Have you ever been on a day where you didn't achieve the bag you were expecting? Our syndicate manager covers this tricky topic in this post.
Have you ever not managed to achieve the bag you payed for? I recently ran into the same issue on a shoot this week. Without releasing any names or shoots, we will unpick this tricky issue and decide what can be done and what should be expected of all parties.
On every shoot day that you go on there is a number of factors that can affect your day. Things like the weather. It is vital that as a responsible gun you appreciate every game keeper is taking on a huge amount of risk when selling a day. Anything from a bit of rain to not enough wind can really affect how the pheasants fly. Clearly I am not saying that the keeper can never be blamed for a bad day. A good gamekeeper will know his birds, his land and how certain weather condition can affect how they are going to fly. Nevertheless, as guns we must always remember that these are wild animals and sometimes they will just not do what we want.
Expectations vs Reality
First thing to discuss is expectaions vs reality. Did your day pan out as advertised? Now by this I clearly don't mean the bag size as I am writing about a small bag. However just because you got a smaller bag does not mean the day was terrible. If you were hosted brilliantly, the weather was great, you had fun and the birds you did shoot were all fantastic, then was the day really that bad? Also how many shots did you fire? Was it actually a bad day or do you and your team perhaps just need a session on the clays before the next time you go out?
What can be done?
This quite often depends on how you are paying for the day. If you have payed for the day in its entirety already then you could ask for some money back but you should remeber the gamekeeper may be relying on the money for his livelyhood or may have already put the money into the shoot in birds/feed fees etc. If you have only payed a deposit and are paying the remainder on the day then you may end up paying less of a bill at the end of the day. There is also the option that you may be able to transfer some of the money onto a day the next year.
What should be done
So now that we have considered everything we can start to think about what should actually happen at the end of the day. Firstly ask yourself if the day was bad or if the day was just a bit smaller than expected? If the team all had a great time, the birds flew well, you had lots of shots and you were hosted properly but you just came up short. Personally I dont think you should be asking for money back. The keeper may be generous and offer some or he may offer you a discounted day next season which you may well take him up on. If however, you did not get anywhere near enough shots, the birds were low (not due to poor weather) and you were hosted poorly. Then of course you should ask for some money back. It is absolutely your right as a paying guest to expect to receive what you pay for and its not exactly a small sum.
Don't be an ass!
Our final point is that if you expect money back you do not need to be an ass about it. There could be many reasons why the keeper could be feeling the pressure and you kicking up a fuss and demanding money back will only agrevate things. This process should be done properly and discreetly between the team leader and the keeper. That way everyone gets to leave with their pride intact.
Until next time,