When and what is the pheasant shooting season - UK

October 5, 2020
When and what is the pheasant shooting season - UK

History of pheasant shooting?

Pheasant shooting originated in the UK sometime during the 16th Century, with the sport initially involving ground game as opposed to flying game. In the 17th Century came the idea of shooting flying game, where any bird that was flushed and shot was included in the final count. Since then, pheasant shooting has gained in popularity with shoots, in the last couple of centuries, producing higher and higher birds.

pheasant shooting season

When does the pheasant shooting season start and end?

Pheasant shooting season occurs between the 1st October and 1st February every year, this is classed as the open season. The season only runs for a certain period of the year to allow for game conservation and species management to take place.

pheasant shooting season starts and ends
Pheasant shooting season starts and ends.


What happens on a typical pheasant day?

A typical pheasant day would consist of roughly four drives, with anywhere between 8 and 12 guns. A pheasant drive begins with the guns being spaced out roughly in a line formation, where they will then be presented with driven pheasants. Birds are driven by beaters with flags flushing the birds across the drive, forming a presentation of birds for the guns to shoot. Only “sporting” pheasants should be shot, with no ground game being shot on a driven day, due to safety reasons. There will be a line of pickers up that stand behind the guns, they will mark the birds in order to pick them up. Once the drive is over, the pickers up then use well trained dogs to pick any marked birds, in order for them to be counted, making up the “bag” for the day.


The cost of pheasant shooting?

Pheasant shooting varies in price dependent upon the style of the day, the size of the estate, the type of birds on offer and the number of birds. Pricing usually takes the format of a set amount per bird, so guns will pay per bird, as opposed to a set price for the whole day. Prices for pheasant shooting with David Beardsmore Shooting is £37 per bird for a pheasant day, with the price including full hospitality (typical hospitality day at Arley Estate) for the day. Check the game shooting page on the website for dates available for pheasant shooting in this season.

pheasant shooting with David Beardsmore
Pheasant shooting with David Beardsmore Shooting

What is the best shot size for shooting pheasants?


The best cartridges to use when pheasant shooting differs between the early part of the season and the later part of the season. For pheasants early on in the season, it would be best to use 6s, however later on in the season it would be better to use 5s or even potentially 4s depending on the presentation of the pheasant. When shooting on an estate that may show a high presentation of birds, it is better to shoot a heavier cartridge. Therefore, the higher the presentation, the heavier the shot, so on very high pheasants it would be better to use 4s rather than 5s.

David Beardsmore recommends Eley cartridges for all your shooting needs. When shooting pheasants he uses VIP game and Zenith game cartridges. These offer incredible performance and consistency at an affordable price.

Eley cartridges
Eley cartridges for your shooting needs.


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Over the past 20 years David Beardsmore alongside Head Keeper Oliver Davies have developed four exclusive game shooting days with ducks, pheasants and partridges located on the Shropshire / Worcestershire borders .

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