Don't reply in haste. This is why.

An invitation to shoot is a highlight in any gameshooter’s calendar.

The host has three methods at their disposal when inviting a guest to shoot: telephone, written missive sent by post or email. An oral invitation via telephone is the easiest and most practical method, not least because the guest can ask key questions on the spot. However hosts do not always provide all the details a guest requires before the day. So you need to get some facts straight.

 

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What you need get clear when you’re invited shooting

  • The date
  • Time to arrive
  • When it finishes
  • What happens about food (is lunch provided)?
  • Are companions welcome (don’t ask to bring one if not invited)?
  • Transport arrangements
  • Where is the meet?
  • The outline of the day
  • Who pays

A host should be totally open about the nature of the day. If he or she is inviting a guest but requiring him or her to pay, they need to declare this at the outset.  Similarly, if it is not going to be a driven day with everything laid on a plate, but some strenuous walked-up shooting, potential guests should be told, especially if their fitness is questionable.

Driven shooting

It’s important to know whether you’ve been invited to a driven day or a walked-up day

Tipping

The host needs to advise about appropriate tips for a shooting day. Normally the subject should not be mentioned but if the day involves a large bag, especially of grouse – which tend to attract bigger tips than pheasant – the host needs to tell his guests to load their wallets appropriately to avoid an embarrassing search for an ATM.

country clothing

Make sure you’re dressed appropriately (clothes here by Farlows)

The shooting guest’s obligations

If a guest is unable to accept an invitation immediately, he or she should say so and state clearly when able to confirm. Confirmation should be made within three days, preferably sooner.

We have all heard tales of individuals holding back from accepting an invitation in the hope that a better invitation might be just around the corner.

 

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The guest must arrive correctly dressed for shooting and equipped, including having cash for tips, and promptly – politely early by 10 or 15 minutes.

When to pause before accepting an invitation

A guest should pause before accepting an invitation when it comes from somebody who is only an infrequent acquaintance rather than a friend, and who telephones out of the blue. Is the host being disingenuous and trying to fill slots on a commercial day?

“Hi Freddy, it’s Nick. Would you like to shoot partridge on the 10th of September?”

A hasty acceptance in a situation like 
this can so easily result in a day during which the unsettling financial implications only become apparent right at the end, when the host says to the guns: “Please may I have £800…”

Bread and butter letters

Having shot and arrived back home, there is one final essential duty to fulfil, the thank-you letter to the host. It should be a proper, old-fashioned letter and only exceptionally an email. The letter should be written within 24 to 48 hours, no later. It is rude not to take the trouble to write a thank-you letter promptly for any favour bestowed but especially for a shooting invitation; after all, if having had a good day and not blotted one’s copybook, there is always a chance of another invitation in due course.