JOHN BIDWELL says: It’s not possible nor sensible to set a figure on this because everyone’s needs are different.

It might take some people fewer than 50 shots or so to get the feel for a gun again after a lengthy break from shooting. Others, though, could need a lot more to get back into the swing.

At least you recognise the need to do some shooting in readiness for the new season because getting your eye in means there should be fewer pricked birds to pick.

In addition to this you gain more enjoyment from a day out because you are now better able to cope with the birds being shown, and will be missing fewer of them.

The easy answer to the question of course is to not put the gun away at the end of the season, but to use it regularly throughout spring and summer.

If you are serious about getting back on track before the first driven day then take yourself off to a Sporting ground and shoot as many targets as you can over the next four or five weeks.

Don’t just concentrate on clays thrown from a high tower but enjoy the rest that the course can offer.

A variety of targets and angles can’t help but improve your all-round shooting skills. Pigeon decoying is another great form of shooting that can help get us geared for game but I wouldn’t recommend it as practice – it’s a sport in its own right with a bird deserving our highest respect.