Some tips to make the most of this enforced downtime

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As current Government COVID rules stand, you won’t be able to go out driven gameshooting in England until 3 December 2020. In addition target shooting ranges and clay grounds are also closed until then.

However BASC advice states that: “Rough shooting, wildfowling and deer management may continue during the lockdown period as outdoor recreational activities, as long as you comply with the guidance.” In addition, essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock may continue.”

So how can a shooter spend time usefully and productively during this period of inactivity? Here are a few ideas.

  1. Take a look at your gun stock and get it looking its best again. Here is some advice on camouflaging scratches, wear and tear and getting the bloom back on the wood
  2. Brush on your knowledge of shooting terminology. Do you know your ‘flinch’ from your ‘elevation’?
  3. Test your knowledge of shooting and conservation with this quiz
  4. Make sure that you know how to align the sights on your rifle
  5. If you’ve got a PCP air rifle, it’s time to get round to cleaning the barrel and here’s how
  6. Wear a waxed jacket? Take this opportunity to rewax it whilst it’s not being worn out in the field
  7. Build a rat-proof gamebird feeder, with instructions from Mike Swan of the GWCT
  8. See if you come up to scratch by taking the free GWCT Accredited Game Shot Test (you’ll get a certificate if you pass)
  9. Practise these exercises to improve your gun mount 
  10. Organise your freezer so it’s ready to store all the game you’re going to shoot once things get going again.
  11. Do you know the law on travelling with your gun? What to do with your gun when you’re at a shoot lunch in a pub? Here’s a useful video from BASC.
  12. Keep up the gundog training. Keep your dog’s mind active by practising recall, steadiness and heelwork.
  13. “If you have had problems with your gun mount, consider wearing your ear defenders, a sign of over mounting is when your stock clatters the ear defender. If you’re not sure, don’t practise the wrong movement, get a lesson when lockdown is lifted,” advises Mark Heath, instructor manager at West London Shooting School.
  14. Check you are aware of your firearms certificate/shotgun certificate expiry date. You may not get a reminder from your local firearms office.clay trap
  15. If you’ve got enough space outside, there’s probably never been a better time to buy a manual clay trap. Here’s what to look for and how to go about clayshooting on your own land.
  16. Give your gun a thorough clean – here’s how to do it.
  17. Clean your walking boots or shoes and give them a good polish.
  18. Make a risotto using game. Risotto needs almost constant stirring and attention so you need to be around to keep an eye on it. Now’s the time.
  19. Watch something entertaining on the Shooting Sports TV website.