A lady keeper, hunter and clay shooter

Clair Mcpake grew up in the Highlands with her parents, her dad was a gamekeeper and she enjoyed shooting, deer stalking and lamping with him.

She always had her own dog and loved attending the training evenings with the Moray Firth Gundog Club and competing in workings tests. During the shooting season she was out with her dogs beating and picking-up on pheasant, partridge, and grouse days.

Now Clair lives and works on a commercial shoot in the home counties with her partner. They have completed their second shooting season, Clair said, “We get our birds early to ensure they are at peak fitness for the start of the season, and when they start getting adventurous, my bottom is glued to a quad bike with my dogs on board from dawn till dusk! On a shoot day, I am in the line with my partner and his underkeeper and we, along with our loyal team of beaters, manage to put on a lovely show of birds for our guests.”

A Chinese water deer taken with a Tikka T3 rifle in .243.
Lady keeper, hunter and clay shoot Clair Mcpake
Clair Mcpake with some game.
Lady keeper, hunter and clay shoot Clair Mcpake
Clair shooting with her Beretta 20 gauge shotgun.

Last year Clair shot a Chinese Water Deer (CWD) buck.

“My CWD was taken with a Tikka T3 .243. I can remember feeling very nervous beforehand, purely because I wanted to get the cleanest shot possible to cause the buck no suffering. I hit it exactly behind the elbow and after his little adrenaline surge he dropped. I was very relieved and very happy to have taken my first CWD as a gold medal!”

Lady keeper, hunter and clay shoot Clair Mcpake
Local stags outisde Clair's parents house with Gobernuisgach Lodge Altnaharra in background.

When she goes back home to her parents in Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands, she loves to see the Red deer. 

In the wintertime, there are often stags seen on Lower ground. Two stags have been exceptionally bold, “Bruce was the very first stag, it all started with mum throwing out vegetable scraps and it quickly progressed to him appearing at the kitchen window and then the back door for a rich tea biscuit! The others cottoned on fairly quickly too and they now all come to call!” said Clair.

“Now the game season has closed, I shall be spending more time with my Beretta 20 gauge and improving my aim for next season.”

Who is our author Linda Mellor?

Linda Mellor is one of Scotland’s foremost shooting, fishing and hunting female writers and photographers. She is the product Ambassador for Venator Pro, a premier hunting company and stockist of the European brand Hillman. With a lifetime of countryside experience, Linda’s passion, enthusiasm and respect for the outdoors and hunting is explored and shared across her writing and photography. 

For more information on Linda Mellor, please visit Linda Mellor's website, Twitter (LindaMellor) and instagram (linda_mellor).