than an exercise in filling the sky with clays! This can result in sore shoulders and very hot guns rather than the enjoyable shooting experience that everyone wants”.
It is not just pre-booked shooting parties that The Sporting Clay offers; individual lessons or practice sessions are also available. “All too often I see experienced game shots struggling at the beginning of the season because they haven’t picked up a gun since the end of the previous season and wonder why they are missing.”
The cost of shooting reared and released game birds increases year on year, and the availability of small, 100 bird days is becoming more limited. It makes sense to buy a simulated game day with your shooting friends, where you can ‘fill your boots’ over 5 drives, shooting ten times the number of cartridges compared with a driven day.
We welcome all game shooters, although we do not recommend a full day for beginners. All cartridges used on the farm MUST be FIBRE wad and you do not need any heavier load than 21 grams.
We aim to provide the perfect day’s sport for any game shooter in the beautiful, South Suffolk Countryside.