Our first novice driven game shooting day of the season proves a great success despite the rain!
On Saturday 19th October we held our first novice day of the 2013/14 season on a beautiful estate near Gleneagles in Perthshire. Six keen clay shooters (3 men and 3 ladies) from Edinburgh had signed up for their first taste of driven game shooting. The day was hosted by Ian Hendy from Exclusively Scottish and Eddy Buchan from Buchan Field Sports Services. Guns and cartridges were supplied by Castle Gunmakers.
The idea behind these days is to give an all round experience of the game shooting world to shooters who may not have the confidence or even the budget to take on a full driven day from scratch. How many of us were thrown in at the deep end, having little idea of the realities, expectations and etiquette needed to go game shooting? Although many of us are brought up with shooting from an early age, our sport needs to attract the keen shooter who has little or no knowledge of this world. Most importantly this needs to be done in a safe, controlled, friendly environment. All too often we see guns in the line who would have benefited from a little extra guidance.
And so our day went like this; Eddy and I greeted our clients at about 10.00 am at the Bothy. The weather was not great but our host had the log burner going well and the kettle on! After all round introductions we ascertained everyone’s experience levels, finding that all had shot clays to varying levels. We quickly but thoroughly ran through basic safe gun handling, moving on to a more in depth discussion of the differences between standing in a cage and standing on a peg. Safety was obviously the main topic of conversation and the clients were given an understanding of the work and positioning of the beating team and pickers-up.
The rain eased off and we went just outside the bothy to do some gun-mounting and footwork practice. This helped Eddy and I with gun selection and gave us an insight into the real experience level of each individual. We then discussed how peg numbers are drawn and how the shooting line is set out together with all safety implications.
Back inside, our host had some warming pheasant broth ready for us. With the aid of photographs we then discussed quarry recognition and what to shoot and what not to shoot! The session was really interactive covering all aspects of what to expect on a live drive. Despite the rain we headed back out to shoot some driven clay targets. The weather made the targets quite tricky but some great coaching from Eddy meant that everyone got their eye in and confidence was high.
So then for the real thing. Peg numbers were drawn and the whole team (by now very wet!) proceeded to the first drive. Adrenaline was definitely flowing and you could sense the expectation, excitement and nervousness coming from all the guns. Despite the rain the birds flew well and safety standards were excellent. Some guns had more success than others but all were in the shooting and all were totally blown away by their first experience of driven game shooting. We then had chance to watch the dogs and pickers-up work whilst having a quick de-brief and a question and answer session.
It was then on to the second drive with guns learning to “move up 2”. Safety issues specific to the drive were discussed and the drive proceeded with most birds being cleanly killed. With the bag at 24 – exactly what we were looking for – we returned to the bothy to dry off and get a cup of tea. Guns were dried and cleaned and lots of smiling faces discussed the two drives and the events of the day.
Over then to the game larder where we gave a basic demonstration of how to hang, pluck and clean the game, together with a few recipe ideas! Making sure our host was out of the way, we then touched on the etiquette of tipping and thanking the ‘keeper.
The day rounded off at about 4.30 with a small sloe gin and a toast to our host, his team and the birds. The feedback we received from all the guns was really positive and all felt that they now had the confidence and knowledge to begin their game shooting careers!
For more information on how to book one of these novice driven game shooting days please contact our sporting agency.