We found it bordered on the riotous. During our three-day stay the revolving party included a clutch of Californians, South and North Carolinians and a covey of Englishmen. Jonathan Harris, chairman of The Futon Company, was stopping over after a tussle with the Rio Grande’s sea-trout. Paul Southerington of Witham Specialist Vehicles, teased as “supplier of armoured cars to the gentry”, was a Pica Zuro regular, as was Brian Austen, founder of the Moscow State Circus, ex-highwire walker (“El Briano Vaselino”), and lion tamer (top tip: “Never work with all-male lions – they become over-fond of each other and turn on you.”) Add youngish hot shots, Jeremy Pemberton and Ed Buxton, and the conversation was as quickfire as the shooting. Our party was not unusual in its mix. A browse through the visitors’ book revealed a string of British guns, including one team who fired 52,000 shots for 33,312 doves. Not everyone wants to shoot such numbers, but if you can shoot reasonably and have the desire, it’s easy to shoot 1,000 birds per gun per day. The 20-bore over-and-unders and semi-autos, fed on 24g loads and used with a recoil pad, give little perceived recoil. For many, however, the real challenge lies in practising those shots that are expensive in the UK, such as high pheasants and driven grouse.