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Shooting Etiquette



The essence of field etiquette is be safe and be sporting. Therefore it is highly recommended to take a refresher course prior to arriving for a driven or walk up shoot.

When shooting in England and Scotland the choice of clothing is largely driven by the weather and the environment. It is expected that you wear tweed in muted and brown colors for appropriate camouflage. However, it is quite acceptable to wear a little color either in the tweed (purple in the Scottish moors) or socks.

In a day of shooting it is possible to experience 4 seasons so it is important to be prepared.

  • You will be in water and/or mud. Wellingtons (rubber boots) that are lined , or waterproof knee high hunting boots are essential. So is a boot bag to keep them isolated from clothing. Brands to look for are Hunter and Le Chameau.

  • Rainwear is essential preferably 100% waterproof rainwear that is light weight and easily transportable is essential. This jacket should be a little larger than most rain coats as it will be used over layers of warm clothing. The John Field raincoat is highly recommended


Now for the tweed which is usually a camouflage color, hard wearing and relatively quick drying.

  • Start with the basic. A shooting vest which is worn over a Tattersall check shirt (either cotton or brushed cotton in winter) with tie. Although this seems formal it does stop the rain dripping down your collar. The vest should have 4 buttons, pockets large enough to hold a box of cartridges and shooting patches (slight reinforcement on the shoulders for protection). It is also recommended in the colder months to wear a warm (such as merino wool) vest under the shirt.

  • Breeks are shooting trousers and fasten, preferably with Velcro (much easier than fiddling with a buckle) just below the knee. Traditionally they are made from tweed and often match the shooting vest, but it is quite acceptable to have a solid color in moleskin. It is acceptable to wear a belt with breeks but it must have a small, non-metallic flat buckle.

  • Knee high socks with garters are worn below the breeks and showing above the boots. Here it is possible to splash with color as they are usually not visible to the birds.

  • A warm field coat is a must, traditionally made of tweed with an interesting colored lining. They should be waterproofed and have a Gortex lining. They also should have large cartridge pockets with poppers to hold them open and lambswool lined warming pockets.

  • An optional choice is a shooting sports coat, designed to form a 3 piece suit with the shooting vest and breeks. This coat is generally not worn shooting but worn at lunch or the aftershoot cocktails. It is also acceptable to wear this jacket in non shooting situations. The Oxford sports coat is perfect for any situation.

  • A tweed flat cap is commonly seen in the field whether in the sun or rain. It can be easily folded in half and pocketed. The John Field shooting cap is highly recommended as it is also mosquito and knat repellent.
  • Ladies you have a little more latitude when it comes to dressing for a shoot, however most of what is applicable to men is applicable to women. Whether you are shooting or walking, tweed is essential.

  • If you are shooting a tweed vest is essential The Dartmoor is highly recommended. It is possible to play with the colors of the tweed but still keeping with a basic brown or green background. It is not necessary to wear a shirt and tie (but some women do) under the vest, but quite acceptable to wear a polo sweater or a shirt and scarf (not too bright). Remember the goal is to stay warm and dry. Waistcoats are quite acceptable, however may not be comfortable for shooting.

  • Breeks are not essential but they are popular. It is acceptable to wear pants with a belt (small, flat non-metal buckle) that tuck into the boots. It is acceptable to wear culottes and longer full skirts that fall below the boots. It is not acceptable to wear short tight skirts!

  • As with the men it is essential to have a warm field coat and 100% waterproof rainwear.
  • Make sure you have either a leather or a canvas gun case or slip for your gun

  • Check with your host or the game keeper to see if you need to bring cartridges

  • Ear protection and safety glasses are VITAL

  • Gloves, not essential but usually necessary in cold weather. Make sure they are a thin leather so they don't interfere with trigger pull.

  • Always be on time

  • Make sure you keep your gun broken when not shooting and between shots

  • Don't attempt to shoot a bird that is very low or with no sky behind it. It is not safe or sporting

  • Aim to shoot to kill, not wound a bird

  • Keep phones turned off and when necessary to use do so discreetly

  • Never swing your gun along the line of shooters, loaded or unloaded

  • Pick up spent cartridges after each drive

  • Not acceptable to be a complainer or a show off

SHOOT DAY CHECKLIST (click the ckecklist below for a printable version)
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