Being a Game Shooting novice I knew very little about the sport and the different areas that it covered. To me Game Shooting was Game Shooting and it all came under ‘one roof’. Oh how wrong I was!
There are so many different disciplines of game shooting out there and they all depend on the type of quarry (Game Birds) you wish to shoot. So to save you staring blankly into someone’s face when they ask you whether you would be shooting ‘Driven’ I thought I would create a brief guide to help differentiate between the disciplines available to us.
I wanted to experience as many different disciplines of Game Shooting in my first season so I have joined different shoots from driven to walked up and wild fowling, so I can get a taster of what is on offer. So far I have only had driven Pheasant days, but I have my first wildfowl shoot this week and I cannot wait to share my experience of it with you all!
Watch this space to see how my first wildfowl shoot goes!
Often this is for Pheasant, Partridge or Grouse shooting. This is generally your ‘classic’ game shooting scene whereby there is a row of guns on pegs that await the birds to be driven over their line by beaters. This is where you will more likely see some of those spectacularly high birds that make this type of shooting the favourite with many guns. This is a more formal day than other disciplines of shooting, and due to the amount of work involved in organising such a day and the number of people required, it can be significantly more expensive than other types of shooting but it is sure to be a great day!
Walked up Shooting and Rough Shooting
Rough shooting involves a small group of guns and dogs walking around a set area of land on the hunt for birds and ground game (rabbits, hares etc.). It is seen by many as the true form of ‘hunting’ and is enjoyed by those who love the pureness of it. As the areas are often not managed for game the bags tend to be small but that doesn’t make this any less enjoyable. There is not usually a separate team of beaters as the guns will work their own dogs along the hedgerows as they go. Depending on the time of year and the location, most species of quarry can be shot and it is often popular to have ‘mixed species’ days where the guns try and bag as many different species as possible in one day.
A walked up shoot is very similar to a rough shoot however it is more commercialised with ‘guns’ being advertised for sale. It usually includes around 4-8 guns accompanied by the game keeper and perhaps a couple of beaters. These days tend to be a little more formal than a rough shoot and will often have designated areas for refreshments and breaks. Although it is a good idea to take a hip flask to keep you warm on a cold day just in case the sloe gin runs out!
What kinds of areas will I walk on a rough/walked up shoot?
Area often covered on a walked up shoot are hedgerows, small woodlands and rough grounds as well as potentially game crops on managed areas. A game crop is crop that has been specifically planted to provide cover for game birds on managed land.
This is the hunting of Ducks, Geese and other wildfowl. It requires a lot of patience; as a gun you will be required to sit and wait for prolonged periods of time before the quarry fly in. It often takes place at day break (when Geese come in) or dusk (when Duck come in) during the winter months so it is usually cold, wet, muddy and windy so a good jacket and waterproofs is required. This can be a fairly cheap way of getting out with the gun as it is something you can do independently with your own well trained dog as long as you have permission. I have my first wildfowling day coming up later this week and I am a little unsure on whether I will enjoy it or not given I have ducks and geese as pets so watch this space!
Check out my upcoming blog on my wildfowling kit for my first ever wildfowling experience!