The Glorious Twelfth 2018 marks the start of the grouse shooting season. From 12th August – 10th December, the UK’s grouse moors ring with the sound of gunshots as hunters gather for the red grouse shooting season.
Leading up to one of the most important dates on the shooting calendar, we’ve created a comprehensive guide for everything you need to know ahead of the 12th August 2018.
Firstly, make sure you’ve prepared all the equipment you need.
You won’t be able to shoot any grouse without any cartridges (obviously). Some shoots insist on certain types of cartridges so make sure you check with your host what types of cartridges are accepted on the moor.
There are also a number of accessories that will help your shoot go a lot more smoothly:
- Ear protection – Whether you opt for earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, make sure to protect your ears.
- Shooting glasses – Protect your eyes and improve your aim!
- Cartridge belt – A lot more efficient than keeping your cartridges in your pocket.
- Grouse marker – Helps you keep a record of where your bird has landed.
- Gun cleaning kit – If you’re away on a shoot for a couple days, you’ll need to clean your gun.
Read more: Cleaning Your Shotgun: A Step-By-Step Guide
What to wear
As tempting as it may be, don’t sacrifice practicality for looking fashionable. As we’re all too aware, the British weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you wear a waxed coat or waterproof hunting jacket and breeks (water resistant and windproof felt trousers).
Traditionally, shooters wear clothing in shades of brown or green to help them blend into the moorland. So, it’s probably a good idea to leave your bright shirts on their hangers! Also, don’t forget your shooting vest, shooting socks and a sturdy pair of boots that’ll support your ankles.
Grouse shooting is not like any other form of driven shooting – even for the most experienced game shooter, your first time on the moor can be daunting. Luckily a lot of grouse shooting etiquette has been developed with safety in mind.
Read more: A Guide To Grouse Shooting Etiquette
The main priority is making sure anything that could make your shooting situation unsafe, such as bags, gunslips and dogs, are well out of the way of the line of fire. Ask your host any safety questions before you start the day so you’re familiar with their safety protocol.
It’s easy to get caught up in grouse shooting, but safety is more important than anything else. So, know your range, don’t be too competitive and leave the sloe gun until the shoot is over!
When and where you can shoot grouse
Driven grouse shooting is so popular because it provides a challenge due to how fast the grouse flies. But when can you shoot these elusive birds? Whilst it’s common knowledge that grouse can be shot from the 12th August onwards, it may be less known for how long and where in the UK you can shoot it.
Red grouse is found in heather moorland and can be shot in England, Wales and Scotland from the Glorious Twelfth, all the way to 10th December. So, if you can’t get out on the day this year, you’ve got plenty of time to bag your grouse.
Read more: Gunplan’s Seasonal Shooting Calendar
Grouse shooting rules and regulations
The main rule to watch out for during the Glorious Twelfth is that it’s illegal to shoot any game bird in England or Wales on Sundays. So, if the 12th August falls on a Sunday (which is does this year) the start of the season must be delayed by a day. Essentially meaning that this year, the Glorious Twelfth is actually the Glorious Thirteenth.
Aside from that, adhering to the safety regulations mentioned earlier is the other thing that you should bear in mind. Failure to adhere to your shoot’s safety rules can get you and your whole team sent home early and empty handed!
Tips for bagging your first grouse of the season
Once you’ve made all the preparations above, it’s time to start thinking about bagging your first grouse of the season. Grouse fly at quite a speed, and when you combine this with the environment of a moorland, you’ve got a challenging shoot on your hands.
Your bird selection is crucial – once you’ve picked which bird will be your target, you need to commit to it, or your concentration will be thrown off. Another top tip is after you’ve shot a grouse, keep an eager eye on it until it falls. If you presume the grouse will drop and move onto the next, you may end up with nothing if you actually missed the first target!
Somewhat surprisingly, good footwork is one of the biggest secrets to good shooting. It means you can switch between the front and back of the butt (the square shooting hide where you stand to shoot) as quickly and efficiently as possible. During the course of the shoot make sure you keep your legs moving and your feet warm so they won’t be rigid when you have to turn.
Read more: How To Bag your First Grouse: Top Tips
The most important thing to do as the grouse shooting season kicks off is to enjoy it – you’ve been waiting months for this date after all! If you are going on a grouse shoot to celebrate the Glorious Twelfth 2018, make sure you protect yourself with specialist shooting insurance.
Gunplan offers up to £10m Public Liability cover, as well as Personal Accident and Equipment cover. Get your instant online quote today.