As the son of a gamekeeper Darren was immersed into the shooting world from an early age. Rearing pheasants and partridges, controlling vermin, sat in a pigeon hide or fishing he was rarely to be found at home. Like most he started with an air-rifle and progressed to a .410, 20 bore and then a 12 bore. Darren grew up on the edge of the North York Moors near Helmsley, within a stone’s throw of some of the country’s most revered shoots such as Duncombe Park, Nawton Towers and Rievaulx where he cut his teeth as a beater and loader.
Darren studied Forestry at the University of Lancashire where he shot clays for the University team and upon graduating worked with the Forestry Commission in East Anglia. It was here that he forged his interest in Deer management and became a qualified stalker.
An Estate Management role as the Senior Rural Estate Manager with the Ministry of Defence covering multiple training areas across the North of England took him back to Yorkshire, and the grouse moors of the Yorkshire Dales in Swaledale and Wensleydale.
More about Darren
Along with more general estate management to support military training and the tenanted estate, Darren ran a 10 year project to regenerate Black grouse populations, managed a 3,000-acre moor shot over by a military syndicate and assisted the Game Conservancy Wader Project in the North East of England. A keen rifle shot, he controlled foxes across the MoD estate in Yorkshire and is experienced in the use of Thermal and Night Vision optics.
For many years he helped out at Marne Clay Shoot in North Yorkshire and worked with Army Cadets and Soldiers in teaching them to shoot clays as well as shooting sporting clays competitively across the country.
It was whilst in the Dales that Darren left the beating line and started loading on numerous grouse moors and pheasant shoots across Yorkshire and Durham and subsequently took on the role of shoot host.
Leaving the MoD after 14 years Darren then led the forestry offering for Savills UK in Yorkshire and the North of England, working with landowners across some of the most iconic shooting estates to create new woodlands and manage their existing woodlands to optimise forestry revenue whilst at the same time improving habitat and drives for improved game returns.
As an APSI instructor Darren has travelled across the UK and Europe to work in field with clients shooting grouse, pheasant and partridge and worked with the Calvert’s team as a freelance instructor for 2 years before joining them full-time in the spring of 2020 as a Shooting Consultant.