Grouse shooting tips from the Editor of The Field, Jonathan Young. Keep safe on the moor and be great on the grouse
These grouse shooting tips from The Field’s Editor Jonathan Young will set you up splendidly for the start of the season.
- DON’T hit the booze, either the night before or on the day. Alcohol slows your reactions and grouse shooting requires full concentration, both to make a bag and be safe.
- DON’T wear a white shirt. White acts as signal – think rabbit scuts and pigeon wing-bars – and you don’t want to alert the grouse to your presence in the butt.
- DON’T stare at the heather for 30 minutes before the grouse arrive. Your eyes will tire. Try and relax until the drive really starts.
- DO Wear yellow shooting glasses, both to protect your eyes and to enable you to pick out the grouse quicker against the background.
- DO Stay still in the butt. Like pigeon, grouse can spot movement and take avoiding action instantly.
- DON’T try and take the birds 60 yards in front. A few full-time grouse gurus shots can do this but the majority of decent shots wait until the birds are well in range. Think of when you’d take pigeon coming into a decoy pattern and you won’t go far wrong. Better to drop one or two out of a covey than fire four unsuccessful shots.
- Having said that, if the grouse are not coming to you, but crossing your bows 40 yards out, then DO go for the shot.
- DO mark the position of the flankers carefully, especially if you’re in one of the three end butts. Position yourself in the corner of the butt nearest the flankers and concentrate on the safe area to your right or left, according to which end of the line you’re standing.
- DON’T take singletons or pairs going straight to your neighbour. You won’t win friends so doing. But do try and drop the back birds of a covey going towards your neighbour.
- DO mark your birds carefully and keep a running tally with your loader. Don’t expect him to do this, as he’ll be busy loading.
- If your butt has a very short horizon, it’s a downwind drive and the wind is strong, DO consider taking the birds behind throughout the drive.
- Do make certain you thank the beaters, pickers-up and keepers whenever the opportunity arises. Grouse shooting is a team sport and they will have put in huge effort to provide you with sport.