Do you like company - or do you prefer to shoot solo? Giles Catchpole and Ben Samuelson make their preferences clear ...
One of the joys of shooting for me is that it is one of the few places where I am properly left alone with my thoughts. Whether it is strategic planning for my next business decision, pondering the rights and wrongs of Brexit, or the far more frequent harbouring of impure thoughts about the lovely new barmaid at my local, that quiet time on the peg is sacrosanct. And no, it isn’t the same when you’re in the car as both radio and hands-free telephony means that other voices are always in your ear.
I always make a hash of things when the shooting starts if I have someone standing next to me. Birds that normally wouldn’t require a second thought, merely an instinctive swing and a pull of the trigger at just the right moment, get missed. I start thinking about where I should put my feet, when I should put the gun up and, as the misses mount up, think about it all even more. If the person standing with me is my wife, I am mildly asked why on earth I missed that one. I can’t bear to think about what it does to my son’s belief that his father is pretty good at shooting.
The most shaming of all situations is when I find myself standing next to you, the lovely readers. There is an assumption my protestations of being a crap shot are just false modesty, the products of tweedy good manners and that in real life I must be a chisel-jawed avian assassin. The multiple chins should be the first hint that my modesty is anything but false but as bird after bird is missed, I can feel slight confusion turning into a damn good anecdote… Ben Samuelson