I?ve never shot anything more than driven pheasants and want to make the most of my chances. What advice can you give me?

GROUSE SHOOTING

John Bidwell

Even though I?ve been grouse shooting a number of times, I am no expert at the job, but what I do know about driven grouse is this: stay off the wine the night before!

These birds are fast enough as it is in August but by October when they?re wilder they go up a gear or two – especially if there?s anything of a wind blowing to help them on their way.

Then again, when all’s said and done, nothing flies faster than 1250 ft per sec, so pick the shell of your choice, and get stuck in.

My advice?

First: It?s hard to judge distance on open moorland so pick out markers in front of the butt to give an idea of how far out the birds are.

Second: Concentrate like mad. Watch the horizon, ignore bumble bees and as soon as you spot a bird, get on your toes.

Third: Don?t take your eyes off the bird you?ve picked by suddenly switching to another in the covey.

As soon as it crosses your 60 yard marker, get on the trigger – the bird will hit the shot pattern about 40 yards out.

Get the first shot off early and you should be able to kill a second bird in front as well without it getting too close.

But do use your feet.

Four: Always shoot in front and NEVER swing through the line; if you do decide to take a bird behind (and only if it?s safe to do so), remove the gun from your shoulder, drop the stock and raise those muzzles skyward as you turn.

With feet firmly in place, put the bead on your intended target, swing and fire.