Driven Shooting in the UK

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Rooted in history, driven shooting has evolved with the British countryside, shaping the landscape we enjoy today. Birds, reared or wild, are flushed over the heads of guns by teams of beaters in a style described by the French as battue. This creates birds that fly towards the gun, rather than moving away as in walked up shooting. The distance between the flushing point and the guns, combined with fit birds and the advantages of rolling landscapes makes for challenging targets. Tradition and etiquette combine in driven shooting in the UK to create a sporting experience unparalleled around the globe, one bound by a code of sportsmanship and manners.

Whether it is a day out on your doorstep, or an excuse to explore the corners of the British Isles, driven shooting can take you there. Outside Days works closely with shoots, from exclusive family estates to commercial shoots of all size, to ensure whatever the driven quarry our days surpass expectations. Whether you are a single gun or an entire team, we can find shooting to suit you. One to one instruction is available to support those new to the sport or those wishing to improve.

Driven days are sold on an expected bag for the whole team (number of birds shot and picked-up), it should also be remembered that this not only means that the shoot will show sufficient birds over the guns to shoot this number but that the guns themselves are of sufficient ability to be able to hit them. All shoots operate a shot to kill ration in the background from 3;1 on traditional and lower bird shoots to 6:1 on some of the extreme high birds shoots.

Days are available in a range from 50 bird s mini -driven upwards and normally for teams of 6-10 guns. We also arrange ‘scratch days’ where we make up full teams from individuals and small groups, join our mailing list to be kept up-to-date about availability on these days.

We are happy to have novices join the line, but request that you let us know in advance and arrange for a loader/coach to stand on the peg with them. Not only does this ensure everybody’s safety, but it means the novice will get far more out of the day. With respect, experienced clay shots still qualify as novice game shots. A loader who can explain the vagaries of live game shooting will encourage them to become regular game shots. Our team of experienced coaches will explain what is happening, the role of the various different members of the shoot staff, introduce the correct etiquette for a driven shoot day and help them hit a few birds.

Outside Days top 20 tips for a driven day

 Do’s

  1. Take time to introduce yourself to your fellow guns and host when you arrive. Shoot days are a great to renew acquaintances or meet new friends.
  2. Make sure you are dressed appropriately. Not everyone can sport full tweeds, but there is no excuse not to wear a tie for a formal driven day.
  3. If you can, take a spare gun for the day. Broken firing pins and ejector springs can ruin your enjoyment.
  4. Make sure you have the right cartridges and plenty of them. It’s far better to have too many than to run out.
  5. Ensure you listen to the briefing for the day. You should learn how the peg numbers will move, if pigeons or ground game are allowed, and should you be listening for horn, whistle or shout to signal the end of the drive.
  6. Feel free to comment on your fellow guns performance only when it is positive!
  7. Politeness costs nothing. Don’t forget to thank the catering staff at lunch and make sure to thank the beaters and pickers-up at the end of the day.
  8. Tip the keeper. A good starting point is £20 for the first 100 or part thereof, then an additional £10 per 100 birds shot. If you have enjoyed your day or feel the keeper has worked especially hard in adverse conditions show that by adding some extra.
  9. If you’re a guest, or if the day has gone over bag and you’re not paying for those extra birds, tip a little more. It will be remembered.
  10. Most importantly enjoy yourself. A cheerful, safe gun is always welcome back.

 Don’ts

  1. Be late for the meet. Make sure you know when and where you are supposed to meet.
  2. Shoot ground game unless specifically told to do so.
  3. Shoot birds which are unsporting or heading to another gun. If in doubt leave them.
  4. Complain about being out of the shooting. A good host will have already noticed and do all he can to make sure you are in the thick of it on the next drive.
  5. Don’t tell everyone how well you shot. Whether you did or not, far better to be known as the modest deadeye than the group bore!
  6. Run out of cartridges on a drive or during the day. It just says you underestimated the quality of the shoot or are disorganised.
  7. Let your dog run around out of control either before or during the drive. If you are taking a dog make sure you know if there are any no-go areas for picking –up such as the next drive!!
  8. Tell the keeper/host/fellow guns how the drives are being done wrong. Believe me, no one wants to hear you.
  9. Judge the day on the number of birds you or the team shot. Judge it instead on how much fun you’ve had and the memories you’re walking away with.
  10. Judge the shoot after one day without giving consideration to the conditions. Sun, strong winds, winds from non-prevailing directions, air pressure and a multitude of factors can all effect the way birds fly.

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