What to Expect During a Driven Hunt
A true driven hunt places virtues such as sportsmanship and etiquette at the forefront of the day while ensuring all participating members of the drive are frequently offered the highest quality of pheasants at the most optimal flight presentations. Our sporting landscape is meticulously managed to promote optimal bird habitat during our hunting season while providing shooting scenarios not found anywhere outside the rolling hills of Southern Wyoming.
Pheasants are traditionally “driven” over a waiting gun line composed of up to ten shooting positions, otherwise known as “pegs”. Pegs are drawn at random at the beginning of the morning and each gun takes their position on the line. The gun line awaits in a predetermined location, pegs spaced roughly 50-60 yards apart depending on the particular drive landscape. Peg positions rotate throughout each drive.
As pheasants are driven over the facing gun line, they pick up speed and height, approaching from steep overheard angles creating a challenging moving target unlike anything you encounter in our traditional walking hunts.
It is a common sight to see a multitude of pheasants in the air at once all being driven towards the gun line simultaneously. Each gun is expected to shoot only the birds best suited to their personal abilities and to take only sporting and ethical shots.
The etiquette of a driven hunt is embodied through the use traditional break-open shotguns, classic English dress, and a display of the highest level of sportsmanship while afield to those around you and all of the animals involved.
A maximum of 12 guests in a single party have exclusive access to the ultra-secluded sportsmen’s club, enjoying private access to its breathtaking environment and to the notable sporting experiences it affords. Led by a ‘Shoot Captain’ with a team of dog handlers and your personal loader, shooters rotate through ten different shooting positions on six drives, with a break for a traditional ‘Elevenses’.
The classic hunting traditions of England meet the modern spirit of the American West to combine for a wingshooting experience not found anywhere else in the world. Set in the secluded rolling hills of Southern Wyoming at the base of the Rocky Mountains, this traditional method of wingshooting, once only offered in Europe, is now exclusively offered at French Creek Sportsmen’s Club.
What to Wear
We want to ensure that all of our guests arrive to the Sportsmen’s Club well informed of the proper shooting attire of a traditional driven hint and what they will need to be prepared for a day afield.
Most importantly, your attire should serve to keep you comfortable, warm, and dry. We recommend garments reflecting earth-tones and strongly discourage any camouflage or blaze-orange.
Tweeds, wools, and neutral colors are expected and you should avoid wearing any bright colors that may ‘flare’ the birds away from the shooting line.
It is important to make sure that your clothing in no way impedes your ability to mount your gun or inhibits your range of motion. Style is never to trump functionality.
A traditional Tweed Shooting Suit usually consists of the following:
- Long Socks complete with Flashers
- Shooting Vest
- Sport Jacket
- A Field Coat (depending on inclement weather)
- Coordinating Trousers
The items above can commonly be found at https://www.orvis.com/continental-shooting. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding proper shooting attire for your driven hunt.
The foundation of good sportsmanship begins with a safety-mindedness for yourself and those around you. Poor gun handling or an inability to follow direction from the shoot captain or loaders will result in removal from the current drive.
In addition to being safety focused while afield, having a working knowledge of your shooting ability and your range will ensure ethical shots on the birds throughout the day while offering those around you equal opportunities at birds.
It is considered to be very poor form to shoot a low bird that is approaching on the horizon or to ‘poach’ a bird that is lined up for your neighbor to shoot. If you happen to be a more accurate shot than those around you on a given day, don’t forget to allow a few birds to fly over your neighboring pegs. Additionally, you should not shoot a bird at close range. “Pillow casing” a bird is considered unsporting and renders the bird inedible. Aim for good clean kills and remain vigilant of your surroundings.
It is commonly considered to be unsporting to ask those around you how many birds they took on a particular drive or to boast about how many birds you yourself may have taken. A common line we like to use if presented with this question is, “I shot a few, and I missed a few.”
As stated earlier, above everything else, we value the safety of our guests, our guides, and our dogs. Your shoot captain will review proper gun handling practices with you before the drive begins and give instructions on how to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you throughout the day. Your personal loader will also help keep you safety-aware or field any questions you may have during the hunt. A few key tips to keep in mind about proper gun handling:
- Always keep your gun in a case and unloaded while in between drives or traveling in vehicles.
- If your gun is not in a case, ensure that it is broken open and unloaded to show those around you they are safe.
- When the gun is closed, it should always remain pointed in a safe direction. Never point a loaded or unloaded gun at anyone at anytime.
- Remain aware of where the beating line is and those driving birds towards you. Give the pheasants plenty of time to clear the horizon and never fire a shot if you have any doubt it may be too low.
As with any traditional sporting event, there are guidelines to proper etiquette associated with a driven hunt. The overall shooting experience will be more enjoyable for all those involved if everyone is aware of what to expect during the hunt and in turn, what is expected of them. Implement good sportsmanship wherever possible. Dress to a level of quality that reflects the driven hunt being executed. Show appreciation when posable for the tremendous amount of work put in by your game-keepers, loaders, and dog handlers that proceeded your arrival. A golden rule to remember throughout the day, be safe and be sporting.