simulated GAME Shooting
Stoke Drove Country Sports offers a thrilling day out for intermediate or experienced guns, with many of the guns regular visitors in the game season. Beginners can also be easily catered for, with tuition and gun hire easily available if booked in advance.
The day is run as close to a traditional game day as possible, structured for between 16 to 27 guns, shooting 5 drives, seeing around 8,000 clays. As such guns can expect to shoot approximately 500 cartridges each, although the day can easily be tailored for each specific team.
On arrival at the shoot lodge, there is a safety brief and then draw for pegs. We then head out to the downs for 3 drives in the morning, returning for lunch, followed by two drives in the afternoon.
Drives are pegged out, standing up to 10 guns, in similar locations as the game drives. A typical team consists of 18 guns (9 pairs) although up to 27 (9 trios) can be easily accommodated. One team shoots while the other loads, offering advice and criticism!
Over the day, guns will see nearly 8,000 clays, and can shoot over 600 cartridges each.
Designed by champion Will Thatcher, the layout at Stoke offers a huge variety, while keeping with the realistic challenge that game shooting offers. Manual traps are used to offer greater variation and better quality in comparison with automatic traps. This means the clays faced are constantly changing, even throughout a drive.
We aim to provide flexibility in the day, tailoring the day to suit the guns, including a competition if desired.
The day is run by the Pickford Family; with Matthew the Shoot Captain, walking up and down the line to ensure everyone gets enough targets, and Tracie who cooks the delicious lunch.
We shoot 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday), although Saturdays are most popular, so book up fast. If you do not wish to book a whole day, we often run mixed days, for individual guns, so please still get in touch.
Start: We aim to meet at 09.15 for coffee and biscuits.
Morning: 3 drives with refreshments in between.
Typically there will be sausage rolls served, as well as a selection of drinks.
Lunch: Around 13.00 we return to the shoot lodge for lunch, which can range
from a traditional roast in the spring months, to a lighter summer option.
All dietary requirements can be catered for with sufficient notice.
Afternoon: Back out on the downs shortly after 14.15 for a further 2 drives.
Finish: We return to the lodge for tea at approximately 16.15.
Do I need to bring a 4x4?
-We meet at the shoot lodge which is easily accessible for all cars. From here we move on to the downs, travelling across tracks and grass, so 4x4’s are required during the day. However we can easily arrange a gun bus/people-mover for the day.
What equipment do I need?
Ideally, all guns will bring a gun, cartridges, ear defenders, sunglasses and hat, as well as outdoor clothing. However we do have spare equipment available to hire/borrow, so please let us know if you need anything.
What if I run out of cartridges?
-Keen guns can shoot over 600 cartridges in a day, so we recommend bringing plenty! However if you do run out we have a good stock of 20 and 12 bore cartridges at reasonable prices.
Will firing a large number of cartridges hurt my shoulder?
-Those unused to shooting may find they quickly get tired; but as guns are put into pairs, we have found that switching frequently between pairs helps - possibly shooting 25 or 50 cartridges each then swapping. We also recommend a light load of cartridge - something like 21 or 24 grams is ideal, saving your shoulder.
Is it possible to bring novices?
-Although we rarely have complete novices, we can arrange instructors if required for inexperienced guns.
Can I come without bringing a whole team?
-If you can’t get a whole team of guns together (minimum of 16), please still get in contact as we regularly run mixed days where we bring teams/individuals together for a days sport