Walked Up Grouse

Walked-up-grouse-kilt-slider

What better way to start the shooting season than a few days spent tramping behind the dogs? Walked up grouse makes you appreciate the beaters on driven days and the quarry every day. For a superb sensory experience, there is little in the shooting repertoire to best a day’s walked up grouse.

WUPGrouse-with-dogs
Without the whooping and hollering of a beating line, the constant mounting and dismounting from vehicles, and the organised chaos that facilitates a day’s driven sport, you’re liberated to enjoy late summer out on moor. The buzz of insects hard at work in the heather competes with the sound of the spaniels and labradors as they wag their way through the cover in front of you. And the heather blossom competes with the sunshine and cordite to fragrance the air.

The team lines out across the moor, walking at a comfortable pace (you’ll be doing this all day long, so a morning’s overenthusiastic charge risks toddler-style feet dragging by day’s end), with the dogs quartering within shot.

SLIDER-WUPGrouse-walking-line
Line-walking skills, honed in the nursery crocodile, are critical here, both in terms of safety and covering the ground efficiently. There will be moments when one end of the line may not be visible to the other, so having a mark on where your neighbours are is critical – something the keeper and dog handlers help to ensure as they walk with you in the line. You’re shooting at low, fast-moving targets most of which are moving away from you – not the standard fare for the driven gun. As long as no one swings through the line, this is absolutely safe in the wide open spaces of the moors. Hence the need for awareness and the fundamentals of walking in a line.
Grouse favour heather over grass for food and cover, giving you an idea of where you need to be on the ball. On wet days, coveys can abandon the wet heather for more open grassy knolls, making it more difficult to flush them in shot. The dogs may not identify the presence of grouse by screeching to a halt and freezing in the manner of a pointer, but a nose down on scent and a
WUPGrouse-lifting-off
marked increase in tempo of a metronomic wagging tail is a good indicator. Keeping your focus is critical without the approaching beating line or pointer playing statue to indicate the impending arrival of your quarry.
WUPGrouse-handful
Don’t expect these birds to achieve aerial heights of Devon pheasant, or even Hampshire hedge-skimming partridge. Grouse get enough elevation to cruise over heather and bolder strewn slopes, and then put their feathered feet on the accelerator and are gone. Shoot early to avoid disappointment.

In the same way that driven pheasant presents in an array of angles beyond the straight over the head shot, walked up grouse offer variety beyond the going away bird. Wind can create curling and crossing birds, even driving birds back over the line of walking guns.

Whether one finds oneself suddenly surrounded by a covey of a dozen or more grouse scattering in all directions or faced with challenging away or overhead shots as birds swing down the line, they are all equally exciting and just as sporting.
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Outside Days offers walked-up grouse shooting in Yorkshire and Scotland for full teams

SEASONS

12th August- 10th Dec

KIT & CLOTHING

Traditional clothing is tweed suit including breeches: more relaxed than driven days walked-up shooting is still an event worth dressing for. You will be walking for much of the day so ensure clothing is suitable for the prevailing weather conditions.

Lightweight rain wear that can be screwed up into a tight ball and carried in the pocket is useful, but if you are shooting on a warm August day you might just prefer to get wet if a shower occurs. Whatever you decide, the best advice is travel light. You might be lucky enough that the estate will provide an argo or even a pony to carry spare clothing, waterproof leggings  and your lunch, but normally you will be expected to carry it all yourself. You might be lucky enough that the estate will provide an argo or even a pony to carry spare clothing, waterproof leggings  and your lunch, but normally you will be expected to carry it all yourself.

And talking of warm August days, don’t forget to look at the forecast, you might find what you need is midge repellent, sun cream and sunglasses.

Footwear, good strong walking boots are recommended as the terrain can be steep and uneven,  gaiters will keep the heather (and the midges) out of your socks

Gun

Double barrelled shotgun, normally 12- 28 bore
Semi-autos and pump actions are not allowed

Twelve bores are fine, but a light 20 or 28 bore is even better…if you are used to shooting with it. After a day on the hill that saving a few pounds in weight will really help. And as long as your aim is true, either will be perfectly capable of killing your quarry.

Cartridges

Cartridges are personal choice, due to the nature of the shots taken heavy loads are rarely needed: an ounce of No.6 shot is a good starting point.

Make sure you have a cartridge bag or belt as often you will nor return to the vehicles for some time.

Group Size

A  full team for a day’s walked-up shooting is normally 6 guns.

VISAS & LICENCES

Travelling to the UK from within the EU needs no visa
Travel from outside the EU may require a visa at the port of entry

You will need a licence to bring a gun into the UK and Outside Days can arrange visitor’s permits for you or provide rental guns on your arrival.

MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

None

INSURANCE

We require all our guests to have third party insurance, this can be obtained by membership to any of the British sporting organisations, for third party and shoot cancellation insurance we recommend the policy offered by Hiscocks.

TIPS

It is standard practice to tip the game keeper at the end of a day’s shooting. Standard for a small walked-up day would be £30 per gun.

CURRENCY

GBP sterling

TIME ZONE

GMT

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We welcome guns bringing their own dogs on these days, but please only well behaved and trained ones. In no other form of shooting are you so reliant on the ability of the dogs to provide your sport or quickly ruin the day for everyone. You need to honest with yourself about your dog’s ability: what makes it a pleasure in the house might not be what makes it a pleasure on the hill.

If you have brought your own dog along to retrieve, please remember to keep it at heel while the flushing dogs are hunting.

If you are not confident your dog will stay steady when grouse are rising and guns are firing, then keep him on a lead (not attached to your body) until it is time for him to retrieve.

The time to retrieve is not as the first grouse hits the heather: often not all of the birds in the covey will rise as one. Allow the pointer/s time to fully hunt for any single birds left from the covey.  If your dog runs in or is sent too quickly there is the possibility it might get shot as another bird takes to the air.

Your guide/dogman will let you know when it is safe and prudent to send your dog in for the retrieve.

If you have brought your own dog along to hunt, please make sure it is controllable at all times. Everyone’s dog (especially spaniels) has its moments, but one wild dog can ruin the day for the entire line. Repeat offenders are not welcome.