Looking back on some pretty excessive (by today's standards) Victorian driven day bags what would yer Victorian think of today's driven days (tweed, double barrels etc) compared with latest technologies of paramo waterproofs and multishot shotguns?
I suppose you could possibly get away with it up North where folk ain't really civilised but it would be seen as pretty poor form down here in Dorset. Flat caps, waxed jackets and side by sides - very traditional. Though there are a couple of eccentrics I know who still use flintlocks!
I think your Victorian would be unimpressed and would collar the Home Secretary when next at his club to ensure that any such ridiculous restrictions were removed immediately. As for "....paramo waterproofs and multi-shot guns....", well, when the question of membership is raised they would make sure the appropriate coloured ball was placed in the barrel. A complete decline is standards old boy. Just not on.
The Victorians were insatiable for new technology; they couldn't get enough of it. Self-openers and ejectors were their way of increasing their rate of fire; vulcanised rubber capes were their hi-tech waterproofs: I reckon that if someone had invented a belt-fed 12-bore they'd have snatched his hand off for it.
If the'd been as wilfully backward-looking as most modern shots, the'd have been going about in woolen cloaks and firing matchlocks.
Speaking as a Victorian myself, I'm amazed at the number of plebs who now shoot. Half of the people I've shot with wouldn't have made it as beaters 150 years ago.
That said I'm very progressive, and not above discreetly wearing paramo under Barbour (which actually works rather well), because despite the cachet, waxed jackets are actually pretty crap.
Frankly, I'm a rough shooter and haven't been on a driven shoot for years, but it strikes me that shooting is deliberately traditional in the sense that there's a real desire to stick to older technology. If that results in a smaller bag but a happy shoot then that's probably the way to go. Contrast that with fly fishing where there is a bit of nostalgia about reels but otherwise a real surge for technology in rods and lines. I still don't catch very many trout, mind.
Be a bit of a waste of money when people drive the birds towards you. It's interesting to note that whilst most modern shots are wilfully anachronistic in the matter of driven shooting, for deer-stalking, where it does make a difference, there is great use of super-duper optics, high-tech projectiles, laser rangefinders, multicam etc, and nobody seems at all bothered about it.
Turn up on a driven day in multicam and face-veil, carrying a semi-auto and they'd probably set the dogs on you.
Ah stalking, the sport where optics were frowned upon until they had proved their worth in achieveing the estate cull targets. To be honest turn up with something that isnt synthetic and Finnish in .270 topped with Austria or germanys finest glass and they think that you are either poor or havent read up on stalking since Whitehead died!
I tend to agree with eVM regarding people on shoots though. I know many shoots wouldnt make it into the magazines of the day as they are syndicate or farmers shoots unlike today where Lord Percy is only heard of because he endorses a Barbour!
I must be the only person who prefers them, I think. I generally find that the high-tech stuff, whilst great for the first couple of outings, soon starts to become sodden, and Gore-tex has never really lived up to its billing. Wearing a coat that's doubled its weight in the rain, as sweat trickles down my spine, is not my idea of a good day out.
But a nice baggy waxproof lets the fresh air circulate, and you can whack on a fresh helping of wax any time it starts to get a bit soggy here and there.
I generally find that the high-tech stuff, whilst great for the first couple of outings, soon starts to become sodden, and Gore-tex has never really lived up to its billing. Wearing a coat that's doubled its weight in the rain, as sweat trickles down my spine, is not my idea of a good day out.
I think the Victorians would be rather disappointed with the small bags we find acceptable today .
One or two would have raised their eyebrows at women shooting and they would have winced at a shoot lunch held in a pub .
There would have been no interaction between guns and beaters , and I doubt even the keeper was acknowledged by the guests unless he was one of the famous Grass family .
Kit wise they would have loved it , particularly 32"in barreled guns using nitro cartridges on high pheasant and wildfowl .
I suspect that the high bags of yore were achieved with the inclusion of low birds that nowdays we simply wouldn't shoot .The bag was paramount .