Partridge shooting originated in the south of England commencing in early September each year immediately after the cereal harvest, with most arable farmland still in stubble. Since then the partridge has proved to be one of the most adaptable gamebirds of all time with shoots having been successfully established as far north as Ross-shire in Scotland.
The clothing and kit for partridge shooting varies with the location and terrain where it is taking place. The further north you travel, the more applicable the dress code for driven grouse becomes. However, for warm sunny days shooting partridges driven off the rolling down land of Hampshire, lighter clothing is definitely the way forward. Many regular partridge shots prefer to shoot in leather shoes in the early part of the season rather than leather boots or wellingtons and these certainly help promote the swift foot movement required to address a covey of partridges bursting over a full hedgerow!
Tweed breeks, plus 2’s or 4’s are still the favoured choice for leg wear but again lighter weight tweed is preferable. Nothing too heavy for those early season days.
Traditional check shirts with a tie and a lightweight shooting vest or action back shooting jacket complete the dress with the compulsory cap or trilby to finish.
‘Camouflage’ is perhaps not so important on a partridge drive and indeed in some cases bright colours help the birds to ‘flare’ at the sight of the Gun line. However, don’t be too garish as your fellow guns may look askance.
As on the vast majority of partridge shoots the Gun Bus or Range Rover is never far away. There is therefore little need for the extra equipment often required on the moors to be taken with you. Instead it can be left in the guns’ vehicle. However proper eye protection and ear defenders are again vital as are gloves (hot barrels!).
There is also a good chance of hot weather this early in the year which is very tough on dogs. It is always worthwhile having a supply of water and a ‘dog’s drinking bottle’ or similar.