Both shooting and stalking can be challenging enough for many - even when fully equipped with the right attire! But, when wearing incorrect or ill-fitting clothing or footwear, there is a likelihood that you will end up feeling uncomfortable, possibly cold and certainly sometimes very wet! So, at Cherry Tree Country Clothing we have identified SIX top tips to help you to buy the right clothing and boots you may need.
You may find yourself caught out in heavy, driving rain, high winds or perhaps, on occasion, beaming sunshine. And, of course, the activities of shooting and stalking may take you to difficult environments, such as rough or boggy ground, forests or perhaps through peat or tussock. (This is small areas where grass is thicker and longer than other grasses). Therefore, as you might imagine, wearing the right gear is essential for your safety, comfort and enjoyment.
Tip 1: Waterproof and Breathability
Many experienced shooters and stalkers will tell you that the best time for stalking is just after a heavy downpour, when the ground is going to be muddy, and the grass very, very wet. Therefore, your shooting jacket, trousers and footwear will need to be fully waterproof and breathable. It's worth thinking about buying a jacket that's made from a waterproof fabric, such as GORE-Tex or perhaps has a waterproof and breathable membrane.
Tip 2: Weight
If out on moorland, you may find that there is no suitable vehicle access, meaning that you will need to carry all of your equipment, by hand. Weight therefore is an important issue - and, the lighter your shooting jacket and boots, so much the better!
Tip 3: Surrounding
If out deer stalking, being able to blend into the surroundings is vital. Make sure your jacket and trousers are 'chameleon-like' (i.e. earthy colours, such as browns or greens, or camouflage), so that your prey doesn't spot you, before you spot them.
Tip 4: Noise
According to recent studies conducted in Texas, USA, deers have better hearing than do humans. Therefore, when considering buying a new jacket or pair of trousers, it's best to choose a material that is 'silent', such as a peached microfibre shell fabric or polyester. This will help to ensure that when you are moving through grass, there is no 'russling noise' that may 'spook' the deer.
Tip 5: Practical features
Your clothing really needs to have some special key features to help make your experience enjoyable! Consider the following:
Shooting Jacket features:
- game pouch to carry game
- retaining straps for quick reloads
- large cartridge pockets
- zip trousers for ease of use, when putting on and pulling off
- reinforced knee areas
- waterproof and breathable materials
Tip 6: Long sleeves and trousers
No matter what the weather, it's always advisable to wear long sleeved tops, along with trousers (rather than shorts) for protection against ticks. Ticks love to feed on deer and dogs' blood, and they are often found in long grass - and they will quite happily try to feed on human blood too! Long sleeved clothing can prevent ticks from feeding on you. For further information about ticks, please take a look at blog entry - The Threat of Ticks - Tick Tock!
Shooting Clothing Etiquette
Many of our customers ask 'what should I wear on a shoot?' Well, our answers depend on just how formal the shoot is. If, for example, you are inviting friends and colleagues along to a traditional estate, for a formal days shooting, then we would suggest a tweed jacket with 'plus 4s' and gaiters. If however, you are attending a less formal event, then more casual clothing is perfectly acceptable and you could wear, for example, a GORE-TEX jacket along with waterproof trousers.
Buying the right shooting jacket
Your shooting jacket is probably the most important item of clothing for your event, whether out stalking for deer or beating for pheasants. This jacket really needs to 'work hard' to keep you dry and warm all day long. The main features to look for in a jacket include:
- a waterproof, breathable, windproof and silent fabric
- tough material (tough enough to walk over rough ground, through heather and brambles)
- it's light in weight with flexibility, to help with quick movement
- it has cartridge, game and handwarmer pockets
- the design includes internal pockets for radio, mobile phone and/or hip flasks
- it has colours that blend with the surroundings
- it's made from stain resistant material, that is easy to wash
Please browse our shooting jacket full collection here!
Buying trousers and/or breeks
As previously mentioned, when shooting, breeks are recommended for the more formal events. Breeks, which are sometimes known as 'plus twos', 'plus fours' or knickerbockers, have many benefits:
- they offer plenty of freedom when bending your legs
- there is less bulk when wearing wellingtons
- if wearing a pair of brogues, then it's your socks or stockings that may get dirty and wet, not your breeks, which will help to extend the life of the breeks
- they are fashionable and comfortable to wear
- they're available in various materials, including moleskin, leather or tweed
Incidentally, there is a slight difference between plus twos and plus fours. Plus twos offer a two inch fold just below the knee, whereas the plus fours are very baggy, with a four inch fold over the knee!
