The C&TH Guide to the Shooting Season
The where's where and the what's what of the shooting world, by Eleanor Doughty
It’s time to brush up on the lingo, know where to learn to shoot like a pro, and also know which presents to take to a shooting weekend. So, fill up your hip flask, check that your breeks still fit, and make sure you’ve got your Hunter wellies. Here are a few points to check you are ready for the season ahead.
The C&TH Guide to the Shooting Season
Learn the Lingo
And you’ll make friends for life
Bag – Number of Birds shot in one day
Gun– As in your shotgun and also what you call other people who are shooting.
Drives – The locations for each shoot; sometimes in the woods, or on an actual drive, or elsewhere up a hill somewhere.
Side-By-Side – Style of shotgun where the barrels lie horizontally next to each other; preferred by traditionalists and old- fashioned shoots.
Over and Under – Style of shotgun where the barrels lie on top of each other.
Peg – Position from which you shoot, numbered.
To wipe someone’s eye – what happens when someone misses a bird and then their neighbour shoots it instead.
‘Bore’ as in, 12 -Bore – The diameter of your gun’s barrel (not the dullard next to you at supper last night)
The Glorious Twelfth – 12 August, the start of the Grouse season.
Brace – Pair, of birds.
Best Locations for a Day Out
Beg an invitation to one of these shooting locations
Stowell Park – Gloucestershire, home to the Vestey Family
Blenheim Palace – Oxfordshire, home to the Duke of Marlborough
Floors Castle – Borders, home to the Duke of Roxburghe
Alnwick Castle – Northumberland, home to the Duke of Northumberland
Back to School
Where to learn to shoot like a pro (or a toff)
Roxburghe Shooting School – Kelso, Scottish Borders. Lessons from £65
Bywell Shooting Ground – Felton, Northumberland. Lessons from £71.50
West Midlands Shooting Ground – Market, Drayton, Shropshire. Lessons from £65
EJ Churchill – West Wycombe Estate, Buckinghamshire. Lessons from £160
Barbury Shooting School – Swindon, Wiltshire. Lessons from £80
West London Shooting School – Northolt, Ealing. Lessons from £99
Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds – Northwood. Lessons from £112
North Wales Shooting School – Deeside, Flintshire. Lessons from £71
The C&TH Guide to Women-Only Shooting Clubs
Get these instructors to show you what’s what
Jono Irby (Purdey)
Alastair Phillips (William Evans)
John Ward (Ray Ward)
Steve Rawsthorne (Holland & Holland)
Paul West (William & Son)
Charm the Host
The best presents to take
Fortum & Mason – Who can resist the charming green packaging?
Booze – Always appreciated. But don’t just bring a bottle because that looks stingy. If you happen to make your own small-batch gin like Gordon Castle, so much the better and an Asprey stag head decanter will never get turned down.
Something edible you’ve made yourself – Marmalade is a good shout, if you’re into that. Or if you’ve a family speciality- say, Longleat cake- then opt for that. Applies to all country invitations, really. Avoid candles. Everyone has too many these days.
A funny loo book – can be a bonus gift
Best Restaurants for Game Season
Don’t you dare…
Moan – It’s supposed to be FUN
Get drunk – You wouldn’t drink and drive now, would you?
Wear bright colours– The birds don’t like them, neither do your friends
Ask who else is coming – When you’re invited to shoot. Just turn up happy to see whoever is there and rest assured that your host will have the guest list covered.
Whatsapp/Instagram/Live/FaceTime – the nanny all day. Put your phone away, no one cares
Brag about – how many you shot. Again, no one cares.
Turn up looking a compete mess – Do at least try to make an effort. Gentlemen, collar and tie, please.
But equally… don’t wear a face full of makeup, ladies. It’s a shoot, not a fashion show. Some lip balm and a slick of waterproof mascara should do.
RSVP then cancel – So rude. Don’t mark it down as a ‘PBI’ – pending better invitation – just say yes or no and put it in the diary.
Steal someone else’s bird – out of the sky. Stick to your own.
Refuse the brace of birds – given out at the end. Always accept, even if your freezer is stuffed.
The Dates to Know
12 August – Start of the grouse season
1 September – Start of the partridge, duck & goose seasons
1 October – Start of the pheasant season
10 December – End of the grouse season
31 January – End of the duck and goose season
1 February – End of the pheasant and partridge season
You might also like...