Is your shoot transport safe?
What's your gun bus like? Smooth and comfortable or rocky and rickety? Here are your legal obligations ...
Legal obligations for shoot transport
Q: I am a relatively new member of a modest driven shoot and for the past two seasons Guns have been transported to drives in a tractor-drawn trailer that belongs to another era. Guns sit on bales of straw and, while the trailer is covered, the entire set-up is primitive. Are there any statutory provisions for shoot transport?
A: There are indeed.
- Guns must have a secure seat with a backrest, unless sited down the centre of the trailer, and guardrails must be fitted at the edge of the vehicle.
- There must also be a safe means of access, illuminated after dark.
- On each trailer someone must be responsible for communicating with the driver and helping passengers.
- The trailer and towing vehicle must be roadworthy and the trailer coupling secure.
I suspect only a minority of shoot trailers meet these statutory requirements. I have been transported in trailers that would scare the living daylights out of sensitive Guns or beaters. However, I have also seen some excellent trailers, some of which have been purpose-built to high standards. The days of straw bales or seating are a relic of the past.
Own vehicle or gun bus?
On the other hand some guns prefer to travel in their own vehicle around a game shoot, meanwhile others love the communal fun of the gunbus.
One shooter says: “I like to be able to see where I am going. Much more fun than being in a gun bus with Perspex windows you cannot see out of.”
Meanwhile another said: “Staying on the estate grounds and not rushing around public roads or shooting over public roads makes it very special.” Of course this is not always possible but everyone agreed it was important that the transport on the day works, with perhaps the opportunity to laugh at someone who gets their Range Rover stuck…