For those of you that don’t know, a simulated game day or sim day is a day out in the field just like a game day but shooting clays. The day is very similar to that of a game day except some of the etiquette and rules of a game day do not apply. For example you are encouraged to steal your neighbours ‘bird’ and whooping and cheering is a must! I certainly enjoy pinching the odd ‘bird’ and do laugh when I hear my neighbour groan as it dusts in front of them before they had had a chance to pull the trigger.
Almost all sim days will start over breakfast where the Shoot host will introduce you to your fellow guns and go through the rules and health and safety. You will in some cases be asked to choose your peg number and this will be where you are positioned for each of the drives. There are usually between four and five drives on a day. I find driven targets quite challenging, so a sim day is a perfect way to get lots of practise in. You can normally expect to see at least 2000 clays throughout the day.
Once the formalities are done with you all pile into 4x4s or on some shoots a gun bus and head out to the first drive. The day is mostly driven birds; and lots of them! Plenty of cartridges will be needed for the day, always make sure to bring more than you think you will need as there is nothing worse than running out halfway through the day. Most shoots will have some cartridges they can sell you on the day. You also need to ensure your cartridges are fibre wad; almost all shoots will insist on this.
After your first two drives it is time to stop for elevenses. Someone once said to me a sim day is all about eating with a bit of shooting and wow were they right! You will never eat so much in one day. But it is all part of the fun and it gives you a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guns better. There is usually plenty of drinks to go around as well!
The final two drives are often the most challenging and once you get your eye in are certainly satisfying. Hitting those really high birds is such a delight and seeing your friends do it too is just great! When these are over it’s time to head back to the pub for some dinner and to share tales of your day to the other guns who may have missed you hitting ‘the highest bird of the day’!
This year has been a big year for me on simulated game days as I wanted to make sure I was a prepared and ready for my first game season as I possibly could be. Although the etiquette is a little different (look out for my blog coming soon on game day etiquette) the shooting itself is as close to game shooting as you will get with clays. You are out in the field, on a peg, with someone else loading for you, it really is just the most amazing experience ever!
Yesterday was my final sim day of 2017 and it was fantastic! Next stop is my first game day in a few weeks I can’t wait.