A Full Guide To Simulated Game Shooting
Now that the driven game season has come to a close, it’s a great time to consider taking part in a simulated game shooting day. In our last article we spoke about why you should practice clay shooting in the summer and furthermore, why it’s important not to just simply lock your shotgun away until the following season.
Simulated game shooting can vary greatly between providers up and down the United Kingdom so in this guide we’ll be explaining what you should expect. Typically speaking, simulated game shooting is much more flexible when compared to traditional driven game shooting in that it often takes place in the summer months. One of the benefits to this is that no one is in a hurry to finish up before dark.
Simulated game shooting days are more often than not run similar to game days. Upon your arrival in the morning, coffee and a bacon roll along with a briefing is both common and widely welcomed. Following this you and the rest of the guns will then move off to the first drive where you will notice there are pegs just like you would see on a game day. The pegs are usually positioned closer to one another but apart from this, you shouldn’t notice any other distinct changes. Unlike driven game birds, clays are much more predicable and therefore you will usually find the sky in front of you changing colour to orange as the amount of clays coming into your window increases dramatically. Another great fact about simulated game shooting is that where on a traditional pheasant shoot, you may find a team of 8 guns, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in between a team of 16 here. Pegs are usually accommodated by two guns, both of which take it in turn to load and shoot. This creates a great opportunity for some social laughter and so forth. This is not to suggest that the amount of shooting opportunities will decrease because of this, if anything they’ll increase. As we mentioned earlier, clays are much more predicable than game birds which in turn allows them to be positioned in your arc of fire as well as allowing for the drive to be paused whenever.
After a few drives comes the traditional elevenses break. As you would find on a game shoot, sausage rolls and drinks are never to far away. After this, it’s straight back into action where the drives will continue until lunch. At the end of your simulated game shooting day, it is considered normal by the guns to put some money in the pot for the trappers who work hard behind the scenes to ensure the day runs smoothly. The amount differs but generally speaking, £20 is more than acceptable.
What should you wear to a simulated game shooting day?
Unlike clay grounds, it is common for guns who are taking part in a simulated game shooting day to dress as if they were on a game shoot. Breeks, shirts, waistcoats and plenty of tweed is a common sight that helps make the day feel more real. As the majority of simulated game shooting days take place during the summer months, it does pay dividends to check the local weather forecast. The last thing you want to do is dress for a cold day and find that it’s piping hot upon your arrival. On some informal shoots, jeans and shirt conclude to be acceptable attire however it is important to check this beforehand.
One further note you should consider is your safety. As the game birds have been replaced with clays, it is important to ensure you have a good pair of glasses and preferably a hat. Take a look at our clay shooting glasses now – it’s just not worth taking the risk with all those clay fragments flying around.
What shotgun should you use on a simulated game shooting day?
On a simulated game shooting day, it’s not uncommon for guns to complain of a sore shoulder come home time. This is simply due to the amount of shooting that takes place so it’s best to prepare in advance. Selecting the right shotgun for you along with a suitable cartridge will most certainly help. We recommend the use of a light over-under shotgun simply because the barrels on side-by-sides can get hot fairly quickly. In general though, it is best to continue using the same gun you use on a game day. If this happens to be a side-by side shotgun, you need to ask yourself whether or not you are taking part in the shoot for long term overall practice or just for fun. The latter of these allows for flexibility on the shotgun you should select.
As well as selecting a suitable shotgun, you should also think about what cartridge you will be using on your simulated game shooting day. Just as you would use at the local clay ground, 7s or 8s are perfectly acceptable and offer great performance. It’s important to remember that a clay is not living and therefore pheasant loads are best left at home. Plus you’ll be doing your shoulder a favour!
How much does simulated game shooting cost?
The price of simulated game shooting days varies from provider to provider right across the country. You should expect to pay around £150 for a very basic package whereas days at prestigious estates can amount to anything up to £350. The benefit being that you are shooting on a renowned estate with almost guaranteed excellent catering facilities and drives. Your choice should depend on your budget but whichever provider you choose, we’re confident you’ll have a great day.