The more you practise clay shooting during the summer the better a shot you'll be during the game shooting season.

Edward Watson: Once the driven game shooting season closes, it’s very easy for even the most passionate of sportsmen or women to clean their shotgun and then place it carefully in the cabinet until just before their first day of the following season.

I think everyone reading this will know what I’m going to say. It’s so wrong to put your gun away at the end of the season. It’s so important to practise clay shooting during the summer. Shooting a shotgun is a highly skilled eye-to-hand coordination sport that we try so hard to master. Yet it’s fine to put your gun away in February and think you can shoot well when the next season starts with no practice in between? The time to improve and iron out your bad habits is in the close season. So I am going to give you five important things to do this close season.

1.
Go to a well-known shooting school and have a professional gun fit. If you have not done this before you will immediately see an improvement in your shooting.

2.
Book a course of six lessons at a shooting school. Out of the season many, if not all, of the major shooting schools offer great deals such as two lessons for the price of one. My advice is to pay for everything up front as this will commit you to the lessons.

3.
Book a day shooting pigeons. It is great fun and so good for your shooting – during the day every shot you fire will simulate something you do in the following shooting season. I enjoy sharing a hide with a good mate because this also makes it very sociable.

4.
Visit your local gun club/ Sunday shoot and shoot a competitive round of sporting clays with a scorecard. This way you can find out what your percentage hit rate is and see an improvement over the year.

5.
Go on a simulated shoot day in the summer. They’re great fun and a good opportunity to meet up with shooting chums, but most importantly they allow you to shoot lots of cartridges. There’s no substitute for shooting lead up your barrels!