Anthony Stodart

Founder, ArdMoor Ltd

Born and raised in Scotland and having worked in the countryside in one shape or form his entire life, Anthony Stodart founded ArdMoor Ltd ten years ago. From a farming background he saw a need for a single place to find top quality clothing and kit for those who live, work and play in the rural environment. He started ArdMoor with a desire to offer the very best products with unbeatable customer service and great value to all who share his passion for the Great Outdoors.

What’s the best – and worst – game dish you’ve ever eaten?

I used to work as a stalker on an estate near Dalwhinnie where we ate venison for pretty much every meal. Roast haunch of venison, perfectly cooked with a delicious creamy redcurrant sauce for supper, venison sausages for breakfast and minced venison in our baps for lunch. Every meal delicious, never tired of and, unlike doing the same with McDonald’s, no nasty side effects (that I am aware of!)

I’m not sure whether eel could be classed as game but on the basis that it was caught, I’m classing it as such! An incredible catch in a lobster pot that led to a host lovingly cooking up an eel risotto which has to go down as the most vile thing, game or otherwise, that I have ever been expected to eat.

Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat?

No. I am pretty adventurous and certainly willing to give anything a go (other than eel of course!) The best shooting property you’ve stayed in? The Old Laundry, Achfary on the Reay Forest Estate in Sutherland whilst stalking hinds in January. A beautifully finished off property that is properly remote, set in simply stunning scenery and with lovely people who looked after us fantastically for the time we were there. Truly spoiling and the perfect place to unwind after a busy Christmas trading season.

Who, in your opinion, goes out of their way to promote the eating of game?

Talking Game of course, but also the British Game Alliance who are doing a great job of promoting British Game and helping to ensure that more of what is shot is used.

Tell us about your most memorable – not necessarily the best – day’s shooting.

A day’s walked up grouse and ptarmigan shooting in the Highlands on a seriously wet day when I was about 22. There was a pointer working the hill and we were miles from anywhere on the top of a Munro.

A covey of ptarmigan, put up at the top of the hill, had swung round to come over me at the bottom of the line giving me a great opportunity of a left and right at ‘driven’ ptarmigan – one I abjectly failed to take advantage of! I reloaded, took two steps forward and fell up to my waist in a peat bog.

Having unloaded and hauled myself back onto terra firma, I was busy getting myself organised and was checking my barrels to make sure nothing had got up them when there were shouts from above warning me that more ptarmigan were heading my way. I reloaded, fired both barrels and was reloading again to discover that the front 3 inches of both barrels had peeled open, having obviously not checked thoroughly enough. A hard lesson learned – that one should never rush – that I had plenty of time to ponder as I walked the rest of the day carrying my broken gun.

You are given a day’s shooting absolutely anywhere in the world, all expenses paid for you and seven guests. Where would you choose, with whom, and what would you eat and drink for lunch and dinner?

I wouldn’t need to travel far but would head to the Borders to Holylee Estate for some of the most challenging birds anywhere, hosted by Sir David Thomson, one of the most genial hosts one could hope to have, with 7 great mates for some good banter throughout. Game sausages for elevenses, a game stew or pie for lunch followed by probably a roast haunch of venison for supper with a dram or two of Old Pulteney to help the digestive system before bed!

To what lengths should shoots (and guns) go to ensure as much shot game as possible enters the food chain?

In brief, to every possible length. Of course there is an onus on shoots to ensure they have a destination for their game but, to my mind, every gun also has a responsibility to try to promote the eating of game. Far too often now, one hears guns being offered game at the end of the day only to hear them say “no thanks” which defeats the whole purpose of shooting. Ethically, if you aren’t prepared to eat or give away at least a couple of what you have shot, then you shouldn’t really be shooting in the first place. With Talking Game there is now the added incentive to take a brace and try out a great recipe! //