- For driven shooting wearing smart clothing is a sign of respect. There’s no denying that tweed isn’t a technical fabric but by wearing it is a sign of respect to the birds you are going to shoot. While you don’t premium gear but you should be wearing proper clothing not jeans!
- Remembering your peg number. Shooting doesn’t work without the peg system, the idea being that everyone gets a turn in the hot seat! With this in mind it’s accepted that there are better pegs than others on certain drives. Forgetting your peg creates a whole host of issues. If in doubt try and remember who’s one up and one down and stand in-between!
- Taking too many birds. If you’re on a 100 bird day shooting 5 drives and there are 8 of you there isn’t the scope for you to take 5 birds a drive. The only difference might be if you get two or three drives in and you’re significantly short of the total bag.
- Moving away from your peg. Over christmas I had a chat with an old friend who had the misfortune to see one gun move of his end of the line peg forward and around ahead of the other guns and began to shoot the birds at the flushing point. The birds were being flushed to fly down a tree line with one gun on each side and two guns behind as back guns so effectively he was stealing shooting of half the guns with one being the shoot captain. The day ended with the self roving gun leaving with no plans to be invited back.
- Sporting birds. There are some birds that are clearly sporting and there are birds which aren’t, a lot of this is dependent on the gun and their confidence. However, with that in mind there is little to no excuse to shooting birds that have barely any sky under them especially if your purpose is to then eat the birds after. Only a few times have I seen these birds taken and it’s not a pretty sight seeing these birds shot. Furthermore, modern cartridges are hitting with serious force especially from a 3” chamber so if you have cartridges for big pheasant and a quick partridge pops out just think weather you want to shoot it with a 34g 5.
- Being late. Driven shooting has a lot of moving parts behind the scenes so turning up late especially without prior warning is incredibly frustrating. A lot of estates and shoots are remote with some vague directions so it always pays to be a little early.
- Not bringing the keepers Tip. Tipping the keeper isn’t a secret and shouldn’t be a surprise to you at the end of the day. While the amount you should be tipping depends on the amount of birds you shoot and the service. I think 20£ as a base and then 20 for every subsequent 100 birds. The money will be going to all the beaters and those helping out so don’t feel hard done by.
- Coming short kit wise. When I’m loading up my car for a shoot day I’ve only got myself in mind and I will probably have spare gloves and ear defenders there for someone to borrow. If in doubt pack extra as I’ve seen plenty of people run out of cartridges or forget ear defenders and cross their fingers hoping that someone might have spare.
- Not Replying to your RSVP. When you receive invites before the season it’s in your best interest to reply as soon as possible and to make sure that if you do agree that you’re available that you go. It’s not on to accept an invite and then change your mind should a better invite come around.
Not saying thank you. This applies at so many stages of the shooting process. Thanking your host, your shoot captain and those that have made the day possible. Without those people doing to work around you the day wouldn’t be possible, so endeavour to make sure that those people know that they’ve done a great job. By doing so you may find yourself with an invite for the next season!