While the practice has become fairly less popular than earlier, hunting or shooting has not completely disappeared from the face of the earth in the present day. To take a route back in the history of shooting, Britain and Scotland have a very rich legacy of hunting, or modern game shooting to be precise. Once upon a time, shooting in the UK was a great activity and a royal pastime. Currently, the latter will no longer hold true as there’s no limit to the range leisure activities accessible to all, but the trend is still available to many and also brings tremendous advantages to local habitats and wildlife.
Differences in terminologies
Most terms might sound a tad similar but one must know the exact differences in terminologies between hunting and driven shooting. In UK, hunting when accomplished without any form of training or qualification is primarily for hunting of foxes, hounds, stags or mink-hunting. On the other hand, shooting refers to game bird shooting. Even deer hunting that is better known as deer stalking.
Few years back, the concept of deer stalking and game shooting has been carried on in Great Britain and Northern Ireland after they were assigned the status of ‘field sports’. But hunting with foxes, hounds or animals are not considered acceptable. One cannot deny however, that the practice of driven shooting in the UK is prevalent in most places in several forms, but Scotland, England and Wales have all made the rest unlawful.
The historical journey
Almost till the 17th century, birds were traditionally shot when sitting perched or being on the ground, alongside being netted. Now, there was significant modernization in the ‘shotgun technology’ during the early part of the 18th century, and birds started getting shot at the time of flying. This became known as ‘shooting flying’, derived from the French ‘tir au vol’. It became so common aside hawking or netting that by the middle of the 18th century, shooting was a well loved task due to ease in doing so with good ammunition and guns. The aristocrats and landed gentry were the ones who took great joy in practicing this art.
Then came the double barrelled breech gun during the mid 19th century, finally giving way to the art of ‘driven shooting’. Here, the birds were hunted not after one moved towards them randomly, but the shoots were very organized, formal and involved one standing at a certain position or peg. Naturally, this gave way to a lot of variety and became a challenging task, which was all about testing abilities and techniques in shooting.
Such was the popularity of driven shooting in the UK during that time that even shooting schools started appearing and the best methods and techniques were taught to interested learners. From using a variety of equipments to endorsing a plethora of styles, the 19th century was truly a golden era of shotgun advancement. Some obvious changes came about after 1960s and 70s.
Presently, game shooting has adopted different names like driven shooting, walked-up/rough shooting, wildfowling and more. Almost a million people participate in shooting in the UK, target shooting and clay shooting as per records held by the ‘British Association for Shooting and Conservation’.
To find out more about driven shooting and what it involves click here.