To mark the beginning of the shooting season, we hear from Adam Calvert, shooting expert and Oliver Brown aficionado, who shares with us his top three tips for grouse days.
The Golden Rule of Grouse:
Kill one! This may sound simple, but it's something which has become an Adam Calvert motto! Grouse tend to come in packs which can vary from 3 to 100, or even bigger sometimes, and they do this in order to confuse their prey (which in this case is us).
There is a big tendency to see a pack of grouse coming towards us and as a result get excited about killing more than one. The result of this is that we either don't properly pick a bird, or we don't stay with the bird we are trying to shoot long enough and end up moving to shoot the next bird before we have properly finished the shot on the first bird.
This results in the shot being placed neatly between both birds and a miss, no matter how many birds are coming towards you, concentrate on just killing one, the second one is always a bonus. Kill the first one and watch it fall before you move onto the next bird.
The 60 Yard Myth:
There are far too many articles written about grouse shooting which advise you to shoot your first grouse at 60 yds, there are probably 3 people in the country who are capable of consistently shooting grouse at 60 yds.
The interesting thing is that even the 3 people I know who are capable of shooting them at 60 yds don't do it.
For the rest of us mere mortals, shooting them at 60 yds usually results in a miss and us changing guns when we should be shooting.
Make sure you know your distances (a range finder can prove a worthy investment for the price of a brace of grouse) and fire your first shot at 35 yds, and then the second will happen at 25 yds.
Grouse are wild birds, so it is imperative that you use your field craft to improve your chances of shooting more grouse.
Keeping still and low when the grouse are approaching is vital especially later on in the season. Breaking up your outline with a hat and wearing the correct dark colours will ensure you can better blend in with your background, which will often allow you to catch the grouse by surprise.
This is not the place for loud tweed colours or bright shirts but darker shades of brown or green.
It can also be quite hot on those grouse days, so make sure that all clothing is cool enough and allows good movement in the upper body as well.