The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Etiquette tips you need to know before setting off for the grouse moors

Mark Heath, head instructor at the West London Shooting School, tells you how you should behave

If you’re lucky enough to be heading off to the grouse moors this season then you’ll want to make sure you behave correctly and following the right etiquette for grouse shooting.

However, this isn’t just a matter of saying please and thank you. It’s all about behaving considerately towards your fellow shooters.

Mark Heath of the West London Shooting School is a top instructor and has prepared many Guns for the grouse moors. Here is his advice.

Labrador with grouse

Etiquette for grouse shooting

  • Check your paperwork before you set off. Double check your shotgun licence does not need to be renewed and you have the insurance necessary for a driven shoot. There is nothing worse than booking yourself onto a shoot and realising your third party insurance has expired and is required for your day. It won’t go down well with your fellow shooters either.
  • Plan your season and never leave an invitation unanswered. One of the cardinal sins of shooting is cancelling on a day’s shoot, especially if it is to accept a better invitation, so plan ahead and ensure invitations are responded to as soon as possible. You can join a local syndicate either as a full or half gun or alternatively buy a peg or even share a peg through a little research online.
  • If you are not a competent shot or a bit rusty, I suggest you go and have a few lessons. As a relatively new shot it’s important that your instructor talks you through a game drive and explains the importance of safety, peg etiquette, correct cartridges, picking up and what constitutes a safe shot.

braces of grouse

  • Make sure your gun is clean and ready for action and that you have sufficient cartridges for the day. Put your kit ready the night before making sure that you have appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Don’t forget to take your gun out of the safe when you are leaving, you won’t be the first person to forget to take your gun……..very embarrassing.grouse shooting from butt
  • You need to ensure that you wear dark colours on the grouse moor that blend in with your surroundings. Grouse have sharp eyes, so no light coloured shirts.
  • If you’re walked-up grouse shooting make sure you’re wearing sturdy boots that protect your ankles. You’ll be clambering through peat hags and through rough heather. Wellie boots are not a good idea. If you twist your ankle and can’t walk then you’ll be a liability to everyone and will interrupt everyone’s outing.
  • If you are a guest a small gift for your host often goes down well, and don’t forget some of the folding stuff for your loader and a thank you for the keeper.
  • Saying thank-you costs nothing; take the time to express your thanks to those who have made the effort to make your day.
  • Put your mobile on silent.
  • After your day make sure you write a thank-you letter to your host, particularly if you’re keen to be invited again.