For the vast majority of shooters at some point in their lives have been asked by friends what a particular shoot was like and was it worth it. Just like anything in this world, it’s impossible to please everyone at the same time. Some game shooters for example prefer to travel around the estate in their own vehicles whilst others prefer the communal gun bus. If there is a limit on what they can and can’t do, slight frustration or even disappointment can occur. Here we have researched and gathered what we feel makes a great game shooting experience.
Shake your hand and park the car?
We don’t know of a game shoot that parks your car for you on arrival but you never know, someone out there might expect it. In this section, we’re going to talk about your arrival at the shoot and what degree of welcome you should receive.
We’re sure we say this on behalf of all game shooters out there. It’s essential that you are met by a visible host upon your arrival. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere and then not having a clue which direction you should walk and so forth. It goes without saying that the morning of a shoot can be a stressful time for many hosts. There’s lots to do and organise in order to ensure the day gets off to a great start, but a host that greets you upon arrival with great humour is a must!
If like most game shooters you have travelled a long way to the shoot, the next thought on your mind is either going to be about coffee and/or bacon. A bacon sandwich or for those that prefer a lighter option along with a strong tea or coffee can be restorative upon arrival. A good functional game shoot room can also have a big impact on your opinion of the shoot from the very beginning. This is not to suggest you should arrive at the shoot in your Range Rover and expect a room in a castle with cashmere, but if it’s both cold and raining outside, an old barn with large holes in the roof is not ideal. A warm barn with food and drink along with happy faces is all that is actually required (and access to toilet facilities of course).
It is also important that you are given the opportunity to greet the game keeper shortly after your arrival. It’s important to remember that both the host and the gamekeeper are going to be under a lot of pressure in the morning but if the opportunity arises, one would expect a greet.
What about the general atmosphere?
It’s important that there is a great atmosphere from the start of your days game shooting right through to when you leave. Obviously there are days that just don’t go to plan and many things can affect the general atmosphere of the shoot but it is important to ensure you feel welcome and ‘looked after’. It doesn’t take much from either side to remind everyone present that the day is to be fun and enjoyable. An exchange of a smile and a pleasant greeting is all it takes to initiate a good conversation that can really help the atmosphere stay at its best. The worst comes when there is one gun who waves etiquette out of the door or displays dangerous behaviour.
An obvious factor but one that is worth mentioning. Sometimes the birds just don’t display and more often than not, the day can still be viewed as a success simply because everyone had a great time. Nevertheless, the quality of the birds is important and should be viewed as such.
Where’s my peg?
Sometimes no matter how luck you may feel, you may just draw the peg nobody wants. Typically this will be confirmed by the sound of laughter surrounding you but nevertheless, you should take it will pride. The spacing between pegs is one which has been debated over and over again throughout the years. The old guideline of spacing between pegs was 40 yards which we feel is perfectly suitable. If the pegs are spaced out too far between one another, one could expect perfectly presented birds to just fly through the line. Pegs that are spaced closely to one another more often than not lead to confusion and frustration; It’s impossible in this situation to tell whose bird it is.
We briefly touched on transportation earlier on this article. Some guns prefer to drive themselves around the estate whilst others enjoy and look forward to the gun bus banter. For us, provided the host and gamekeeper see no problem with either of these transportation methods, the offer for both should be on the table.
You hear it all the time. Some guns prefer to shoot through whilst others do not. Depending on what your preference is will ultimately help decide whether or not you feel elevenses and so forth was adequate. For us, the nice glass of red at the end of the day can make all the difference!
Treatment and respect
We don’t know of one gun who wouldn’t want to see shot game been treated with respect. This comes down to game shooting etiquette, but it is one that we feel is worthy of mentioning in this article. Beyond this, guns enjoy being told about the different drives and what one should expect. Furthermore, the overall efficiently of the beaters is rather important.
Pickers-up and guns should work hand in hand at the end of a drive. There is no reason why a gun if able should not pick up their own shot game. This is something that differs between shoots, but it’s only polite.
- Guns who thank the whole team at the end of the day. Beaters, pickers-up and keepers at the end of the day
- Guns who know their own limitations and refrain from taking shots out of their personal comfort zone
- Guns who attend to an injured bird rather than use the second barrel on another passing bird
- Great company
- Great food
- Well presented birds with evenly spaced out pegs and drives
- no fines!