Game Shooting

Game shooting in the UK has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Shooting is an accessible sport, available and enjoyed by many thousands of people from all walks of life. It also provides a huge benefit to the environment throughconservation and significantly benefits local economies helping to sustain a healthy rural community. It also provides a healthy and delicious meat.

Despite their modest size, the British Isles offer the Sportsman or woman an extraordinary variety of season specific game shooting, the most popular being Driven Shooting and Rough Shooting with Pheasant, Partridge Red & Grey, Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Duck and Geese being the quarry. The game shooting season starts on the twelfth of August or the “Glorious Twelfth” for Grouse, Partridge on the 1st of September and Pheasant on the 1st of October.

Driven Shooting

Driven Shooting in its English sense, is usually Pheasant, Partridge or Grouse, over a team of shooters or “Guns” standing at “pegs” or in butts, by an organised team of beaters with dogs moving through an areas of woodland, covert or moor, flushing the birds forward, towards and over waiting guns who are armed with shotguns. The aim being to present the birds, particularly pheasant and partridge at a height and speed that make them sporting to hit.

Rough Shooting

Rough Shooting is the more common form of live quarry shooting, as well as including duck and geese in the feathered species; it can also include ground game like rabbits and hares.

Armed with shotguns, the rough shooter “walks up” their own quarry and can use trained dogs to be more affective, usually Spaniels or Labradors that work the ground in front of the shooters but within the effective range of a shotgun, putting up game that’s sporting to shoot at. The countryside knowledge and hunting skills required, plus the fresh air, exercise and the training and working of the dogs and of course, the fact that this is by comparison to driven shooting a less expensive sport and makes rough shooting very popular.


The shotguns used for Driven and Rough Shooting are based around two designs; the side by side and the over and under, both working on the same principle but having the barrels orientated differently to the action. Viking Arms offer the more high-end and bespoke Merkel brand of shotgun.

Other types of Game Shooting

Of course there are other types of “Game Shooting”, there is wildfowling for Duck and Geese on the wild edges of the foreshore around the UK’s coastline with heavy cartridge loads and magnum pump and semi-automatic shotguns.

Then there is Deer stalking, with deer as the game and stalkers or “rifles” as they are known in Scotland, using high velocity ammunition through ‘scoped bolt action rifles for accuracy and a humane kill. The Merkel Helix, Haenel Jaeger 10 or Ruger Hawkeye make the ideal rifle to participate in this exciting sport.

Wild Boar shooting which is becoming very popular here in the UK with some parts of the country having permanent sounders descending from wild boar escapees from specialty farms. Many UK shooters now travel abroad for Driven Wild Boar shooting on the continent, for this fantastic and adrenalin filled sport. Using large calibre specialist rifles, including double barrel side by sides, over and unders and now the innovative Merkel Helix straight pull rifle with it’s high capacity magazines – specifically designed for fast and intuitive shooting. The wild boar are driven towards the shooters by beaters in much the same way that driven birds are in the UK.

And then there is Big Game Shooting, although not necessarily all in Africa, the Scandinavian countries have gigantic Elk and in central Europe, deer and bear can become very large.

However, the African continent is the ultimate big game destination, with the Dangerous Five and all the other plain animals available – it has to be the ultimate shooting destination with a rifle for most rifle shooting hunters. The side by side large calibre Express Rifle is really the ultimate tool for the job – Merkel offer the side by side 140AE series as the workhorse of this type of rifle, favored by many Professional Hunters taking clients out after dangerous game.

Based on a hundred years of experience in rifle development for big game hunting, these rifles are based on an uncomplicated Anson & Deeley boxlock action, with all the mechanical systems doubled so each barrel is autonomous to the other which can be lifesaving in any situation involving dangerous game.