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.