Shooting etiquette: First day on the field
Having great shooting etiquette is a fundamental part of your experience and also landing you an invite to return – although it may seem daunting, it’s quite simple, staying safe and remaining a good sport are at the top of the priority list.
If it’s your first day on the field, understanding and practicing proper shooting etiquette is essential. Not only will it ensure safety on the range, but it also promotes a sense of camaraderie and respect among fellow shooters.
In this guide, we will explore the principles of shooting etiquette that every responsible shooter should adhere to, alongside some hunting clothing recommendations from our experts at John Norris…
Events such as shooting days take a lot of time and effort to be organised, with the head gamekeeper and their team working hard to perfect the ins and outs of the shoot before the big day. If you receive an invitation to the shoot, it’s polite to promptly give a response, whether you’re available or unavailable.
Gamekeepers understand if you have other commitments, but delivering your response in due time is key – not wasting anyone’s efforts and keeping your relations amicable.
If you have the ability to do so, it’s common for others to return the favour and host a day’s shooting themselves, keeping up the fantastic tradition…
Being well-prepped when it comes to shooting will make your experience much smoother and better overall. This may include collecting the correct hunting gear and clothing beforehand. There are many brands you can purchase shooting gear from, including – Barbour, Schoffel, Jack Pyke, Harkila and Hoggs of Fife.
Dressing appropriately is not only key when it comes to your safety but also as a sign of respect for others and the gamekeeper. Your shotgun should be serviced ahead of the event, alongside purchasing a gunslip, cartridges, a hat, coat, boots or wellies and gloves, among other accessories necessary for a good day in the field.
At John Norris, we stock a wide variety of shooting bestsellers, with a range of shooting footwear, clothing, coats, accessories and gundog items available to purchase online and in our Penrith store.
If it’s your first day in the field, it may be worth investing in good quality gear that will last you for years, instead of settling for cheap products that will have to be replaced – when purchasing shooting equipment, think of its durability.
The briefing will be at the start of every shoot, this will be a time for you to learn about what will happen on the day and what precautions to take. Local rules will be explained, signals and other safety requirements.
It’s important to listen to this briefing carefully, and ask any questions you need answering before the shoot – this means that the shoot will run as smoothly as possible.
In the field
It's essential to prioritise safety by always treating firearms as if they are loaded and adhering to proper muzzle control. Communicate effectively with other hunters to avoid accidental crossfire, and establish clear zones of fire to ensure everyone's safety.
Be mindful of the noise level and movements to avoid spooking game or disrupting the natural environment. Ethical hunting practices, such as adhering to bag limits and hunting seasons, are crucial for the conservation of wildlife populations and may be in place in many of the fields you shoot in – check any ethical practices with gamekeepers.
Additionally, always retrieve spent cartridges and any trash to leave the hunting area cleaner than you found it.
Always remember, if in doubt – don’t shoot. Your gamekeeper will be there to answer any questions and worries, especially if tis is one of your first times shooting.
End of the shooting day
As the sun sets on a day of shooting, it's important to conclude the experience on a positive note by practicing good etiquette. First and foremost, ensure that all firearms are safely unloaded and secured before leaving the shooting range or hunting area. Follow range or field closing procedures, return rented equipment if applicable, and clean up your shooting station or hunting spot, picking up spent shells and any litter.
Tipping is a great way of showing appreciation for excellent service or guidance, and the amount can vary based on the level of assistance received.
Whether it's your first day on the field or you’ve been shooting for decades, it’s never a bad time to scrub up on your shooting etiquette. Wondering where to find the best shooting gear on the market?
All of the John Norris team wishes you a successful and safe shoot – and don’t worry if its your first day on the field, ask others for advice and have a great time.