For those that don’t know, Babbs and I are both proud members of The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club. Currently, I’m planning my wardrobe for The Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic in November. Claire’s blog post just may convince me to purchase some tweed. ~MC
Two blog posts in a week has not helped me maintain my calming holiday ‘Zen’; especially given that I also returned to a very busy office this week in sweltering central London. But I couldn’t let the 1st September – another key date in the game shooter’s diary – pass by without a post. From today partridge, duck and geese (and other game) shoots will begin taking place across England and Wales, with the pheasant season starting on 1st October.
I know quite a few ladies who will be partaking in their first game shoot this season and I have been asked what to wear on that first day in the field. I thought it might be helpful to share my opinion and the advice that I have given them more widely about what to wear. I’m not going to focus on etiquette, what to expect or general advice as this blog is long enough deliberating suitable clothing attire, but if you are concerned about this and want to read up, I would recommend that you visit Ladies Shooting (the sister site for The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club).
Firstly, let me start by saying that it’s not just us ladies who get nervous before their first foray into game shooting. I have also known one or two gents who have been equally as nervous for their first day in the field – not to mention deliberating the same dilemma that us ladies face about what to wear. The short answer on this is that it depends on the type of shoot you are going on. Is it a formal invite-only shoot or a far more relaxed and informal rough, walked up day? What is expected of you and what you require from your clothing will differ accordingly. For example, if you are on a high end invite only day, and need to ‘dress for the occasion’; this means formal and your finest. If you are on a very relaxed rough shooting day, you need not worry about formality and instead focus on your clothing being very practical.
Secondly, while I have invested in a few key items (Harkila coat, Dubarrys, Akubra hat) I also live by the principle of saving my money for the actual shooting! As long as what you wear is practical and suitable for the type of day you are going on; no one cares about the brand you are wearing. My advice to anyone new to game shooting this season is to sift through your wardrobe, use what you already have and don’t blow the bank balance on getting ready for your day in the field if you don’t have to.
The other thing to remember is that if you don’t have all the gear right now – don’t panic! Just borrow from a friend or family member. I’ve actually worn dad’s coats before now. If you only have one day in the field this season then with some help from friends and family you will easily be able to pull the kit together and can then decide what to invest in ready for next season. If there are bits you need, then the high street and even some of the clothing stands in the supermarkets can be great for topping up.
Thirdly, and not clothing related, but if you are venturing out this season, and even if you have been clay shooting for most of the summer, get back to the clay ground for a lesson or two in high driven targets and crossers before your day in the field. Needless to say, game shooting is very different to clay shooting and practice is the only way to make sure you are ready for live quarry.