Or is it best to leave it at home on camping trips? Bill Harriman gives the legal answer ...

Should you keep your shotgun in the tent or your car?

Q: I’m in the process of buying some woodland and I intend to do some shooting there. I also plan to spend a lot of time camping in the woods. Is it legal to leave my shotgun in the car overnight — minus the foregrip — or will I have to leave 
it at home on my camping trips?

A: When a shotgun is in use, being cleaned or repaired, the certificate holder is required to take “reasonable precautions” for its safe custody. The law does not tell you how to do this because each case will turn on its individual facts. For something to be “reasonable” in law, it must be reasonable in all of the circumstances that prevail at the time.

Dividing the gun into its barrels and the stock/action is a good idea because this stops a criminal obtaining a complete firearm. The car needs to be in view and, to be really safe, secure the stock and action to the interior with a cable lock or similar device. Lock the doors and set the alarm. If you keep the barrels and the ammunition with you then any criminal would have to do 
two things to get a complete firearm 
and its ammunition.

Beware of poachers

On that note, make sure that 
your security is not compromised 
by anyone finding out that you have a gun while camping. Be aware of poachers at night, as most gangs 
would relish the opportunity to steal 
a gun and cartridges. Get a really bright torch and keep it with you at all times. Similarly, a fully charged mobile phone kept on the person is a good idea.
A really good low-tech early-warning system is tin cans strung on fishing 
wire — they don’t half rattle when tripped.