What is the most likely possible danger associated with clay pigeon shooting that would come to mind for you? If you know anything at all about this sport, you’ll probably realise that shotguns are fired at the clay targets as they fly through the air. While low-velocity shot is likely to be used for this, it is still capable of causing serious injury if it is fired in the direction of another person. Keeping safe when clay pigeon shooting is of the utmost importance.
Most sports have some element of safety involved to ensure those taking part have the minimum possible risk of injury. But when guns are involved, it is very easy to see how important it is to ensure all the proper measures are taken at all times – without exception. If standards were to slip, it could cost someone their life.
Even if you’re keen on getting involved in the hobby of clay pigeon shooting, you may well feel very nervous about holding and handling a shotgun for the first time – even before you actually load it and fire it. Every responsible clay shooting venue should have an extensive series of safety procedures in place for all participants to follow. These procedures should help to ensure keeping safe when clay pigeon shooting.
Let’s look at a few gun-related dangers that might be present if such elements are not followed. For starters, you should notice there is a shooter zone at the venue. This is a zone with a number of stands clearly set out inside it. Only the instructor and the shooter should be present inside each one. Every instructor should also hold a current shotgun certificate; this should be confirmed by the venue you decide to go to. Don’t be afraid to ask to see it – the venue will be only too happy to set your mind at rest and to demonstrate they work under the safest of conditions.
While there will be people visiting the venue to actually try their hand at clay shooting, some may bring along spectators as well. This won’t always be the case, but when it happens these people will also need to be safe while watching the proceedings. There should be a spectator area – probably consisting of a few stands – that will be far back from where the shooters are. This means the spectators should never be at risk of the obvious and possible dangers of the sport. Keeping sage when clay pigeon shooting is important for both those playing and spectators.
Instructors are excellent at their jobs and will take every care to ensure both new and more experienced shooters do everything that should be done in terms of staying safe – and making sure other people are safe as well. Keeping safe when clay pigeon shooting is always a top priority. For example, one possible danger is assuming shotguns aren’t loaded. Instead, you should always assume they are. You will also be taught to keep your finger well away from the shotgun trigger until you are ready to shoot and the gun is pointed in the right direction to do so – at the clay target itself.
Imagine what might potentially happen if you were to attend a venue that did not follow proper shotgun safety measures. Even if you took every precaution to stay safe and to use and handle a shotgun properly, someone else might be more careless. If they were pointing their gun at you and had their finger on the trigger, you could potentially be seriously injured as a result. This could possibly be found to be negligent behaviour, and it could so easily be prevented by keeping safe when clay pigeon shooting. One possible danger is quite clearly the chance of being shot by someone who isn’t paying close attention to what they are doing and where they are pointing the gun. Hence the need for experienced and qualified instructors to be present.
Safe use of shotguns and shot
Another aspect of gun safety actually has nothing to do with being hit by any shot, or in fact the incorrect use of shotguns at all. Even if all the safety procedures are always adhered to, someone could still potentially suffer a nasty injury when the shotguns are fired.
In this particular instance, the danger is that which could affect the hearing. Shotguns are loud when used, and if you’re taking part in a clay pigeon shoot, you’re very likely to be around other people who are shooting as well. This means the almost constant noise of shotguns being fired. If you were to take part without any sort of ear protection in place, you would stand a chance of damaging your hearing – perhaps even beyond repair.
This could potentially affect anyone who is nearby, even spectators. Everyone should be given ear protectors (sometimes known as ear defenders, since they defend your hearing from potential damage in this situation).
Finally, all guns and shot should always be stored safely and separately from each other, i.e. with no shot left inside any of the guns. This will ensure they are safe to pick up when they are next needed.
Thankfully, all clay pigeon centres and venues should have extensive risk assessments that have already been completed prior to you visiting. These are updated and checked regularly to check no potential risks are unaccounted for. It is very rare indeed for anyone to receive any kind of injury while at a venue of this nature, and even less common for someone to receive an injury caused by a shotgun.
Of course, if you have been unlucky you may well want to know more about it. Accident Advice Helpline hopes you’re keeping safe when clay pigeon shooting but you can consider the options if you have been injured. Call us on 0800 689 0500 to find out if you could receive compensation as a consequence of any injury you sustained while at one of these centres.
Date Published: September 16, 2016
Author: Rob Steen