This year’s Glorious Twelfth marks the start of the grouse shooting season. From August 12th to December 10th, the UK’s grouse moors will ring with the sound of gunshots, and many a hearty meal will be eaten. Ahead of the Glorious Twelfth, here’s everything you need to know about one of the most important dates on the shooting calendar.
The equipment you need
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.
A number of other accessories will help your shoot go 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
Tempting as it may be, don’t sacrifice practicality for fashion.
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).
Shooters traditionally wear 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 to support your ankles.
How to stay safe
Grouse shooting is not like any other form of driven shooting. Your first time on the moor can be daunting, even if you’re an experienced game shooter. Luckily, 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 out of the line of fire. Ask your host any safety questions before you start the day to familiarise yourself with their 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 provides a challenge because of 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 Glorious Twelfth onwards, it’s less clear 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 August 12th to December 10th. 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
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 high speeds, and when you combine this with a moorland environment, you’ve got a challenging shoot on your hands.
Your bird selection is crucial. Once you’ve picked which bird will be your target, 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!
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 shoot, keep your legs moving and your feet warm, so they’re not 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, 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.