October sees the pheasant, woodcock and capercaillie shooting season begin and so listed below are The English Manner’s top etiquette blunders to avoid at all cost when out in the fields.
- Never attend a shoot if you have never held a gun or had adequate training. Being dangerous is considered frightfully rude
- Pick up all spent cartridges at the end of drives. This used not to matter but now in the environmentally-friendly society we live in, it is considered bad form not to
- Make sure you mark your quarry for pickers-up and their dogs: never leave a dead bird to rot
- Always ask what one is allowed to shoot before commencing. Hosts will have different rules from each drive to the next
- The polite guns never boast about their scores
- In the unfortunate circumstance that one shoots something that one is not supposed to, or that you cause a fellow gun an injury, it is expect that you leave the party immediately. Other guns are expected to be discreet about the incident, too. NB: If a major accident occurs, unwritten rules of etiquette dictate that the guilty gun never shoots again
- Restrain yourself: a shoot is not the place for loud, bawdy behaviour
- Under no circumstances should one shoot a white pheasant
- Never swing your gun along the shooting line or in the direction of other guns
- Make sure each bird shot is dead before proceeding onto the next one. It is better to use both barrels on one bird than two barrels on two birds (with the first barrel not yet fully killed).
- Do also remember to tip the keeper. Anything from £15 upwards is usual; more if he has cleaned your gun.
Unsure about the terminology used in this blog? Next week: a beginner’s guide to shooting terms.
Tutor, The English Manner