An introduction to shooting

This varied sport of shooting in a nutshell

Shooting is a sport combining nerves of steel with precision aiming at a target, whether it be stationary or moving, animal or artificial, indoors or outdoors. Interested? Here is a quick introduction to shooting to get you up to speed and on target.

Shooting as a sport is big business and contributes significantly to the UK economy, and for certain types of shooting, forms an essential part of some rural communities.

According to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), more than a million people take part in shooting sports every year — apparently more than in rugby, hockey and athletics.

Introduction to shooting

Shooting sports are varied, from the type of shooting that incurs the wrath of the anti-blood sports lobby, to the target-style shooting seen in the Olympics. Although the skills required are similar in many respects, each type of shooting discipline requires specialist skills that are honed to match that sport.

Shooting at a stationary target (perhaps aiming at a bullseye appearing not much larger than a pinhead in a competitive situation), may bring a different type of pressure than trying to hit a deer, having stalked it for several hours.

While the idea of shooting at a living thing may be too much for some people to swallow, that does not bar you from the sport, with many alternatives such as clay pigeon shooting providing a suitable alternative.

Formal estate shooting such as driven pheasant or grouse, or even shooting as pest control are alternatives for the keen shooter. While they may be controversial methods, they remain popular pastimes.

Well in excess of 25,000 full-time jobs in the UK are directly dependent on shooting, while there are a significant amount of jobs which are indirectly dependent on shooting activities, such as hotels, clothing manufacturers and game dealers. There are around 5,000 gamekeepers in the UK dependent on shooting for their livelihoods.

Firearms and shooting safety

There are tough controls on firearms and shooting seasons and what is considered a legitimate target are strictly controlled by law.

Anyone shooting in an organised setting will receive proper instruction and be thoroughly aware of their responsibilities, making the sport a very safe one. The law ensures that young people only have access to firearms on a progressive basis as they grow in age, maturity and responsibility, overseen by the police and other adults.

Types of shooting

Types of shooting you might want to consider, depending on your moral stance, include:

  • Deer shooting — culling deer for environmental reasons.
  • Game shooting — shooting of birds such as pheasant, partridge and grouse.
  • Clay shooting — shooting an artificial moving clay target.
  • Target shooting — shooting a fixed targetboard.
  • Wildfowling — shooting of migratory birds such as geese and ducks.

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