Woodcock can crop up in the bag on many of our shoots, but to truly appreciate these aerial acrobats and their cousins the snipe, a day’s walked up woodcock and snipe is in order. Forced south by cold Scandinavian winters, woodcock emigrate to British shores in late autumn. The warmer Celtic fringes host the largest congregations of birds and guns. Whether in conifer forest or deciduous woodland, these challenging birds are a sporting target.
Loners by nature, outside of the breeding season woodcock are accidental socialites. They gather in greater densities where the conditions for feeding (soft ground easily penetrated by narrow beaks) and sleeping conditions (not too many pheasants as neighbours) are right.
Outside Days offers walked-up woodcock shooting across the UK and Ireland for full teams
1st October – 31st January
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.
Footwear dependant on time of year but good strong boots or wellingtons are recommended as the terrain can be uneven and wet.
Double barrelled shotgun, normally 12- 20 bore
Semi-autos and pump actions are not allowed
Cartridges are personal choice, due to the nature of the shots taken heavy loads are rarely needed
Make sure you have a cartridge bag or belt as often you will not return to the vehicles for some time
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.
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.
It is standard practice to tip the gamekeeper at the end of a day’s shooting. Standard for a small walked-up day would be £20 per gun.
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.
The shooting field is not an appropriate training venue for your dog. We can recommend a number of working gundog clubs and trainers for this purpose.
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 birds are rising and guns are firing, then keep him on a lead (but not attached to yourself) until it is time for him to retrieve. Or seriously consider leaving him at home as managing him may impact your enjoyment of the day.
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.