Traditional driven shooting attire of tweeds, wools, and earthen colors are expected, and you should avoid bright colors that will flare the birds.
Blaze orange and camouflage are discouraged. The shooting world is becoming more and more open to different styles, but a shirt and tie are always proper. Many view this as a mark of respect towards the quarry and the people who make it all possible. Smart trousers are now becoming more accepted instead of traditional breeks. However, breeks are a safe bet if on a formal shoot. It is important to bring clothing that will keep you comfortable, warm, and dry. In addition to considering the weather, make sure that you can comfortably mount your gun and that you are not impeded by what you are going to wear.
Good sportsmanship means following a few basic rules. It is considered bad form to shoot a low bird, shoot a bird at close range or to poach a bird that would be considered your neighbor’s.
If you are a skilled shot, be generous and let a few birds fly over your neighbor. Know your ability. Do not shoot a bird that is out of your range as you may only cripple the bird. If you think you have fallen a wounded bird, make a mental note so you can mention it to the dog handlers.
It is important that all birds are accounted for at the end of each drive. Guns are most welcome to work their dogs but should liaise with the pickers to ensure nothing is left. It is proper to pick up spent cartridges after each drive.
Respect for the quarry is important. We are not simply shooting targets – pheasants and partridges are real. Knowing something of their ways and wiles is fundamental. It also adds so much to the enjoyment of time spent in the field.
Gun safety is most important and there can be no compromise in this regard.
The following safety precautions are expected:
- Carry your empty gun in a gun sleeve to and from shooting pegs
- Break your gun before completely removing it from the slip.
- When removing your gun from its sleeve always keep the barrels pointing down or straight up.
- When you close your gun, always keep the barrels pointing down, and bring the stock up to meet them
- If your gun is loaded and closed, the barrel must be pointed at the ground or up in the air.
- If you wish to rest your gun over your arm, the gun must be broken.
- Never swing your gun along the line of shooters, loaded or unloaded
- If you hand your gun to someone else, you should always unload and break it. Similarly, if climbing over a fence or stile.
- Only shoot when you can see clear sky around and behind the bird.
- You should never shoot towards woods or hedges, as that is precisely where the beaters could be.
- When walking always break your gun, and ensure the barrels are pointing earthward.
Always give the birds ample time to clear the ridges or treetops to ensure that there is 360-degrees of sky behind the bird. If you have any doubt, do not shoot. There will be another opportunity, but you can never take a shot back.
At the end of the shooting day, it is appropriate to tip the Head Gamekeeper if you feel you have had a good day and really enjoyed yourself.
But gratuities are at your discretion. Generally, a £40 tip, in cash, per shooter on a driven shoot would be much appreciated.
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