Clay pigeon shooting is a fast-growing sport in the UK, but it’s wise to be aware of the possible danger of clay pigeon shooting if you intend to get involved. It’s sometimes called clay shooting or clay target shooting, but all these terms relate to the same activity. The idea is to try and hit clay targets that are flung into the air at speed. This is done by aiming a shotgun at the targets and firing it when you think you have a target in your sights.
As you can imagine, any sport that involves the use of guns must be as safe as it can possibly be for people to take part in. The presence of loaded shotguns is clearly a possible danger of clay pigeon shooting, and therefore proper care and attention should always be practised and taken.
Can anyone take part?
Yes, but the one thing everyone must have in common is the ability to pay close attention to safety. Many people go to a local club or similar venue to learn clay pigeon shooting. A club should provide a safe venue for you to start learning about this pastime, and for you to learn how to handle and fire a shotgun.
Indeed, the main possible danger of clay pigeon shooting involves the use of a shotgun. There have been instances – albeit exceptionally rare ones – where people have been killed in accidents while taking part in this sport. That’s one of the reasons why health and safety measures are obviously very important in this instance. Every venue that offers clay pigeon shooting must ensure it conducts regular risk assessments to identify the possible danger of clay pigeon shooting. This risk assessment should be looked over on an annual basis or immediately following an incident if one should occur.
Let’s imagine you give this sport a try for the first time. You have never handled any kind of gun before and you might be a bit nervous of doing so. The venue should have qualified and experienced instructors who can guide you and teach you how to attempt to shoot the clays out of the sky while handling the gun in a safe manner. If this isn’t the case, there may be an increased chance of someone being injured.
Possible dangers involving firearms
All the shotguns should be properly stored in a secure cabinet so they cannot be accessed unless by a qualified instructor. The same applies to the shot. In terms of being injured while using a shotgun, this can happen if you aren’t holding it in the proper way. The instructor should be able to guide you on how to do this. The recoil on the shotgun is capable of causing pain and bruising to your shoulder if you don’t hold it properly. This may be a possible danger of clay pigeon shooting that could be experienced without proper training.
When it comes to shotguns, you might think the most likely way to be injured would be to be shot with one. While this is a potential possibility, it is highly unlikely to occur providing proper health and safety measures are always followed. However, there is another injury that could potentially happen is an injury to the ears. After all, firing a shotgun isn’t going to be a quiet activity!
Everyone present on the site should be given a pair of ear defenders. These are essentially a set of headphones that are designed to minimise the chance of you suffering any damage to your ears, such as a perforated eardrum for example. Remember, it won’t just be you who is firing a shotgun at the clay targets. There may be one or more other people taking part in the same sport on the same site as well.
Even if you’re not actually firing a weapon, you should still be given ear defenders if you are on-site at the time the guns are fired. You may be there to support or watch someone else who is having a go for the first time, for example.
Dangers when clay pigeon shooting
When you’re clay pigeon shooting you’ll be handling a shot-gun which in itself can be very dangerous so you’re taught the safety of your gun when you begin shooting such as carrying an unloaded gun and how to hold and move it around. But something which people sometimes forget about is your hear because hearing loss is one possible danger associated with clay pigeon shooting and is perhaps the most common. You can get ear protection such as defenders in various styles and sizes ranging from a basic foam ear plug to the more professional electronic ear defenders. For beginners foam or rubber ear plugs, or basic headphone style ear defenders should be adequate but if you’re looking to pursue the sport you might want to invest in something heavier duty. Some clubs will provide you with these but it’s worth checking beforehand as the noise from a 12-bore shotgun is louder than a jet plane taking off so you don’t want to risk exposing your ears to that.
Following all the rules to avoid the possible danger of clay pigeon shooting
It’s easy to see why there are so many rules and regulations pertaining to a sport like this. However, it’s not just about being safe handling and using shotguns. You also have to have trust in the site you are using, which should be safe in every respect. Since the sport is practised outdoors, it is vital that appropriate perimeters, exclusion zones and stands are all in place. These should be labelled where necessary to prevent other people from straying into the area. Even spectators could potentially be injured if they are in stands where the steps are slippery or the seating isn’t safe to sit on. Not all accidents could potentially have anything to do with shotguns, even though this might be the first thing to come to mind.
As you can see, slips, trips and falls could potentially occur to anyone taking part in this sport. If you’re carrying a shotgun and you slip and fall, it could go off accidentally, injuring you or someone else. It makes sense, therefore, to follow all safety procedures at all times to prevent anything like this from happening.
If you’ve already received an injury while taking part in this sport, you may now be wondering if you would be entitled to receive any compensation. If the injury was a direct result of negligent behaviour, either on the part of someone else taking part in the hobby or (very rarely indeed) someone who was acting as an instructor, you could have a chance of claiming. Accident Advice Helpline has handled such sensitive cases before, and a quick call to 0800 689 0500 now could help you determine whether you could make such a claim as well. If you know the possible danger of clay pigeon shooting first-hand, now is the time to find out more.