With this being my first year Game Shooting I have done a lot of research into the etiquette of Game Shooting. I knew it would be very different to clay shooting and competitions and I wanted to make sure I didn’t look a fool on the day.
If you are new to driven shooting, like me, and you want to be invited back on the shoot again next year there are a few matters of etiquette that you must observe.
Fear not for below is an overview of all that I have found on shooting etiquette for game days so that you can be the perfect guest and secure that invite back!
This is an easy one but believe me there are many who get it wrong. Be sure to arrive in plenty of time so that you can introduce yourself to fellow guns and get everything ready for the day. Coat and boots on, gun in it’s slip and cartridges in the bag. Being late will cause everyone delay and annoyance.
Top tip – make sure you bring plenty of cartridges for the day; running out really isn’t cool!
Every shoot will begin with a briefing where you will learn about the structure of the day, any local rules and health and safety. This is where you will also get given your peg number which is where you will stand on the drives.
In the Field
On a driven shoot your peg will be numbered, head straight to your peg and prepare for the first drive. The line of guns may be straight or curved, be sure to note where your fellow guns and beaters are and never shoot in their direction. You should always keep your barrels skyward unless your gun is broken – but this is the first rule of gun club right!?!
If you can’t see sky behind the bird don’t shoot it! Only ever shoot a bird with sky behind it. Do not try and shoot birds that are impossibly high, equally you do not want to shoot a bird that is very low as this could render it unfit for the table. Taking low birds is not only unsporting and embarrassing it is outright dangerous!
Don’t be the one asked to leave due to dangerous shooting.
Be careful not to poach a bird from your fellow guns as this is a big no no! The picture below will help you to determine what is your bird and what is a fellow guns. If you are ever unsure it is better to let the bird go than risk upsetting anyone on the day.
End of the Drive
The keeper will signal the end of the drive with a whistle or call. When this happens be sure to make your gun safe and put it back in the slip and pick up any spent cartridges. A magnetic cartridge collector stick will make picking up spent cartridges much easier and less messy. You can also pick up any game that is near you and carry this back to the game truck as this will enable the pickers up to focus on more difficult to find birds.
Always tip the gamekeeper, usually £20/£30 per 100 birds, although if you have had a particularly good day you can tip more. You can discuss the tip with fellow guns or the shoot captain. You don’t want to over tip and make your fellow guns look stingy; equally you don’t want to be the one that looks like a tightwad. I think the latter would be worse but it’s best to try and get it right to save anyone any embarrassment. Make sure to thank all involved not just the shoot captain; there are many other people who make the day so special and each deserve a bit of thanks!