With the 2017 shooting season now underway, you may well be planning to hone your skills with a spot of clay pigeon shooting or have already scheduled your first trip to the field. In any case, having the right kit can help maximise your chances of success.
The Grouse shooting season began on the famous Glorious Twelfth (12 August) and marks the start of the game shooting season, with the Partridge and Pheasant seasons beginning on the 1st September and 1st October respectively.
Here is a guide to the essentials that make for some great days shooting and that help you stay ahead of the, ahem, game.
Dress to Impress
The age-old traditions of game shooting dictate that those who take part should dress for the occasion. Tweed is still of course the preferred garb for many, however, more modern apparel such as the wax jacket are becoming more acceptable as they are a catalyst for comfort and therefore enhanced performance.
A stout pair of rubber or leather boots is also de rigueur and will help in the navigation of the unpredictable terrain underfoot.
As for a hat, gents tend towards a tweed or waxed cotton cap, while ladies may opt for a sidesweep hat or fedora, complete with a band and feathers.
Guns and Gauges
Choosing the perfect gun to accompany you on a shooting trip is an extremely personalised matter and whether it’s a side-by-side or an over-and-under it is imperative that the gun fits well and is has a balance that suits the shooter.
The 12 gauge shotgun is considered by many as the most versatile and both ladies and gentlemen find it comfortable to handle.
For a bespoke British made shotgun Boxall and Edmiston produce an exquisite range that are noted not only for their performance, but for their fine engraving and other personalisation options.
Bags, Slips and Covers
Keeping your powder dry and your gun clean require you have a cartridge bag and a gun slip or cover. Cartridge bags need to be impervious to the elements, allow easy access to the cartridges within and the best are made from canvas or premium quality leather.
The same can be said of gun slips and covers, but these also need to be fashioned in a way that will prevent the stock of the gun being scratched and should have a blocked muzzle at the tip.
A Fine Feast
What better way to end a day’s shooting but to feast and although it is likely that you will want to hang the birds from the day’s shoot, having some prepared from a previous day in the field will provide a well-deserved and satisfying meal.
Simply roasting a bird with fruit or vegetables is one traditional way to eat game, however, for the more adventurous Pheasant curry or possibly Partridge soup may be in order.