We asked two experienced shoot captains - Tim Weston who runs events, sponsorship and training for the National Gamekeepers Organisation and Jamie Chandler of Hampshire Sporting Shooter - for their opinions.
1. The Weather: Many Guns prefer a lightly overcast day, a favourable wind with a decent nip in the air. Persistent driving rain all day is enough to break the spirit of the keenest gun.
2. The host: They set the mood for the entire day. A bad host can ruin a good day but you rarely get a bad day with a good host!
3. Location, location, location! The ideal is obviously a fantastic estate far from the madding crowd.
4. The company. Whether it’s decoying pigeons, vermin shooting or formal driven shooting, it’s the people who make the day. Seeing a well-run driven shoot with a keeper controlling the line and birds with little fuss whilst producing challenging sport.
5. Good picking-up. Essential, and having a team of good picker-ups and dogs on a day is a marvel to watch.
1. Missing everything!
2. Taking too long at lunch. Going out too late is bad for the birds who are looking at going back to roost and bad for the beaters who might be standing around in the cold.
3. Mild, damp and still weather. It never bodes well for a good day’s shooting
4. Guns who get on their high horse about bigger bag days. As long as a shoot is well run there is nothing wrong with a family shoot of 15 head or a larger 500 bird day
5. Feeling cold and footwear that’s not up to the job.