The Poacher's Handbook

by Ian Niall

  • Hardback - New edition - £14.95
    EPUB - £6.99
    Unit price per 
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

Ian Niall wrote this masterpiece of country lore to retain the thrill of crossing the hills in the moonlight and of creeping up the woodside at dusk.

He said, 'This book is about poaching in the old traditional style, the craft of men who knew and loved the countryside and invoked the unorthodox skills rather than the crude use of modern science to catch their game, which they took sparingly, as they needed it.'

From the Poacher's Handbook you will learn how to retrieve a ferret from a deep burrow and how to train a dog, as well as the cunning ways of gamekeepers and the meaning in the changing flight of a loan pigeon. You are advised to walk softly and to listen long, when to run and when to stand still, the thing to do in the black hat of night and the way to read a flushed magpie and the laugh of the jay.

Poet, countryman and scholar, Bernard O'Donaghue, wrote a foreword to this celebrated country classic which will delight a new generation of country lovers and collectors alike.

The Poacher's Handbook was first published in 1950. Hailed as 'the outstanding of nature books', it was an immediate bestseller and achieved no less than 14 editions before being republished in 1960 as The New Poacher's Handbook but without Barbara Greg's wood engravings. Since then there have been two separate paperback editions and total sales of over 100,000.

This edition is a re-issue of the original format and includes Barbara Greg's highly-acclaimed wood engravings.


34 Black & white illustrations


Mar 01, 2003


About the Author:

Ian Niall (1916-2002) was the pen name of John McNeillie, author of over forty books on country matters, including The Poacher's Handbook and The Way of a Countryman. In 1990 he celebrated forty years as a columnist, at one point both for The Spectator and for Country Life where he was known and loved by a wide public for his weekly ‘Countryman’s Notes’. He was born in Scotland and he spent his formative years on his grandfather’s farm in Wigtownshire, recalled in A Galloway Childhood. He and his wife then lived in Wales and, later, the Chilterns. They had three children. His son Andrew McNeillie, Professor Emeritus at Exeter University, is the author of a biographical memoir of his father, Ian Niall: Part of his Life.

We Also Recommend