How many errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting could you name if you were asked? The answer probably depends on whether you have any familiarity with the sport. If you have a fair idea of what is involved, you may immediately think of the obvious dangers of coming into contact with guns – namely shotguns, in this particular situation.
But perhaps one of the key dangers involves something – or someone – you are bound to come into contact with at any clay pigeon shooting range. This is the beginner, or the novice shooter. This is someone who may be giving the sport a try for the very first time. While they will have an instructor to help them (someone who is qualified and who holds a proper certificate for a shotgun that is up to date) they still have to get used to the sport.
There are several errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting that can be derived from someone who is new to this sport. Think about the prospect of holding a real shotgun and firing it for the first time. This would make many people very nervous, and that is perfectly understandable. Nerves are actually a good thing to have, because they can help you take extra care and pay close attention to what you are doing. You’ll make sure you listen to everything your instructor says, so you don’t get careless. No one wants to be careless when they are handling shotguns, or indeed if they are anywhere close to them.
Potential errors a newcomer to the sport might make
It should be pointed out that the errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting from this point of view are almost always avoided. Proper training, professional standards and a high-quality range will all combine to make the sport as safe as possible. With that said, of course, it is possible a newcomer might see the sport as a lot of fun, and they may not take gun safety anywhere near as seriously as they should.
Fooling or messing around while near a shotgun – or even worse, while holding one – is never a good idea. It will be discouraged by the instructors at every turn. Learning the safety measures that must be adhered to every single time someone steps onto the range is going to be the most important thing a newcomer learns the first time they attend a clay pigeon shoot. If someone was very careless or foolish, they may not be allowed to continue. This is one of the errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting that can easily be seen and removed by the staff on-site. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen very often at all.
What about forgetfulness?
When someone is experienced at clay pigeon shooting, they are likely to go through safety procedures without consciously thinking about it. They will know exactly what must be done when handling a shotgun and they will follow through those procedures every single time they pick one up, load one or put one back down again.
This isn’t necessarily the case for a beginner. Imagine you step onto the range for the very first time. You’d very likely feel nervous about picking up a real shotgun, even if you are excited to give the sport a try. This is a real gun, after all, and it will be loaded with shot that could do a lot of damage if it hit someone. This is why proper safety is so important. Indeed, anyone visiting a range for the first time is likely to spend most if not all of their first lesson focusing on guns and safety, so they know what is expected of them.
In the case of shotguns, the shot sprays out from the barrel when the gun is fired. This is different to firing, say, a handgun, where the bullet goes ahead in one direction. This makes it even more important to make sure you never point the shotgun within 45 degrees of someone else if the gun is closed. One of the potential errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting is someone accidentally firing a shotgun even when it is not pointing directly at another person. It could still cause injury because of the nature of the shot and how it is ejected from the gun.
Newcomers to the sport will be taught how important it is to play safe with shotguns. No shotgun should be held in the closed position unless and until the person is ready to shoot with it. Can you imagine how frightening and potentially dangerous it could be if a newcomer kept their gun closed and loaded, got excited and accidentally fired it? Even if they never intended to do so, you could receive a serious injury because of their negligence. The other golden rule everyone in this position should remember is to assume a shotgun is loaded if it is closed and not open. It is always a lot better to be safe than sorry. Would you be happy to assume a shotgun is empty and has no cartridges loaded into it if it was closed? Few people would.
Would an accident mean someone else had been negligent?
If a beginner did make a crucial mistake and injured someone else while taking part in a lesson at a clay pigeon shoot, the question of negligence may well come up. One of the errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting is that the beginner will neglect to follow the rules and regulations they were clearly taught. Another option (although a very unlikely one) is that the beginner may not have been taught properly in the first place.
If you have come up against any errors which can happen during clay pigeon shooting in real life and they led to an accident as a result, call Accident Advice Helpline to see if you can claim anything for your injuries. Making a call on 0800 689 0500 is easy enough and it will help you understand the situation you found yourself in.
Date Published: September 16, 2016
Author: Rob Steen