Well, here is your chance to bid on that dream and help protect one of the UK's prized game birds. On November 20, 2008, the Game Conservancy USA will hold an auction to benefit The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust's Grey Partridge Recovery Project.
The fund-raising auction for the UK organization will take place at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. If you are unable to attend in person, you can also participate over the phone.
Here is a preview of select lots from the auction catalog...
You will be able to bid for two days and nights of shooting, wining and dining at Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland with the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch -- with a third day's shooting in the beautiful Nith Valley at the Historic Dalswinton. There will be approximately 900 birds for a shooting party of eight guns, and up to 16 people total, in early November. The estimated value is $250,000.
Similar lots will also go on the block.
A day's driven grouse shoot for eight guns at Gunnerside, North Yorkshire, England will be available. Slated for late September, early October 2009, the estimated value is $50,000.
The Windsor Royal Great Park Shoot
You can also bid on shoots at Windsor Royal Great Park, which has been reserved for the Royal Family's shooting parties since the mid 13th century (estimated value, $75,000); a partridge shoot at Braxted Park in the UK, which is valued at $16,000; and a clay shoot for two with the 2009 Class of the West Point Trap & Skeet Club, plus dinner and overnight accommodations at Griffin & Howe's Hudson Farm. It's available April 25-26, and has an estimated value of $600.
It was at Griffin & Howe's heavenly Hudson Farm in Andover, New Jersey that we
became aware of the UK's Game Conservancy, during the Game Conservancy USA's Showcase and Sporting Clays Invitational fundraiser held September 19-21, 2008.
Englishman Guy Bignell, who is the CEO of Griffin & Howe, is also the Executive Director of Game Conservancy USA.
At Hudson Farm
The Sporting Clays Invitational took place on the Farm's 19-station course. After a day of shooting, the competitors could browse through the Showcase from exhibitors around the world, or visit the cozy Griffin & Howe gun room.
There was good fellowship all around. In the evening, we would gather in the grand North Hall of the lodge where we could all dine together at the rows of long tables and drink at the bar late into the evening.
The former 3,000-acre dairy farm has a shooting school, and hosts wingshooting events during the season. It also has 5-stand and a trap range.
The sporting clays course is heavily wooded with stations of stone and timber. Notably, station one is on a man-made lake featuring a waterfall.
In talking with Mr. Bignell at the Game Conservancy Showcase and Invitational, we discovered the sense of urgency in making preservation of the UK's grey partridge a high priority.
The iconic bird is red-listed by the British Trust for Ornithology. The species has been suffering a devastating decline over the past 40 years from disease, loss of habitat, predators and agricultural pollution.
Although there has been an extraordinary six-fold increase in grey partridges, research and preservation remain a top priority.
And now you can help. The Game Conservancy USA is a tax-deductible 501(C) (3) organization. If you are interested in supporting it, please visit http://www.gcusa.org or call Lorraine G. Smario at 203-618-0270.
Irwin Greenstein is publisher of Shotgun Life.