Shooting can be completely safe when conducted carefully and you follow instructions and some basic and easy to follow rules and guidelines.
Very few incidents happen as people do follow these and you should work hard to learn and understand. when you do go on a shoot whether it is your first or hundred and first you should still listen to your guide as every shoot has its own rules and quirks.
First and foremost whatever your choice of clothing you need to be seen. The common image of people wearing dark tweeds is a classical image. But for people shooting in large groups it is important that you can be seen by your fellow guns. A bright jacket or high visibility vest does help.
If you prefer not to then choosing clothing that is sensible comfortable and depending on the weather waterproof makes sense. There is no fun being soaked to the skin when a good jacket can make all the difference and you can shoot comfortably even if the rain is falling.
A countryman jacket or a fleece jacket can be plenty if the weather is dry and warm os have various options available for the weather conditions on the day.
Sensible shoes make a real difference to your day. Wearing new shoes for the first time is a really really bad idea and can ruin your experience. Make sure they are broken in. Once they are waterproof and comfortable style is your own choice. Waterproof is important as even on a day when it hasn’t rained you may be walking through wet grasses and may step in the odd puddle.
Many people wear wellington boots and you can choose from vendors like Jack Pyke which is a personal favourite.
Guns can kill or seriously maim and must be treated with respect. You need to develop solid routines in your handling of them. If it isn’t your own gun take the time to learn its use even if it is a model that you posses already. Here are some basic steps that you should follow.
- Guns should be empty and broken or in a sling between drives. Check your gun when you receive and even when empty think of it as a weapon at all times.
- If two people are sharing a stand, only one gun is permitted on the stand.
- Low pheasants must not be fired at under any circumstances, including birds behind the guns.
- Shooting must not start before the signal and cease immediately on the signal.
- Walking guns must only shoot at pheasants as instructed by the gamekeeper.
- Guns should only shoot at “their own” birds.
- No auto or repeater guns are usually permitted.
- Your gun must have adequate insurance.
If you are with an organised shoot this will not be an issue but if not then you should always be conscious of rights of way and peoples lands. Even though there may not be signage to the effect trespassing is not acceptable on peoples lands.
Always ask permission before entering private land. Any entry onto private property without permission is considered trespass. Landowners may be able to pursue court action against trespassers whether the property is posted or not