The 2017 UK Grouse shooting season starts next Saturday 12th August, The Glorious Twelfth.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your grouse shooting this season:
- Travel early and stay near the moor. Make sure you know where the RV for the day is. Grouse shooting is expensive – you don’t want to miss any part of the day due to traffic congestion, car troubles or getting lost on the way there.
- Prepare your equipment well. Your guns (most moors will expect you to double gun early in the season) have been checked and serviced, suitable cartridges have been purchased in sufficient numbers, shooting glasses and hearing protection are clean and serviceable, footwear including laces and zips are checked and wet weather gear and cap are packed.
- Get to know your loader as early as possible in the day. In the butt is too late.
- Rehearse your double gunning act with your loader before you get to the butts where you may be distracted by everything else that is going on.
- Site and understand the arcs prescribed by your butt’s shooting sticks – front and to the rear of your butt. Safety (in all its forms) is paramount to everything else throughout the day.
- Ascertain where the butts on your flanks are located.
- Study the topography of each drive to try to determine the likely flight path of the grouse as they are driven towards the butts. Your loader may have local knowledge that can help you with this.
- Visualise your “opening fire” line – usually around 20-30 yards in front of you.
- Practise your gun changing and swing to the rear with your loader in your allocated butt. Footwork and sure footing are crucial for safety and good shooting. Take your loader’s advice. They have probably shot multiple times from that butt.
- Once set up – be quiet. Listen intently for the approach of the beating line.
- Shoot fast (including a second shot) and instinctively. Do not dwell or over-think your shot or bird selection.
- Try not to select a particular bird well out in front and stick with it. It may veer away from your butt or be shot by an adjacent Gun and you are left with insufficient time to select another bird before the covey has sped through the line.
- Try to mark where birds have fallen but don’t allow this to dominate your thought process. Concentrate on your shooting and then when the final whistle has blown, worry about picking up birds in conjunction with the beaters and picking up team.
- Clean up your butt before leaving. Someone has to do it and the moor support team will very much appreciate it.
- Offer a gratuity to the gamekeeper and your loader commensurate with the work they have done to make your day a success and enjoyable for you.
- Most of all – ENJOY THE DAY!