Shoot Etiquette

Shoot Etiquette

 
 
 
 
Have you been invited on a shoot this season? If it’s your first ever shoot, or if a number of years have passed since you were last invited to attend one, you may be feeling little out of touch with ‘shoot etiquette’.  If you want to be invited back and, more importantly, want to avoid maiming a fellow guest, here are some useful hints and tips I have put together that it may be worth taking a quick look at!
 
Dress Code
Though you may feel compelled to ‘camo-up’, attach some foliage to your hat and break out the mud coloured face paints (think Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Predator’), it is much more acceptable to wear self-coloured clothing (that is, clothing in a single uniform colour, like dark green or brown) or tweeds to a shoot.  A shirt and tie are also recommended, again self-coloured or Tattersall check are popular and acceptable choices, along with a muted tie in a single, uniform colour.  You may find a tie-pin useful to prevent your tie becoming an annoying distraction whilst out and about - if so, there are plenty of understated, country inspired tie pins available; your first shoot may not be the time to break out the extremely expensive but slightly gaudy diamond studded tie-pin and cuff links set! Nobody likes a show-off! When it comes to leg-attire, either Brecks with shooting socks or trousers are acceptable, as long as they follow the same self-coloured or tweed colour code mentioned above! And when it comes to footwear, I would strongly recommend checking both the weather forecast and asking about the terrain you will be expected to cover before deciding whether to wear sturdy and utilitarian shoes, boots or wellies on the day.  Whatever you decide to go with, you’re going to have to stick with it! If you’ve chosen, inappropriately, to wear shoes in torrential rain and appear to be required to stand in a bog all day, you’re just going to have to grin and bear it, as no-one is going to invite back a shot who moans all day!
 
Shoot Safety
When it comes to shoot safety, the majority of what you need to remember is common sense. Some useful hints and tips to encourage personal and group safety on a shoot are also beautifully expressed in the poem ‘A Father’s Advice’, by M. Beaufoy (1854-1922).  Yes, I know - poetry is generally a pretty flowery affair, reminiscent of long and dull summer afternoons in a stuffy English classroom – but this one is really quite good! In addition, a gentleman I once met advised me that he was required to learn it off by heart before his father let him anywhere near the family gun cabinet, and as far as I know, that gentleman has never shot anyone, so it must have worked! Go on – have a quick read, you might even like it!
 
A Father’s Advice – M. Beaufoy
 
If a Sportsman true you’d be
Listen carefully to me…
 
Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me
 
When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety’s sake
 
If twixt you and neighbouring gun
Bird shall fly or beast shall run
Let this maxim ‘ere be thine
“Follow not across the line”
 
Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen
Calm and steady always be:
“Never shoot where you can’t see”
 
You may kill or you may miss
But at all times remember this:
“All the pheasants ever bred
Won’t repay for one man dead”
 

See? It wasn’t that bad, was it?! Happy hunting people!