Dario Martina

Founder, Dedito Boots Ltd

In 2003 a dog came into my life. Not just any dog, but a dog that would influence my life beyond my expectations. I think it must have been ‘the chosen one’. He was a gundog, an HPR aka Hunt Point Retrieve breed, a Weimaraner called “DEDITO”. Training him on the grouse moors made me realise that this would be my future life. The rest is history…

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

Best game eaten: Grouse. Worst: Old duck. Is there any game you don’t – or wouldn’t – eat? No, I am willing to try every game dish.

The best shooting property you’ve stayed in?

It’s a private house in the hills of Florence in Italy where we had some wonderful walked up days with our pointers, enjoying the Italian way of celebrating life. Your favourite chef that cooks game. That’s a local chef, Esther E. Veerman: her cook book From Field & Moor has amazing recipes.

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

The British Game Alliance as well as so many game keepers around the country are promoting eating game fantastically.

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

The most memorable day out shooting was the first time I went out to shoot over my first pointer, his name was Dedito, and he was the one that introduced me to the sport and changed my life. I was inexperienced but he was so focussed on the job that he made it easy for me to enjoy working with him.

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 probably would choose a day shooting grouse on the Reeth moor under head keeper Paul Simpson and under keeper Dave Atkinson. It’s a fantastically kept moor with breathtaking views and spectacular birds and the atmosphere on these days is always so relaxed. I would choose a light lunch with game sandwiches and some nice cheese and then crack on again. For dinner it would be a must to have roasted grouse on the menu. I don’t drink at all but I would serve my guests a nice Italian wine like a Barolo. I will stick to my water.

My 7 guests would be: Roy Burrows: the man that introduced me to my new world 14 years ago and a cracking shot. Ian Muirhead: he makes the day with his humour and presence. Jason Hudson: a good friend with pointers and we always have a great laugh together. Ger Hagen: a Dutch friend who taught me all about pointers and has an incredible knowledge of dogs. Dave Pilkington: a good friend and fellow Weimaraner owner. Toni Laughton: importer of Fausti guns, a great shot and fantastic humour. Last but not least my first dog Dedito: he has to be there because a day like this without him at my side won’t be a good day.

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

We are responsible as guns/shoots to do as much as we can to educate the general public about the meaning of eating game. We should encourage local pubs and restaurants to serve game during the season. The guns should take some game home and spread it amongst friends and family. We should go above and beyond to promote game on the table. //