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Questions to ask when booking a driven day somewhere new

A few things you need to get clear before you start

on the peg

On a fixed-price day the shoot owner or host should tell you when you are close to your target bag

A good pheasant day out in the field is memorable. Make sure your day matches your expectations by asking the following questions when you’re booking driven shooting.

1. Do we have to pay extra?

Q: We bought a fixed-price driven day’s shooting, shot over the expected bag by quite a margin but weren’t told until after the last drive. The owner then billed us for the extra birds. What are the allowances (over or under the bag) on a fixed-price day and could we have refused to pay?

A: On fixed price days, there is usually a 10 per cent allowance either way. The owner/host should have told you when you were close to your target bag, and asked if you wanted to go over. Not telling you is poor practice, and I expect you and anyone else that has been caught out by them will vote with your feet next season and go elsewhere. Regarding your last point – should you have paid them — it was entirely up to you. I doubt there would have been anything they could have done about it, but as with all these things, the devil would have been in the detail of the original agreement — assuming you had one.

Driven shoot day

It’s worth knowing how long the current gamekeeper has been in post

The questions you should ask when booking a driven day’s shooting

  • How long has the ground been shot over without a break? This will tell you if the ground has been laid or evolved for shooting over a century, or just bulldozed together very recently.
  • How long has the current keeper been in post? You’ll learn whether your day will be run correctly by someone who knows the ground and knows the form. Ground that has been shot with longevity and continuity will engender more confidence.