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New to Pheasant Shooting – Hints and Tips

Last Modified On: Posted in Clothing, Shooting and Guides

If you are thinking of taking on the challenge of shooting pheasant, this brief guide will provide tips* from what to wear to when to shoot.

ArdMoor Pheasant Shooting

Does the date, 1st of October ring any bells? It should for keen pheasant guns. This date lets us know that the pheasant shooting season has just begun. This seasons lasts until the 1st of February, with the main action really kicking off towards the later stages of October. Before then, have your shooting jacket, trousers, baselayers and wellies ready.  It’s going to be a wet and cold season again this year, so getting the right kit is essential to having an enjoyable and successful shooting trip.

Alan Paine Compton Blazer Set

Selecting clothing for shooting pheasants is not the same as selecting stalking clothing.  You won’t need to become completely invisible or become one with your scenery, but you will need a functional jacket that keeps you warm and dry, has plenty of carrying capacity and a high degree of freedom of movement.

The days when one was expected to stand in tweed suits with no other protection have long gone now. Most guns will wear tweed breeks as they are very warm and comfortable for walking or standing. For the top half, a lot will go for a matching tweed waistcoat with tweed jacket or blazer to wear on arrival and for lunch on the basis they then take that off and put on a more modern technical jacket. This could be a plain green jacket or have a tweed outer material, depending on your personal style.

The prime concern is to pick something that is functional and comfortable with major emphasis being placed on keeping dry so make sure that whichever jacket you go for has a suitable waterproof membrane. At the same time, shooting can be a strenuous activity, so make sure the membrane is breathable.

Make sure you layer up depending on the forecast. Pick a sensible microfleece or thermal baselayer if it’s going to be cold, under a shirt and tie, a suitable shooting waistcoat and trousers or breeks and jacket to suit your preference.  Shooting accessories such as hats and gloves are essential for many hardened shooters. Don’t forget a hat or cap to keep sun and rain out of your face and eyes and gloves to keep your fingers warm on a cold day and to protect your hands from hot barrels if you find yourself in the hot seat.

Harkila Edwards Shooting Suit

Here is a brief breakdown of how to pick your clothing for a day’s pheasant shooting:

Jacket & Trousers & Breeks – Choose functional pieces; the design doesn’t have to be camouflage. Pick something natural in colour that suits your shooting environment.  Think about the style - is it waterproof, windproof, breathable and does it offer a variety of storage pockets for cartridges and game?

Footwear – Don’t go hunting in your sports trainers.  You will often be trekking through rough, muddy terrain; it’s advisable that you look out some wellington boots for your trip.  Seeland Wellies are among the most popular shooting wellies on the market! If it’s a walked up day then a pair of Harkila Boots might be a better bet – try and find out from your host the sort of terrain you will be in.

Baselayer and Accessories – Remember to keep warm and keep it layered so that when you are hot you can comfortably remove a few layers.  Accessories play an important part for the enjoyment of your shooting day out.

Tips for shooting pheasant...

  • Once you are in position, check all around you so that you have your bearings and know where other people are, whether they are fellow guns or stops and beaters.
  • Check your footing. Try and get a level piece of ground and, if it is uneven, then make sure you are confident that you aren’t going to slip.
  • Ensure your stance is correct, don’t be crouched over, leaning back or off balance
  • Get your body behind the line of the pheasant.  Don’t follow the pheasant over your head, it could be dangerous and put you off balance.
  • Don’t wield your gun too soon or overstep in eagerness.  Address the bird, gently step up and follow the gun along your eyesight
  • Only shoot when you can see sky behind the bird – that is the rule of thumb and ensures there is no danger to those around you. If in any doubt – don’t shoot. As “The Father’s Advice” says “All the pheasants ever bred won’t replace one man dead”.
  • Make sure you shoot the birds that are coming to you and not those going to your neighbour. Nothing will get you disinvited faster than being known as a “poaching” shot
  • Practice makes perfect – it’s an art.
 pheasant image
By N p holmes (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

There are many tips and this page could go on forever.  Instead, why not give you tips and advice on our Facebook or Twitter page.  We would be delighted to know your top Pheasant shooting tips.

*N.B. ArdMoor provides these tips and recommendations based on experience and general knowledge. We accept no liability or responsilibity to any person or organisation as a consequence of any reliance upon the information contained in this site.

Last Modified On: Posted in Clothing, Shooting and Guides

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