How Do Simulated Days Stack up Against a Driven Day

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A simulated days shooting is a brilliant way to warm up before the driven season begins. Some may consider this as a glorified clay ground with little comparison to a Driven Day. However, this isn’t the case. They’re both quite different in their approach and the rules are only comparable by safety. After doing both there are certainly comparables between the two and they have both serve a purpose and have their own merit.

Promatic Grouse trap

Simulated Days

I’ve shot two simulated days now and they were both excellent. There’s something quite nice about not shooting in full winter gear and the chances of rain are slim to none. At one of the days in Cumbria, the worst the weather got was some swirling winds which only added to the complexity of the clays! The format is very similar to a Driven day with everyone pegged out in pairs. The pairs act as a team with one shooting and one loading. This offers a great chance for a bit of coaching and a bit of sledging to the adjacent pegs.

The clays are launched from a set of traps hidden out of sight. In both cases, the trap was adjusted regularly so you are shooting at different targets throughout the drive. More angle or more height, this keeps you on your toes. This also serves as an excellent chance to shoot at targets you might question yourself shooting on a driven day. With the topography in Cumbria, every drive had clays that were 80 yards up and more! Because of this, you can practice shooting targets that on a driven day you’d worry about maiming. Easy in that knowledge, you can begin to test yourself at longer ranges the day becomes excellent practice.

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Carl at Black Grove Sporting in Cumbria

Compared to Driven Days

The days are run in much the same format as a driven day. A few drives then food and the same again when you finish. Without the short winter days, there is little pressure that the dark will roll in if lunch goes on too long. Shooting in a vest and a Tshirt is also rather nice, the warm weather and the long days are certainly more enjoyable than the pouring rain or stormy weather. Combined with the inter peg banter and the testing targets its brilliant fun.

There’s something quite odd about not seeing any beaters or a picking up team but not in a bad way, it’s just different. This is also directly reflected in the price, for the first time you’ll spend more on cartridges than you will on the shooting. The level of apprehension is different, you’ll roughly know where to expect the clays from rather than looking to the sky to guess where the bird may appear.

The etiquette is certainly different, the two days I’ve been on its encouraged to poach your neighbor’s bird and expect the same back. Due to the volume of clays, this isn’t an issue as 5 seconds later you’ll have your own clay to break. Naturally, this will depend on who your neighbor is. As competition between friends isn’t the same as poaching from someone you don’t know may not go down well. It’s all fun and games wether its semi-auto fun or you’re shooting your bespoke shotgun.

Coombe end in the Cotswolds

Conclusions

Both Simulated and Driven shooting can live in harmony. The 6th months between the seasons are long and being able to replicate the driven sensation in the summer is a benefit to everyone. It also gives access to those who can’t in the winter. Simulated grouse for example allows people to experience this type of target without spending 150£ a brace. This also provides estates with some extra income to keep the estates well managed.

Simulated also keeps you in practice during the summer months, shooting driven targets in the right environment helps to keep your eye in. While the atmosphere isn’t the same and you don’t get to interact with the beaters or take birds home at the end of the day; you do get the benefit of longer days, more shots and much better weather.

You also forgo mother natures variables with simulated shooting. Rain or shine and regardless of pests you know you’ll be getting the birds you’re expecting. The drives chances of being hampered by a loose dog or a predated pen are impossible and leaves you to enjoy your day. It seems silly to compare the two directly when both offer different purposes. Driven days are seasonal and provide people the opportunity to harvest wild organic birds to put on the table. Simulated days give you that out of season practice you need to stay sharp for the season ahead. Something that you just can’t replicate at a clay pigeon ground.

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