Shooting Clothing: What to wear shooting?
Not sure what the best shooting jacket is? Worried you have the wrong tweed breaks? Don’t worry, Tom Leslie, an experienced and highly knowledgeable shooter has given you the low down on what to wear on a shoot:
As we move through October, the summer is a distant memory, the fishing season is coming to an end and Autumn is taking hold. For some of us this means only one thing. The start of the pheasant shooting season. The 1st October marks the beginning of the season each year, unless it falls on a Sunday, then the official opening will be the following Monday. Game shooting isn’t practiced in the UK on Sundays.
Whether it be your first day ever or just the first of this season, the first outing of the year brings with it much excitement, but it is important to make sure you are prepared. Game shooting, especially driven game shooting, has its own etiquette and traditions which can be extensive and daunting, but they needn’t be.
When planning what to wear it is important to look the part but also make sure what you are wearing is practical, functional and able to protect you from the elements. The right equipment can make the day more enjoyable meaning you get the most out of it! Shooting is expensive, and you certainly won’t enjoy it if you are soaked through and freezing cold.
Start from the top:
Ear Protection for shooting -
One, if not the most important item to take with you is ear protection. Spending a day shooting without ear protection is not fun! Unsurprisingly guns are loud. There are several types available from disposable to electric, including ones specifically for kids. It is important that they fit well and don’t impede gun mount. I was told to always buy the best you can afford. Personally, I prefer the Peltor 3M over ear type ones. They allow you to hear conversations while blocking out the louder noise from the gun. They also keep your ears warm on the colder days.
Next up, headwear. A tweed flat cap is the most common. There are many different styles and colourways available. Choose one that fits well – too big and it will blow off, too small and it will be uncomfortable. The colour should complement the rest of your outfit. Yep – there is an element of fashion required when choosing your outfit. For those who aren’t fans of tweed flat caps, Alan Paine have produced Tweed Baseball caps – not for everyone but some will prefer these.
A shirt is a must – these are normally muted in colour. A country tattersall shirt will always be a winner. One thing to note, when grouse shooting, make sure you have a dark, muted shirt. A white shirt will stick out like a sore thumb on a grouse moor. Your neighbour in the line will, however, be delighted as the birds swing his way to avoid you.
Do you need a tie when shooting?
Personally, I will always wear one when shooting. I think it looks smart and shows respect to your quarry. On formal shoots it really is a must. If unsure – go with a tie. No one has ever had problems because they are wearing a tie. There are several options out there – they don’t even have to be shooting related.
Depending on the weather, a jumper or fleece is a nice extra. Again, there are a never-ending list of option. Musto, Alan Paine, Blaser, Swazi, to name but a few, all over a vast range of fleeces, gilets, jumpers all suitable for a day’s shooting. Pick your favourite. Make sure it doesn’t restrict your movement. Muted colours such as navy’s and greens are the most popular.
Choosing a winter shooting jacket:
Your coat or jacket is the item of clothing that probably requires the most thought. This is what is going to keep you dry, warm and allow you to shoot without restriction. Making sure it fits and you are comfortable is key. A jacket that is too small will limit your movement meaning you won’t be able to swing the gun as freely as you hope meaning you will be less effective. Other things to look out for are that the pockets are deep enough to fill with cartridges. Also make sure the sleeves are long enough, so that when you are holding the fore end of your gun the sleeve isn’t halfway up your arm.
Traditionally, shooting coats where Tweed. Each estate would have its own Tweed. This works as a uniform for the game keepers. The colour of the Tweed would also match the land acting as a form of camouflage when out and about. Old school tweed coats, although smart, would usually hold water on wet days and weigh you down. They can also be bulky and cumbersome. As with everything, things have moved on. There are now a range of technical tweed jackets, that while still looking traditional, are packed full of features that are not out of place in technical ski wear. Musto’s Technical Tweed Jacket is comfortable to wear, fully waterproof and looks bloody smart.
For those who aren’t fans of Tweed, a green technical jacket is more than acceptable and are becoming the norm recently. These don’t have to be expensive. Alan Paine offers a great value for money option with their Berwick jacket starting from £295.00. More expensive options offer several features and varying degrees of warmth and waterproofing. Top end jackets feature Gore-tex technology which is breathable as well as fully waterproof.
On formal shoots, Tweed breeks are a must. They will help you look the part as well as being comfortable and warm. Err on the baggy side when trying a pair on. They will be more comfortable and the longer the turn down on them the better. The Tweed doesn’t need to match your jacket and hat, but it should compliment. As with the jackets, these can be fairly basic, most have waterproof linings and some include Gore-tex for that extra breathability.
Socks are your chance to express yourself. The rest of your shooting outfit will be all neutral or green in colour, but your socks don’t need to be. There are all sorts of whacky colours and patterns available. Reds, blues, yellows are all popular options that add a splash of colour to your outfit. Garters should can be used to keep your socks up – these are tied around the top of the sock, which will then be folded over to hide everything, leaving only the tassels exposed.
Footwear is down to preference. The decision is between Wellies and walking boots. Wellies are great on really wet days but walking boots offer more support, especially to your ankle. You will be on your feet most of the day and likely to be walking over uneven ground so make sure you choose something comfortable.
Whatever you decide to wear – enjoy your time in the field. Each day is special regardless of the bag size. Most of all stay safe and respect your quarry.
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