Think Like a Pheasant

Think Like a Pheasant

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A fascinating and comprehensive book on the life of Brian Mitchell and his philosophies towards gamekeeping and countryside management



A fascinating and comprehensive book on the life of Brian Mitchell and his philosophies towards gamekeeping and countryside management – his once controversial views on pheasant rearing and cover crops are now accepted worldwide. The book covers his early working life from under keeper on the Sherborne Estate through to the great Exmoor shoot of Miltons where Brian saw the potential of the shoot to produce the now renowned Exmoor High Bird. It discusses his move to Castle Hill, the many challenges he has faced there and the development of the shoot over 25 years.

Mishaps and successes are chronicled and each chapter is littered full of anecdotes – many of them humorous – and laced with the names of characters from the world of shooting.

With an introduction by David Clark, Head Keeper of Her Majesty's Estate at Sandringham, anyone owning or running a shoot will find Think Like a Pheasant and the author's philosophy towards gamekeeping both inspirational and educational.


Brian Mitchell is a founding member of the National Gamekeepers' Organisation and internationally renowned Head Keeper at the Castle Hill Estate in Devon. He built the Estate's reputation as one of the most respected shoots in the world. He has been a gamekeeper all his working life and introduced the concept of the Exmoor High Bird, first at Miltons, then at Chargot, Challacombe and Bulland, which transformed shooting on Exmoor and across the country.

Dr Stephen Manning is an Honarary Research Fellow within the History Department of the University of Exeter. He specialises in Victorian military history, has written several books on the subject and lectures widely in the UK and America. Stephen is a keen shot and also thoroughly enjoys working his springer spaniels in the beating line. His other passion is rugby and he is a fanatical Exeter Chiefs fan.


Book Specifications

Additional Information

Sub Heading Brian Mitchell and the Rise of the Exmoor High Bird
ISBN 9781846892004
Author Brian Mitchell with Stephen Manning
Binding Casebound
Extent 234 x 156mm, 216 pages
Illustrations Colour throughout
Ebook No

'The book, published by Quiller, is packed with practical advice and amusing anecdotes, and is a must for anyone helping run a shoot, or who is passionate about rural affairs, gamekeeping or countryside management.' - Sporting Gun
'Now, in collaboration with Stephen Manning, military historian, author, keen Shot and a man passionate about working his springer spaniels, Brian has unleashed on to the shooting world a remarkable book. Think Like a Pheasant, subtitled Brian Mitchell and the Rise of the Exmoor High Bird, will be required reading for all those Guns who have attempted and enjoyed the Castle Hill experience, and particularly for those hesitant souls who have been deterred by the legend of the West Country high-bird shoot...A truly inspirational book which will, I have little doubt, become a classic in its own right.' - Shooting Times
'Above all, this excellent book demonstrates that Brian is a countryman from the top of his cap to the soles of his boots; understanding of farming - so long as it does not disrupt the shooting too much - and in tune with nature...This is a fascinating and readable book, written with the help of historian Stephen Manning, that deals honestly and often humorously with an aspect of rural life not always covered in such detail or with such deep understanding. Shooters and non-shooters alike will learn a lot from its pages.' - Western Morning News
'While I might not share some of Brian's views on shooting and keepering, its a fascinating and engaging book charting Brian's long career as a keeper and his experiences of shooting on Exmoor. I wouldn't be disappointed to get a copy for Christmas.' - BASC
'Brian Mitchell's success at Castle Hill - now a renowned high-bird shoot - is chronicled here, in this compelling autobiography. The gamekeeper explains his once-controversial philosophy of gamekeeping, conservation and pheasant rearing, with anecdotes throughout. Perfect for the gun to peruse when not on the peg.' - The Field

 'Full of mishaps and successes, gamekeeping secrets, and anecdotes laced with teh names of characters from the world of shooting, Brian Mitchell's autobiography is a fascinating read that chronicles his life and philosophies towards gamekeeping and countryside management...Anyone owning or running a shoot will find Think Like a Pheasant and the author's philosophy towards gamekeeping both inspirational and educational.' - Sporting Shooter

'Originally from Dorset, Mitchell was an intrinsic element in the development of the whole Exmoor shooting phenomenon when he was at Miltons with Alan Milton. Together they did more than most to cement the idea of the Exmoor high pheasant into the psyche of the modern game shooter ... A foreword by Sandringham headkeeper David Clark sets the tone nicely, just in case you weren't aware of the author's reputation. And what follows is a rip-roaring account of a life given to delivering challenging game shooting and little else. Fascinating stuff.' - Shooting Gazette

'Brian's newly published autobiography is a fascinating read...Covering his philosophy towards gamekeeping and countryside management, mishaps and successes along the way, and gamekeeping secrets and anecdotes, it is a must for anyone with an interest in driven shooting and gamekeeping.' - Fieldsports

'The authors' writing style is quick and sharp: there is very little dwelling on the emotive aspect of what it is to take part on a shoot day - this is a book packed with action, thoughts, ideas, plans, schemes, failures, changes, and ultimately, triumphs. If you've ever wondered what it takes to create a high bird shoot, look no further.' - Sporting Rifle

'NGO co-founder Brian Mitchell takes a look back at his career and his views towards gamekeeping and countryside management.' Sporting Gun 

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