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How to be an excellent companion on a shoot day

If you've just started seeing somebody who is a keen Shot they may well ask you to join them as their companion on a shoot day. And if you have never been out in the field before or shot yourself it can seem a bit daunting. To help you along, here's a few things you should know so that you can be confident you're conducting yourself impeccably (and will be asked along again).

shooting companion
  1. Shooters are generally a friendly lot and will welcome a new face. Read up a bit on clayshooting/pheasant shooting and partridge shooting before you go out and learn the difference between driven shooting and rough shooting. For more in-depth knowledge on some of the terms you’ll hear when you’re new to shooting, take a look at our shooting glossary. It’s best not to arrive with any strong opinions – listening, watching and learning will take you a long way.
  2. Turn your mobile off when you arrive. In fact, leave it in the car.
    New to shooting etiquette tips

    People who bang their car door on arrival at a drive are VERY irritating

  3. As for cars – do not slam your car door noisily when you arrive. It will alert the game and frighten them off (this is definitely Not A Good Thing).
    fitted women's tweed jacket.

    This tailored jacket is tweed with a fashionable twist. Tweed jacket by Liberty Kelly £265

  4. Do you have to wear tweed? If you’re accompanying your partner and not actually shooting yourself a dark green or grey parka or gilet will be considered very acceptable.
  5. Don’t bring your own dog.
    long grey scarf with fur hood

    Snuggle into a long scarf complete with glamorous fur hood. £95 by South West Ten

  6. It can get chilly. Any fool can be cold so practical clothes are essential. Dress for the weather and not just the look. You need to be able to move freely. Dry, warm feet are essential- waterproof wellies or boots are key. (But no brightly coloured or patterned wellies please.)
    group of people on a shoot

    Shooters are generally a friendly lot

  7. What should you say and what shouldn’t you say? Don’t pretend you know stuff when you don’t. But don’t be afraid to ask questions either. Showing an interest will win you respect and friendship. You can read up on shooting etiquette here.
  8. Will you be invited to the shoot lunch? If your partner has been invited by the host to the shoot lunch and has said you are coming along, then you are usually automatically invited too. However, it’s best not to assume so always ask your other half to check with the shoot host in advance to avoid any embarrassment on the day.
    shoot lunch etiquette for those new to shooting

    You are almost certainly invited to the shoot lunch but it’s always best to check with the host

  9. What if you like the look of what you see and decide you want to take up shooting? Then congratulations, you have some wonderful days ahead. There are plenty of places to learn to shoot and several shooting clubs to join. A good place to start is with the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association who have a list of schools where you can learn to shoot around the country. There are also plenty of shooting clubs for women, who welcome new members and hold events around the UK.  The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has a women’s section. Take a look at the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club, Femmes Fatales, Ladies Shooting, The Covert Girls.   Another inspiring way of learning is to take a course over a couple of days on a “Field to Fork” experience  – on the first day you will learn the basics of shooting in the morning and go out in the field in the afternoon. The following day you will have a game cookery lesson and cook what you have shot the day before. A satisfying way of completing the circle.
    Pheasants hanging

    Learn to shoot and then cook what you eat – that’s the way ahead

With thanks to South West Ten for their tips on etiquette and dressing practically and stylishly out in the field.

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