Grouse every weekend: A guide to shooting
How to kill animals with your tweed-wearing mates
It’s no secret that the world of shooting is a very small one and actually getting invited can be very difficult (unless Daddy has his own one of course).
In order to get invited, you need to have friends who shoot and have access to it. Showing that you are a very keen shot while not being overbearingly eager is important, because afterall why invite someone who probably won’t enjoy it?
The social aspect is essential. Shooting is as much about the people you meet as the actual hunting, and even if you aren’t the greatest shot in the world, you can still have fun on a day’s shooting by being good company.
You can of course always buy your way into a shoot. However, for this your student budget will have to be a hell of a way above average, as this does get very expensive.
What to bring with you:
A present for your hosts is a must, try and be more imaginative than the standard bar of soap or smelly candle.
If you’re having dinner with your hosts on either the night before or after or even both: standard attire of brightly coloured chinos/cords and socks plus a shirt will never let you down.
For the actual shooting some tweed garment will make sure you fit right in; tweed breeks and a Barbour is an easy win. If you’re going for both a tweed coat and breeks then make sure that they’re neither matching nor too new; nothing is nicer than using Daddy’s old coat from when he was our age. Underneath, a nice thick cotton shirt with a jersey and/or gilet and a tie (decorated with pheasants of course) will have you laughing.
Shoe-wise a good pair of wellies or walking boots will always do the trick, just so long as they are waterproof, as the season goes on it does tend to get very wet. Of course, if it is a smart shoot make sure your boots aren’t completely trashed.
If you have your own gun, that does help, but transporting it can be rather annoying. Just make sure whoever you’re shooting with know that you don’t have one so that they can sort you out.
What to do:
If you’re lucky enough to be on a shoot where you’re assigned your own loader; make sure you make friends with him – there is nothing worse than having a loader who thinks you’re a prick.
Don’t steal your neighbour’s birds unless you’re a mate of his. This goes for life generally, but doubly so when you’re out on a shoot.
If there are plenty of oldies around, don’t be afraid to try and make friends with them. they usually love having young people around and can be very friendly.
Never be the prick that counts how many birds he’s shot and his cartridge to bird ratio: whether you shot shit or amazingly, make sure that you let everyone know that you’re enjoying your day (From personal experience, no one likes it when you throw your toys out of the pram after every drive).
Having said that, do make sure that every bird you’ve shot is marked and picked. It is not good to just leave birds to rot in a forest somewhere when all it needed was a dog with a good nose.
At the end of the day:
Make sure to thank your host and the gamekeeper; don’t just leave.
If you can take birds home with you, make sure to take a fair share. If in doubt, just politely ask how many is sensible.
There is usually tea or something at the end of the day, stick around for that but don’t overstay your welcome – a day’s shooting takes a lot of organising and there comes a point when your host just wants you to fuck off.
So there you have it, if you are lucky enough to take part in this very fun sport – you now know what to do and when. Of course, shoots do differ but whatever you do, don’t be a prick. Just enjoy yourself.
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