Driven pheasant shooting is a great sport and is much more enjoyable than rough shooting or walk up shooting which most hunters are used to. Instead of the quiet loneliness of wandering though a field with your dogs and maybe one friend or so, the camaraderie, friendship, and fellowship of other shooters really improves the sports enjoyment.
shooting down birds from the heavens in quick succession, hot barrels of the guns flaring
There is nothing like the experience of 10 shooters (referred to as “Guns”) shooting down birds from the heavens in quick succession, hot barrels of the guns flaring and with a quick reload from your loader to make for near constant shooting by yourself and all around you.
Driven shooting was introduced in the 18th century when cartridge and breach loading guns became available and has grow with its own quaintness of character and its own habits and customs ever since.
The day usually starts with an early morning shot of sloe gin or glass of champagne to start the day before the days sport begins. You pick your peg (shooting position) random by picking from a deck of cards, but some shoots have their own customs for doing this. You will then walk to your peg and stand waiting in anticipation for the action to happen and action it is, at its very best!
“these birds have wings and are using them with all their effort to power away with speed their survival instincts are working overtime for them”
The birds come flying overhead at great speed and usually at some altitude as well making for tough shots. It is nothing like the all too easy birds which pop up from a flat corn field as your dog flushes them out. The birds come flying in at random although the gamekeeper’s beaters will try their best to make sure they don’t all arrive in one huge flock which would limit the drive and shorten it considerably.
Very high flying birds should be left alone as they may be injured but still remain airborne for long enough to get away. It is also considered that very low birds are left alone because as easier shots they are considered ‘unsporting’ shots.
“Driven pheasant shooting is a true action packed sport with strong social side. the whole community is usually involved…”
More often than not the novice shooter misses the pheasants as the shot passes behind them. Because with the height the bird is flying it is difficult to think in your mind while shooting “do I really need to shoot that far in front of the bird to hit it?” The other factor is for shooters to consider is that they have been used to clays which constantly slow down from the trap however, these birds have wings and are using them with all their effort to power away with speed their survival instincts are working overtime for them.
It is recommended that an hour of high clays launched from a tower beforehand may be required for the novice driven pheasant shooter. This will get you into the right frame of mind to get your target. Instruction is also recommended for driven pheasant shooting. For those unused to this; or those who have only shot at rough or walk up pheasants before.
There are some important rules to remember such as the large amount of sky which must be behind a target before shooting otherwise injuries may take place. Either a beater (those driving the pheasants towards you) or a fellow Gun will suffer. It is all too easy to carry on blasting away with the red mist of being caught up in the moment.
After a good drive even up to 20 minutes of shooting is possible the drive ends and friends get together to celebrate or commiserate with a get warm drink. This is something that you will not experience anywhere else. The adrenaline has been pumping and the ‘come down’ is exhilarating.
Driven pheasant shooting is a true action packed sport with strong social side. the whole community is usually involved along with their dogs and plenty of visitors ready to enjoy a great day with friends.