On the annual ‘boys” shoot, which is now in its 30th year, the rules that form shooting etiquette get stretched a little. Poach-ing each other’s birds is not unknown to say the least and cleaning up after your neighbour has missed with both barrels gives cause for teasing and wild merriment. We ‘boys’ have all known each other since school, and the camaraderie, spectacular scenery and high-class pheasants make the shoot one of the most enjoyable of the year.
At the other end of the scale, are the bores that treat shooting like accountancy. You will have met them. These people will tell you their cartridge-to-kill ratio at every opportunity; you will learn how many left and rights they achieved at the end of every drive, and worst of all, they are invariably the bluffers who claim birds others have actually shot. They completely miss the point of shooting.
At its best, the sport takes you into our glorious countryside with a great set of mates to shoot challenging birds, every detail of which you will remember as you lie reflecting on the day in the bath afterwards. Shooting is about beauty, nature and friendship. The bores should learn to count the memories, not the numbers.