The bigger the shoot, the less respect?

Picking-up is about one thing — finding shot birds. The joy I get from finding one bird that would otherwise be lost gives me more pleasure than shooting even the highest of pheasants. Over the years I have managed to climb the picking-up tree, from a small syndicate with one…

shoot lunch picnic

What you need to know BEFORE replying to a shooting invitation

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…

what ladies should wear shooting

Ladies in the field – some advice on what to wear

Hicks & Brown was set up by designer sisters Alice and Rosie, who were brought up on a farm and have excellent fieldsports credentials. We asked them for their tips on what ladies should wear in the field  (and not wear) and what’s good to wear on a warm autumnal…

becoming a loader

I want to become a loader. Should I do a course?

I have loaded for some years, and although competent, I decided it was time to get a qualification in the subject. Why  
is a loading course a good idea? One of the significant reasons for picking up a loading qualification is for health and safety purposes. Shoots and estates have…

Beaters, loaders and pickers-up

Do beaters, loaders and pickers-up get paid fairly?

It is a pretty fair assumption that there are few people for whom beating, picking-up or even loading is their main source of income throughout the season. Though the money is welcome, it by no means replaces a regular salary 
— particularly since earnings on 
a shoot now have to…

Date a shooter

Why you should date a shooter

Some reasons why a shooter should be top of your Valentine’s Day wish list “Men who shoot a lot often have dogs… seeing dogs working for their owners and the bond between man and dog is a very attractive quality. Building that relationship takes respect, discipline and patience…. all attributes…

permission for pigeon shooting

How to get permission for pigeon shooting

Permission to shoot pigeons is not easy to obtain and it can take time getting to know people before it is granted. Farmers must have complete confidence in the person asking for permission, and as a pigeon shooter you must not let them down. When I’m driving around the countryside…

what to wear game shooting

What to wear shooting

We advise you on what to wear shooting, whether at the clay ground or in the field

pheasants in Land Rover

The size of the bag is not the point

As shooters we are often guilty of making sweeping assertions as to what the wider public love or hate about what we do. We base our beliefs on what we or our friends think, rather than a more scientific assessment of what voters think. And it’s that category that impacts on us in Parliament and the…

keeper's day

Keeping everyone happy on keeper’s day

As the season draws to a close, talk among the beaters and pickers-up is of the end-of-season keeper’s days. For many gamekeepers, it is the only day of the year they get to shoot pheasants. Indeed, for some of them it might be the only day of the year they get to go shooting at all. There…

Clay shooting

First invitation to shoot – what now?

A: Congratulations on receiving your invitation to shoot. However, before you mount a gun to shoot at any sentient creature, you need to have plenty of practice at clays. Go to a good ground that will do proper gun fit too. That will make you a better shot and will also give you confidence in…

How to be an ideal beater

How to be an ideal beater

  The ideal beater Nothing makes my job easier than a good team of reliable beaters and picker-ups. In any beating team there is normally a core that know the ground better and work that bit extra to make the day a good one. Most of my beaters are locals, many seem to have been here…

shooting Guns

10 things that can make or break a shoot day

Makes 1. The Weather: Many Guns prefer a lightly overcast day, a favourable wind with a decent nip in the air. Persistent driving rain all day is enough to break the spirit of the keenest gun. 2. The host: They set the mood for the entire day. A bad host…

Mobile phones in the field

Do mobile phones have a place in the field?

Crucial phones By Ben Samuelson It was only a couple of generations ago when our late king wouldn’t have seen much use for a mobile phone on a day’s shooting. He took his private train down to his private station, had an excellent morning’s sport, lunch and a quiet hour after before bumbling back to…

stopping a gundog running-in

I want my dog to have his day as a picker-up

A: There is no set procedure for Guns who take their own dogs, and each shoot will have its own policy regarding the collection of dead and wounded game both during and after drives are complete. Therefore it is best to find out from the shoot captain what the expectations for that particular shoot usually are. This certainly applies…

Beaters' day shooting

Five must-reads about beating on a shoot

Have you any comments and thoughts on being a beater? Any hints or tips to give somebody new to the discipline? If so, leave a comment below.

going out gameshooting

Shooting etiquette for beginners

Will was brought up in the Cotswolds and Scottish Highlands and his gunsmith father fostered his shooting skills from an early age. After attending agricultural college Will became a gamekeeper and has worked across the UK on both private and commercial shoots. With this experience, Will is perfectly placed to…