Generally, however, shooting trousers are designed to offer additional protection against the elements. At Cherry Tree Country Clothing, many of our shooting trousers are fully waterproof and breathable, and our top brands (such as Hoggs of Fife) offer a Teflon coating for extra stain protection. The main features needed in a pair of quality shooting trousers include:
- a high waist for good back protection
- plenty of pockets to carry various key equipment (e.g. compass, map, dog whistle)
- zip pockets for better security - especially if crawling along the ground when stalking
- zip ankle openings, for ease of 'putting on', over wellies
- waterproof, breathable and windproof fabrics
Depending upon your sport, another key feature to consider is durability. Brands such as Hoggs of Fife and Sherwood Forest offer shooting trousers with extra strength, at key areas, such as the knees, legs and seat area. For example, the Sherwood Forest Kingswood shooting trousers have extra durable material on the legs and knees to offer protection when walking through heather, bracken and brambles.
Staying Warm and Cool in all Weathers!
We all know that the weather can be very unpredictable. One minute the sun is shining, the next you are taking shelter from a heavy downpour under a large tree! This uncertainty can cause a bit of a headache when deciding what clothing to wear and what you should take with you for your day's shooting!
A rule of thumb, is to wear good quality, wicking baselayers and then 'layer up', which will give you the option to 'delayer' if necessary, as conditions change. Bamboo baselayers offer a breathable and thermo-control environment, which will keep you warm during cold days and cool during hot periods. Bamboo is a natural material that has fantastic wicking properties, is antibacterial, anti-static and really, really soft. To read more about Bamboo Baselayers and their benefits, click here.
Wearing fleece jackets and various tops as a second layer, provides great warmth without the bulk! This is especially true of our micro-fleeces which are extremelly lightweight and warm. Many of our shooting fleeces also include a windproof and breathable lining. These fleeces are great as the final layer when it is not raining. But, always be prepared and carry a lightweight waterproof outer layer, in case the weather should change!
Alternatively, you could consider a traditional wool knit sweater, which is chunky, warm and simply great when relaxing around the fire after a shoot!
Choosing the right shooting footwear
Shooting events generally last all day long, meaning you are on your feet for a considerable amount of time. Keeping your feet warm and dry is vital for a successful day and, of course, your overall enjoyment. Many shooters, gamekeepers and stalkers agree that boots are indeed the most important piece of equipment, and this is probably true! However, the socks or stockings you choose to wear inside of your shooting boots are just as important. Thin, poor quality socks, made from inferior material, may cause your feet to sweat, then become cold, and eventually they will begin to hurt. These are all aspects of wearing socks that need to be avoided!
With regard to footwear, we are often asked should it be shooting wellies or boots? This is a common question, and the answer really depends on the condition of the ground, the weather and climate and just how steep those inclines might be. Shooting boots, such as the Grisport Keeper Shooting Boots offer much better support for your ankles, especially when walking on rough, overgrown or uneven ground, whereas wellies are best suited to muddy, wet ground - and of course are a lot easier to jump in and out of! However, if you are wearing wellington boots all day, be aware that you may get tired a lot quicker, due to the lack of support given in the foot bed. Plus, do remember that wellies can potentially be dangerous when walking on rocky and/or steep grounds!
Shooting and Stalking Accessories
When out in all elements, staying warm, dry and safe is the key priority! Keeping your head and hands covered up can actually prevent many health problems including those of hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot and chilblains!
It's suggested that heat escapes through the top of the head and therefore, to stay warm for longer, a warm, comfy hat is absoulutely necessary. There are many different styles of hats currently available on the market, including the new Dexshell waterproof and breathable beanie. Shooting hats are available in many fabrics, including, fleece, felt, wax and tweed, with thetweed deerstalker being the traditional choice for many shooters.
Shooters tell us that there is nothing worse than cold hands when handling a rifle or shotgun. Our collection of shooting gloves offer warmth, comfort, dryness and grip.
Another essential accessory is a leg gaiter. Gaiters offer extra protection from the base of the boot, right up to the knee. So, if you prefer to wear breeks or non-waterproof trousers, but still require waterproof protection below the knee, then a waterproof and breathable gaiter is the solution. Our Trailwise Snolock gaiters are made from duck cotton, which is an extremely tough, durable and waterproof fabric, offering protection from brambles and thorns alike.
To complete your look, you could complement your tattersall shirt with one of our 100% silk ties. Our fantastic collection includes various designs, ranging from pheasants, ducks, labradors or tractors. These really do make fantastic gifts!
We really hope that you have found our hints and tips above helpful and useful. We also hope that we have given you some ideas for choosing items that will ensure your comfort and safety when out and about shooting or stalking - whatever the elements!
Should you need any specific advice or guidance when deciding what products are best for you, then please don't hesitate to contact us! We'll be only too glad to help!