Shooting Essentials Checklist

With the shooting season in full swing James Norris has put together his essential kit to ensure you get the most out of your day and you don’t forget any key items.

Top Tip

My top tip is to always sort out your gear the night before and get the car packed ready to go – except for your dog and gun of course. There is nothing worse than running round in the morning looking for your kit, this is how you tend to forget your essentials.

Shooting Essentials

1. Ear Defenders
Either earplugs or over ear defenders, we have both types in stock so whichever is your preference. My personal choice is the electronic over ear variant which allows me to both control my dogs whilst shooting and listen for the next flush of birds arriving.

Deben Stereo hearing protection

2. Gun Licence

Always take this with you as some shoots will not allow you to shoot without it.

3. BASC insurance
Always have cover it could prove invaluable. 

Get your BASC insurance here.

4. Cartridges
Make sure you have the right type and size of cartridge for the location and species you are targeting. Always take more than you expect to use as you never know when a red letter day may occur.

5. Cartridge Bag and Belt
Store and carry your cartridges with ease, we have bags and belts that store 75 -100 12 bore cartridges and some even have a quick load option. In my opinion a cartridge bag is the preferred choice; however on smaller walked-up days a cartridge belt can be easier to use and quicker to reload from.

Shooting cartridge bag

Canvas & leather gun cartridge

6. Gun Care
Cleaning your gun is an essential task to ensure it operates effectively and safely. I always take my gun cleaning kit in the car with me and give it a good once over at the end of the day.

Shotgun Cleaning Kit

7. Gun Slips
A decent gun slip can last years, I prefer the leather types as I find them more hard wearing and also think they offer greater protection for my guns. I always put my initials on the inside of the slip to prevent any mix-ups.

Shotgun slip

8. Shooting Towel
The Musto shooting towel is a great bit of kit that can be used to dry anything that’s got damp. It is made out of high quality microfiber material and is highly absorbent.

Black shooting towel

9. Wellingtons or Waterproof boots
My absolute favourite wellies are the Le Chameau Vierzonords; they are just so comfortable, durable and warm for those cold winter outings. I use the Vierzonords mostly when the ground is incredibly wet. On dryer shoot days I use the Harkila Pro Hunter GTX 12” boots, which fit like a glove and also offer great support for my ankles.

Wellington boots


Harkila Pro Hunter walking boots

10. Shooting Stick
The shooting stick is a handy tool for getting through rough terrain and also having a rest when you get to the peg. We stock a range of shooting sticks for a variety of sizes and budgets.

Leather-covered shooting stick

11. Cartridge Collector
This gadget saves me loads of time whether at a clay ground or on a driven day. The magnetic cartridge collector is easy to use and effective, it even doubles up as a handy seat if needed.

Cartridge Collector

12. Hat
I’d be lost without my hat on the shooting field, my current shooting cap is the Schoffel Tweed Cap. We stock a wide variety of hat types and colours to suite any shooting situation.

Tweed flat cap

13. Waterproof Trousers
When shooting I prefer to wear breeks, so I do carry a pair of overtrousers with me just in case of wet weather. My choice of overtrouser is the Schoffel Ptarmigan Overtrousers. This overtrouser has full-length zips down each leg, which means they can be slid on and off without removing footwear. As well as this, they also pack down into their own pocket meaning they take up very little room.

Waterproof overtrousers

14. Breeks and Waterproof Jacket
This season I couldn’t be without my Barbour Moorhen tweed jacket and breeks. This suite both looks the part and is incredibly comfortable which is important when spending multiple days in it a season. As well as this both the jacket and breeks can be cleaned in a regular washing machine, to do this I use a Nikwax Cleaner and Nikwax Proofer which ensure the jacket remains waterproof.

Tweed shooting jacket

Tweed shooting breeks

15. Gloves
My current favourite is the Alan Paine Leather Shooting Gloves. This glove is of a slim line design meaning it never hinders accessing the trigger and they are also water resistant.

Water-resistant leather shooting gloves

16. Neck Warmer
On extremely cold windy days I use a neck wormer to help keep me warm. The Highlander Polarfleece Neck Warmer is as good as any...and a bargain at that.

Fleece neck warmer

17. Cork Screw Tether
For myself this is a key bit of kit that can come in very handy during a shooting outing. The corkscrew tether can provide peace of mind that your dog is not getting into trouble whilst your concentration is elsewhere.

Corkscrew tether

18. Slip Lead
If you own a couple of working dogs, you will know exactly what I mean when I say you can never have enough dog leads! I always keep a few spare as somehow one always gets lost or damaged along the way. The John Norris Slip Leads are great value and perfectly suited to most breeds of dog.

Rope dog slip leads in three colours