Pheasant shooting is an exhilarating and exciting activity enjoyed by many throughout the season, including seasoned veterans and novices alike. Understanding technique is crucial to success, as is knowing your bird – just like different species of bird, each breed of pheasant also has its own unique characteristics when it comes to flight.
In order to get the most out of your day, however, it is important that you consider safety at all times. No matter how experienced you are, it never hurts to recap on the basic principles. To help you have a safe and enjoyable season, we have prepared this brief overview of safety when shooting.
Handled correctly and used responsibly, guns are safe and reliable pieces of equipment. In order to enhance safety, there are some simple practices to follow.
Always treat the gun as if it’s loaded
It may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but a gun should always be treated with the respect it deserves and part of that respect is to assume it is loaded and capable of firing at any moment. Taking this approach is one of the easiest ways to avoid any unintended and potentially dangerous accidental discharge. If handed a gun by someone else, always check it yourself to establish whether it is loaded or not.
When it comes to loading, do not load the gun until you are in position and ready to fire. And at the end of the shoot, ensure you remove any unused cartridges and place them in a pocket.
Make it clear
Following on from the previous point, if the gun is not loaded, make it clear to your colleagues to avoid any doubts. As a general rule, it is advised that a gun is always unloaded when not in use and is broken or in its slip if you are not at the stand or on the shoot. If the gun does not break, ensure that it is obvious that it is unloaded by leaving the chamber open. When you are on the stand, keeping the gun pointed upwards or broken between shots is the safest approach – never allow the barrel to be in a horizontal position.
There are often people who are vital to the shoot that are out of sight. Whether they are the beaters or flaggers in front of you of pickers up behind you a simple rule is never shoot where you can’t see.