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My first game shoot

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14 hours ago, Walker570 said:

Not mentioned but ALWAYS stay at your peg till a picker up appears and mark your birds down, particularly any that you thought might be runners and even after personally shooting for 60yrs at these birds, we still wing one occcasionally, I just haven't got so good that I kill everything stone dead at astronomical ranges.    I also do not pick my birds myself as pickers up have come with their dogs to enjoy the day as much as you have.  It is good manners, rarely seen today, where a gun with a dog waits to ask a picker up if he can join in and visa versa.

ALWAYS   go to the beaters and pickers up at the end of the day and say thankyou.

With reference to the present fashion of attempting to shoot 60 and 70yrds birds I sometimes wonder how many of those birds fly on pricked to died or suffer and not get picked.  How many of those guns tell pickers up they might have pricked one or two and where they might find them.

On high bird shoots you don't see the pickers up they can be up to a kilometre behind watching whats getting hit and marking them as they come down in front of them. At the end of the drive they then work back towards the pegs very similar to grouse days. Not unusual to have over 40 dogs out picking up on these days to make sure they pick as many as possible. When the guns are paying up to £60 a bird they don't want too many going unpicked.

As for the shooting, the standard was set before Jacko started shooting, if that is what the team had decided was sporting and they were going to shoot then Jacko was left with no option to join in. A word of advice Jacko if you go on future shoots with different teams please don't think this is the usual standard of a driven shoot and the expectations of other guns will not be you shooting birds at that height. The easiest rule of thumb is set your standard to try and shoot the highest bird that you think you can kill, and not go for the easiest one you know you can't miss.

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In almost 60 years of involvement in game shooting, one way or another, I have witnessed an awful lot of both good and er, not so good. So much so, it has made me a little cynical of some so called 'game shoots'.  I still shoot around 3 to 4 days a season, BUT, I am selective as to whom I shoot with and where. However, I was NOT always a 'driven' shooter and began by walking up a few wild pheasants and wildfowling. I now derive a good deal of pleasure just watching others shoot and I am more than willing to introduce newcomers to our sport. I always prefer to start them on the clay ground and get the basic safety stuff dealt with, starting with the right way to slip or unslip a gun and 'muzzle awareness'.  I follow this up with helping them to find their first gun and then accompany them on their first 'game day'. I do appreciate that not ALL new shooters have access to, or even want to go down this route. I know of some commercial and private shoots, that insist on newcomers being accompanied by a qualified or experienced mentor,  but they rely on shooters being honest about their level of experience. When I am fortunate enough to be invited to shoot in previously unknown company, I watch how my neighbouring guns remove their guns from their slips and that usually sets the tone for the day. If the gun comes out closed, then is waved around, whilst looking for somewhere to put the gunslip, that does put me on my guard somewhat. One way or another, we all had to learn and I can still clearly recall arriving home from a rather wet outing after evening flight, only to take my gun from it's slip,  to find two shiny brass cartridge heads staring me in the face  !  Rest assured it has NEVER happened since and that was some fifty years ago, but hopefully we can all learn from our mistakes after first admitting to them. IF I ever feel the need to offer advice when out shooting, it is done quietly and privately, out of earshot of other guns. I do not feel that berating a confessed newcomer who has rightly enjoyed his 'first' day, and is proud to share it with others, is necessary. I think that the shoot should shoulder some of the blame for having 'bag filling' drives too.

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