What makes a good shoot?

An interesting (an accurate) piece on the criteria that The Field use to help judge the best shoots in the country:

  • Decent birds, ie between 35yd and 50yd high, on a variety of drives.
  • An absence of artificiality, ie a dearth of wire, release pens, feeders and piles of pheasants running around your feet.
  • A cheerful keeper who’s not too in your face and who has the gumption to change the line and drives if the wind changes.
  • A line of pegs that’s at least a good gunshot apart. Close pegging is awful.
  • A line of pegs that takes into account the fact that birds’ behaviour will change during the course of the season. What worked in early November might not in January.
  • Good pickers-up who believe you when you’ve marked a bird and go for it rather than taking all the easy retrieves off the guns’ dogs.
  • On a commercial shoot, a host who realises he’s actually being paid to run the day and that the real host is the shoot captain who’s footing the bill with his friends.
  • An absence of litter.
  • Lovely countryside.
  • A decent but not silly shoot lunch. If lunch really is the best drive of the day you’re at the wrong shoot.
Gavin Lockhart-Mirams