Pheasant shooting Top Tips
It is most important to enter the field confident in your ability and the workings of the day-and with good skills in fieldcraft. The excitement of the season doesn’t want to be spoilt by lack of preparation and ‘luck shots’ and it is paramount that you consider this by means of plentiful pre-season practice. There are many attributes to a good shot in the field and more than likely have the mature understanding of a shoot day inside and out and experience in all types of game shooting. However, these tips will help both experienced and novice guns alike and can make you a better gun in the field, so take heed on this information and enjoy your shooting.
With every great shot, there has been many hours practising. It’s advisable to find a decent shooting ground where you will be able to find towers and targets that simulate that of a pheasant in flight, including speeds, trajectory and height. Differentiating tower heights and angles will also support the variation in presented birds and it’s a great way to gain confidence in your gun mount, lead and swing. This will allow you to really feel comfortable with your efforts and a chance to really hone those skills. Its all about understanding the bird, good judgement and challenging yourself in practice so that you can master the field.
It is paramount that you know the do’s and don’ts of how to behave on a day’s shooting including safety and etiquette. Due to the amount of hard work and dedication of the shoot staff it is polite to make sure you are punctual on the day, nobody likes a late gun and of course, loses you precious time which you could be shooting. Not only is punctuality important but dress code, nowadays we aren’t so strict on formal tweeds as the shooting world seems to have become a little more relaxed as new styles trickle into the market. However, it remains essential to stay with the traditional look with breeks, shirt and tie on formal days is seen as a mark of respect to both the shot quarry and to those who work so hard to make the day possible for you.
Regarding shooting in the field, there is a certain code of conduct to abide by in which to stay safe and not upset anyone. Don’t try and shoot birds which are obviously out of range for your equipment and ability, not only is it slightly embarrassing when you miss there is a chance that you will most likely wound the bird. This goes hand in hand with shooting extremely low shots which are frowned upon due to their dangerous consequences and shows you have no regard for peoples safety. This will more than likely have you sent home. It is better to take a shoot the bird at around 1/3 of its way into the air around 45 degrees, this will ensure that the birds’ vital organs are hit first eliminating wounding plus giving you the chance to get a second shot in should you miss.
Whilst you are on your peg it’s a good idea to scan the area and get an idea of where your neighbours are situated and if there is to be a dividing hedge in between you. Its never a good idea to shoot everything coming through the sky especially is it doesn’t belong to you. Shooting your neighbours’ birds whom which have already had given both barrels to is known as “Wiping his eye” and this may be done within the company of good friends but is seen to be uncouth to do so amongst unfamiliar guns.
Don’t forget at the end of the day once you have thanked everyone for your enjoyable day its time to show your gratitude towards the keep by means of a tip. The traditional way is to tip £30 for the first 100 and then £10 every hundred after that. However, tipping is something that if you feel they deserve a more generous thank you then feel free to express your thanks with what you feel reflects your day. Always remember to take a brace home with you as again this marks respect for your quarry and of course is a delicious meal for the evening.
Gun mount and foot placement
For good consistent shooting comes the basics. Its compulsory to have the correct fitting gun for starters and for you to be able to mount the gun swiftly and efficiently to take a clean and fatal shot. That means good mounting practise and attire which is not restricting in any way around the arms and shoulder which can then allow for a smooth shot. If you gun mount is not correct there is a chance that you will not lock on to the bird, misread read it and inevitably miss, probably causing yourself a bit of embarrassment and a bruised cheek. Make a conscious effort to concentrate which will help you with a nice movement. It’s a good idea to remember to keep your eyes locked onto the bird and bring the stock up to your cheek, gently move onto the target and swing smoothly as you pull the trigger, keeping the gun moving as you watch the bird fall.
With foot placement, this has a tremendous effect on how well you shoot. There is a higher chance you will have clean kills if your balance is evenly distributed and you have an element of control. You must watch the bird intensely to gauge the line and speed to which you will have to move your feet accordingly. Making little adjustments to your body position so that you can freely swing through the bird will make all the difference to the way you shoot. You will find this really helps and makes shooting in general a whole lot easier.
Most of all enjoy your days driven shooting. There’s nothing worse than getting disheartened if you’re not hitting much. We all miss! You just have to remember the important aspect is that game shooting isn’t all about the shooting, yes its primarily what we book but it’s more about the camaraderie between fellow guns, the experience of new and wonderful estates and their incredible hospitality our quintessentially British tradition.