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Etiquette for Young Guns in the field

A reader is concerned that youngsters aren't being shown how to behave correctly ...

Easter holiday activities for Young Shots

Q: I have been part of 
a syndicate for four years and some of the other Guns have started bringing their children with them to shoot in their 
place. A lot of them seem to be unfamiliar with correct shooting etiquette as they shoot low birds and seem desperate to shoot anything that they see.

Their fathers are engrossed in making sure that they are firing or aiming correctly so they are not telling them off for taking other Guns’ birds and showing bad manners. How can I address this without offending the other Guns?

A: If someone is supervising 
a youngster, that supervision needs to be direct and very focused. It is up to the supervisor to tell his charge that he must not take shots at low birds, rather than concentrating on other things. A youngster who poaches the neighbouring Gun’s 
bird should not have been allowed 
to take that shot in the first place. There is no excuse for bad manners and a youngster who exhibits them probably has a parent who does too.

Safety and etiquette for Young Guns

There is a lot of merit in a shoot having a pre-season safety and etiquette lecture. Another way is for all youngsters to be examined and passed by the shoot captain or committee before they are allowed 
to shoot. That is particularly beneficial as most youngsters see this as a rite of passage, admitting them into the “tribe”. Someone who brings a child to shoot who is unsafe and behaves badly should be banned from bringing that child again until he has learned how to conduct himself. Ultimately, it is for the shoot captain to get a grip on the members of his shoot and enforce discipline.

Quiet words are all well and good, but they have little effect. There is no substitute for some public censure of a supervisor who has failed both his charge and his fellows. I do not care if I offend someone by drawing his attention to his failings. That may hurt his dignity but is far less painful than somebody being shot.