In the UK, the shooting of game birds is either on large, traditional driven shoots (driven shooting) or smaller-scale rough shoots (rough or walked-up shooting). Driven shoots tend to be more formal and walked-up less so.
It’s always advisable to check the dress code with the host ahead of a shoot; your outfit will be determined by the formality of the shoot. Importantly you will be out in all weathers so, to make sure you get the most out of the day, keeping dry, warm and comfortable is paramount.
At a formal driven shoot, it’s traditional for both men and women to wear a three-piece tweed suit comprising of a waterproof tweed coat, or tweed blazer, tweed shooting waistcoat and breeks, or trousers. Wearing smart clothing is seen as a mark of respect to both your host and the quarry.
Tweeds are often more muted in colour; greens and browns for a pheasant or pigeon shoot and darker blues or heather tones for a grouse shoot to blend in with the surrounding countryside and avoid being easily spotted by the birds.
The game shooting season takes place in autumn and winter so your shooting coat or jacket should be waterproof and breathable, warm and allow you to move freely whilst shooting. An articulated sleeve and action back will aid movement.
If you favour a lighter weight coat, technical tweed effect performance fabrics are a practical alternative and can also be used during warmer months. These are often machine washable.
Ensure your shooting coat features a breathable, waterproof lining and waterproof storm cuffs to keep you dry and prevent any drips running down your sleeves. A draw cord waist guarantees a comfortable fit which can be adjusted depending on your layering preferences.
Roomy pockets with eyelet drainage holes for cartridges are a must. Additional pockets such as hand-warmer pockets, a map pocket and a secure internal pocket for your phone and keys are also useful.
Cotton-lined breeks will wick any sweat away from your body. Breeks should have several useful pockets and have an adjustable hem to create a watertight ‘seal’ where it meets the sock. Tweed breeks or trousers don’t necessarily have to match your jacket or coat but should be in a complementary coloured tweed. We have a wide range of men's shooting breeks & women's shooting breeks in a range of popular colourways to match your tweed.
If it’s a particularly cold day we suggest layering up with a pure wool vee neck jumper in a colour to complement your tweeds. Thermal, or base layers, may also be required on especially bitter days.
A collar and tie are expected on a formal shoot. Ties often feature a motif of the quarry, such as pheasants or ducks, or similar country themes.
Traditionalists will wear socks over their breeks, tied with a garter to stop the socks slipping down and the breeks from riding up. There are conflicting views however as to whether socks should actually be worn under breeks instead. Socks add a welcome burst of colour to an outfit.
The terrain is often uneven so a sturdy pair of walking boots are essential. The day may also be wet.
Legally, you have to carry your gun in a gun slip. If your budget allows, a leather gun slip is preferred on a formal driven day, or a gun slip with a leather trim. A cartridge bag is an essential piece of kit to ensure you have a plentiful supply of cartridges. Ear defenders are recommended to preserve your hearing and, in the event of very bad weather, it’s worth having a pair of waterproof overtrousers to hand.
On a less formal shoot, tweed can still be worn but tends not to be a full tweed suit with shirt and tie. Some people may choose to wear just a shooting waistcoat or gilet, or fleece jacket instead of a tweed version especially if it’s an unseasonably warm day. Moleskin trousers or cotton breeks are acceptable.
It’s important to remember, however, that you will still need to have enough movement to swing your gun. A water repellent finish is recommended and, should the weather suddenly change, it’s worth keeping a men's waterproof coat or women's waterproof jacket to hand.
A canvas gun slip is a suitable alternative to leather on a less formal shoot.