Do you like company - or do you prefer to shoot solo? Giles Catchpole and Ben Samuelson make their preferences clear ...
I like a partner on the peg
Not everyone likes to share a peg and I can understand why. I recall a sporting agent who insisted on joining Guns just as they found themselves in the pound seat on the drive of the day and chattering endlessly to them while they were trying to shoot with a uniformly disastrous effect on their accuracy. (Note to sporting agents: If you want to talk to your clients, do it when they are in Siberia behind the shelter belt on peg No.9).
That apart however, why would you not want to shoot with a friend on your peg? Gameshooting is a sociable undertaking, when all is said and done. So why not be sociable? There are rules though – no, not rules but principles – which attach to being a companion on the peg; and these are applicable to company of either gender, let me assure you.
Etiquette and dogs
Clothing must be subdued and jewellery likewise. Conversation should be undertaken in low tones and with due regard to wind direction and the proximity of the beaters and the other guns for that matter depending on what – or whom – you are talking about. Hoots of laughter and squeals of delight are not to be tolerated.
If a dog is involved, it too must be quiet and reserved.
Having said all of which, I relish company on the peg. I think there is far more to a day’s shooting than just shooting and a pleasure shared is, in my opinion, a pleasure doubled. It helps too if my companion is inclined to be positive about my shooting. I don’t mind silence but continuous criticism grates after a while. But the odd quiet, “Well done!”, or “Oooh! What a corker!” inspires me to ever greater efforts. Certainly having a glamorous companion on my peg brings the club wielding caveman in me to the surface in no time with occasional spectacular results. I am single, of course.
And then there is always the possibility of stuffing. Due regard must always be given to the broader etiquette of getting stuck into a big drive, obviously, but after that there is no doubt that having a colleague who knows what they are about can increase your fire-power considerably.
And if you do get the chance – and you don’t muff it completely – there will be the lasting satisfaction that comes from effective teamwork. And that makes everything good. Giles Catchpole