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

Shooting Gazette - - This Month -

Dear Un­cle Giles,

Be hon­est, does it re­ally mat­ter if you’re a rot­ten shot when your love for shoot­ing and the coun­try­side is bound­less? Ask­ing for a friend.

JEM, by email

Un­cle Giles writes

As a mat­ter of fact, it does mat­ter. Be­ing a rot­ten shot can be reme­died. There are peo­ple who have no co-or­di­na­tion what­ever and whose hands and eyes can scarcely ever be har­nessed in the same en­deav­our and yet they strive to bet­ter them­selves both as shoot­ers and as peo­ple.

Con­sider the ex­tra­or­di­nary sport­ing achieve­ments of dis­abled ath­letes and wounded vet­er­ans and then ask your­self why you are still a rot­ten shot. I have said be­fore on this page — and doubt­less will again — that the cen­tral tenet of game shoot­ing should be, first and fore­most, re­spect for the quarry, then due re­gard for those who in­vite us, those who tend the game we pur­sue and those who steer it to­wards us on a shoot day; not for­get­ting, ei­ther, those who shoot with us.

Shoot­ing badly demon­strates a lack of con­sid­er­a­tion for all of these groups. Birds will not be despatched with el­e­gance and style. Hosts, keep­ers and beat­ers will see their ef­forts treated with ca­sual in­ef­fec­tive­ness, and your neigh­bours in the shoot­ing line will be dis­tracted from their ef­forts to ad­dress the high, wide and hand­some by the ur­gent need to tidy up some un­for­tu­nate pheas­ant that you have shot in the back­side.

Go to a shoot­ing school, find a coach whom you like and trust and book your­self a course of six les­sons. While it’s true that a de­cent coach may not be able to weave straw into gold in that, it will be much more ac­cu­rate straw by the time they have fin­ished.

Bound­less love of the coun­try­side is fine but if it’s all you can muster, go ram­bling.

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