A few things worth considering
A shooting invitation is a highlight in any gameshooter’s calendar but don’t rush into a reply. Whilst you should reply promptly you should consider the following before making a decision.
Receiving a shooting invitation
When the host invites a guest to shoot it’s likely to be done in one of three ways. By telephone, by post or by e mail.
One of the advantages of receiving a phone call is that it gives the guest the opportunity to ask key questions immediately. However hosts do not always provide all the details a guest requires before the day. So you need to receive some key information.
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What you need get clear when you’re invited shooting
- The date
- The time you should 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 doubtful.
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.
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 wearing the right shooting clothing (ask your host if you have any doubts) 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…”
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, written in ink on decent notepaper 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. (Read how to make sure you’re invited back to shoot.)