Posted by Bethan Bithell on 27th Nov 2014
Shooting is a wide term that relates to the shooting of game birds, clay, or target shooting. According to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) over a million people in the UK now practice either game, clay or target shooting and it is reported that the popularity of game shooting has grown in the UK, year upon year.
No matter what your passion, the shooting jacket you wear needs to be tough, practical and useful. We have looked at a ‘day in the life’ of a shooting jacket and highlighted the key features needed, when attending an event.
Early Morning rise
Generally, a well organised event will start with a gathering at a local hotel, cafe or motel for a pre-shooting chat and warm up, usually with a nice mug of tea and perhaps a slice of cake.
With introductions of new members out of the way, it will be time to make your way to the shooting ground location, often in the transport that will already be laid on. Be prepared though, as at this stage, there may be a lot of “waiting around”, perhaps leaning against car bonnets or sitting on hard, cold stone walls. So your shooting jacket needs to be waterproof, hard wearing and practical. Many of our jackets come with a waterproof ‘anti-wicking’ inner liner, which means that when you’re sitting on a wet wall or damp car bonnet, your jacket won’t soak up any of that moisture. (See image)
The organised transport is likely to be a traditional-type Land Rover but in some cases, you might be transported around sitting in the back of someone’s trailer! This can be very testing on your shooting jacket, as you find yourself sitting on bales of hay or even steel benches, so the material of your shooting jacket really needs to be tough. Generally, a jacket designed for shooting will be manufactured from mixed fibres to ensure durability, in turn strengthening the material which will then ‘wear’ for many years.
Upon arriving at the shooting destination, it will be time to take a walk to your ‘hot spot’ or ‘peg’, (an area where a large number of game is expected to be), which may be in a gully or in an open field. Do consider that there may be a lot for you to carry to your ‘hot spot’, including a gun, a gun sleeve, a dog lead, a shooting stick and cartridges – and maybe even a hip flask! So, plenty of pockets are therefore necessary, so that you can use internal pockets for personal belongings (such as your hip flask) and the deep bellow pockets for items such as your cartridges. It will be necessary to take care not to ‘snag’ or tear your jacket and sometimes the rubbing of the gun strap on the shoulders and back of the jacket can begin to show signs of wear. It is therefore very important to take care when buying a shooting jacket and to ensure you choose one that is made from durable materials such as wool and mixed fibres, and preferably Teflon coated. Teflon is an invisible ‘barrier’ that protects the fibres from being spoilt and it repells oils, water based stains, dust and dry oil. For more information about this, please take a look at the duPont website.
Other requirements: shooting vest, collar and a silk tie
Upon arrival at the ‘hot spot’ or ‘peg’, the weather can sometimes deteriorate quite quickly! For example, fog may descend, resulting in the shoot being postponed until it lifts, meaning that you may be standing around waiting for a while, until the ‘beaters’ can do their job again. When this happens, you may find yourself simply passing time, maybe leaning against a tree – and of course, being out in the open, you need to try to stay warm. Your shooting jacket therefore needs to be designed to keep you warm, dry and comfortable.
hen choosing a new jacket we recommend that you consider the following features:
- ‘hand-warmer’ pockets – there’s nothing worse than trying to handle a gun with cold hands! Many shooting jackets include fleece or moleskin hand-warmer pockets
- a quilted lining – extra warmth is provided in a diamond quilted lining!
- a stud front closure, covering a brass zip – such a closure will prevent the breeze from blowing through your jacket
- elasticated storm cuffs – these hidden storm cuffs will prevent rain and wind from blowing up your sleeves
As the Pheasants, Partridge, Grouse and Ptarmigan start to fly, both skill and free movement is key.
Whether you decide to use a ‘loader’ or ‘instructor’, having quick access to cartridges is vital. A shooting jacket needs to have raglan sleeves to enable quick, easy, smooth movement in the arm area, and it also should have large bellows pockets (including drainage holes) with retaining straps, for quick access to cartridges. Many of our jackets have these features as standard, especially our Hoggs of Fife Tweed shooting jackets.
In addition, if you are shooting from a gully, then plenty of neck space and a soft neck collar is necessary. As quick movement of your head ‘up and down’, is needed as you aim, you don’t wan’t anything to restrict your movement. A moleskin collar will provide both warmth and free movement.
It’s also worth thinking about extra padding, or double-strength material, on the shoulders of your jacket, to help manage the ‘kick back’ from the gun barrel.
Other requirements: shotgun, sleeve, cartridges, cartridge bag, hearing protection, coat, gloves, shooting boots or wellingtons, shooting stick, hat
End of day shooting
At the end of your shooting day, as you make your way back to your transport, the ‘picker ups’ will carry any Game back to the transport, ready for matching the birds into braces. Or, if you find Game nearby, it may be necessary for you to carry it back to the Game Cart. Be sure to notify the ‘picker up’ if unpicked birds have fallen.
Key features needed in a shooting jacket
In summary, in order for a shooting jacket to be both practical and comfortable, it should be equipped with a range of features. The most important features are:
- hand warmer pockets
- bellowed ‘cartridge pockets’ with retaining straps
- Teflon coating
- mixed fibres for durability and Wool for warmth
- anti-wicking hems
- raglan sleeves for easy movement
- waterproof and breathable materials
Other factors to consider
If you are considering taking your dog with you, do remember that it is necessary to take water, a bowl, food, a towel, a lead and a whsitle and peg. It goes without saying, but please ensure that your gundog is under control at all times!
Should you require any further information or advice about Shooting Jackets , or indeed any of the other items on our website, please do contact a member of our friendly sales team, who will be delighted to help!