Putting your mind at rest con­cern­ing is­sues in the field and be­yond.

Shooting Gazette - - October 2017 -

Dear Un­cle Giles,

My teenage son en­joyed two days at partridge with his for­mi­da­ble grand­fa­ther in early Septem­ber and I’ve no­ticed my heir has picked up some rather bad habits from their time to­gether. Most no­tably the way he holds his shot­gun be­tween drives (un­slipped, breech closed, bar­rels point­ing at the floor). Nat­u­rally I’ll speak to my son, but should I speak to his grand­fa­ther (my fa­ther-in-law) too, and if so, how should I ap­proach the mat­ter? MT, by email

Un­cle Giles writes

It is al­ways a thorny issue when some­one who is ev­i­dently se­nior to your­self be­haves in a way that makes you un­com­fort­able. You know that it is wrong to let it pass un­chal­lenged and yet the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of con­fronting the per­pe­tra­tor may be con­sid­er­able and en­dur­ing.

The so­lu­tion is to di­vert the ori­gin of the rep­ri­mand to a third party. Hence: “D’you know, a friend of mine was at a shoot the other day and the host gave one of the young­sters there a most fright­ful dress­ing down for stand­ing about with his gun shut. Not loaded, of course, just shut. Not point­ing at any­one, but not in its sleeve, you see. Quite went off the deep end ap­par­ently. Threat­ened to send him home and what have you. Ter­ri­bly em­bar­rass­ing for the poor boy. Of course, it’s the mod­ern way, I sup­pose – Health & Safety gone mad, eh? Still, times change and we must adapt or wither, what?

“And then where should we be? On some­one’s sharp side, I shouldn’t won­der. I have your gun­slip here, by the way. Would you like to slip the old bazooka into it so you can get both hands on my flask? Splen­did!”

If the man has an ounce of sense he’ll take the hint. Fail­ing which, ex­plain the dif­fi­culty – which is con­sid­er­able – to the boy’s mother and she can re­cruit your mother-in-law to give the old man a proper talk­ing to about set­ting poor ex­am­ples to young­sters. That should get the job done. It’s what grannies are for.

A shot­gun in its slip is a sign of good eti­quette, what­ever your age.

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