My wife and I are continuing to read Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time (we’re approaching the end of the third book, The Acceptance World), and the second time the expression “shooting stick” came up (“There were the same golf clubs and shooting-sticks and tennis racquets…”), she asked me “What is a shooting stick, anyway?” I didn’t know, so I had to reach for a dictionary, where I learned that it is (in the words of the AHD) “A stick resembling a cane, pointed at one end with a folding seat at the other, typically used by spectators at outdoor sporting events.” The OED explains the origin (as well as giving a couple of obsolete senses):
shooting-stick n. (a) Printing a piece of hard wood or metal which is struck by a mallet to loosen or tighten the quoins in a chase; (b) slang = shooting-iron n [“a firearm, esp. a revolver”]. (obs.); (c) a walking-stick with a handle that may be opened to form an impromptu seat, first used by shooters.
The two citations for the last sense are:
1926 E. P. Oppenheim Golden Beast i. xvii. 163 Judith had already disappeared, swinging her shooting stick in her hand.
1967 Guardian 23 May 2/6 The shooting sticks will prod the roots of every stately garden.
Are you familiar with this odd-sounding but useful term?