With my offspring well and truly sprung, my world no longer revolves around the vagaries of the school calendar. Except at Christmastime when the festive season brings an increase in young people in the shooting field.
Family days don’t have to be bag-busting days to be big successes. And often, it’s the small days that net the best fun as it’s about the laughter, learning and bonding and not the numbers. On one small day last season, eight guns spanning three generations, assembled partners, spouses, grandparents, children and general hangers on amassed a field of 32 people…more than twice the size of the beating team. On finding his beating team trebled for the afternoon drive, the sanguine keeper observed his biggest job was making sure he finished with the same number he started with. (Photo by Anna Prideaux)
And ‘family’ on these days is defined in the loosest of terms. We all know someone who used to shoot, but for whatever reason hasn’t taken to the field in ages. Or the person who’s always asking questions, obviously interested, and just needs that entrée. What better time to share the camaraderie and fun of a day’s shooting than in the festive season?
Of course, there are a few caveats and basic graces to be observed and remembered (festive season or not). Debuting a new dog, a novice gun and a keen audience in combination is a recipe for disaster. And one that will be recorded for posterity. As ever, dogs should be well trained or on a lead. Sometimes even both.
Some of our most enduring memories are made at Christmas. The clarion of a child’s voice echoing out in the crisp air with ‘nice shot’ can puff out the chest of the most experienced of shots. And there’s nothing like witnessing your children’s firsts in the field. So if not at Christmas, then when?!
Tags: Christmas, driven shooting, Family, gun dog, partridge shoot, pheasant shooting