Shot Gun Shooting Ethics & Etiquette Part 2 - From a South African Perspective

 


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Know the quarry

If you cannot tell the difference between game birds and other species then you really do not belong in the field. An ethical wingshooter only shoots once he has identified his prey. One can excuse the hunter confused by a partridge and francolin as from a distance they pretty much look the same. But in saying that a wingshooter must make an effort to learn the different species. To shoot the farmers specially protected blue cranes or any other specially protected birds may have severe consequences.

Using a ‘gundog'

Given the incredible ability of game birds to conceal themselves, especially when wounded, it could be successfully argued that it is unethical to go wingshooting without a trained dog. Even with the best of dog some game may still get lost, but it will definitely be a fraction of what is lost without a highly trained dog. It is also highly unethical to shoot birds over water without a retriever in the party. Not everyone has a ‘gundog', but depending on the type of shooting, there should be at least one ‘gundog’ with every group of shooters.

Practise marksmanship

It could be regarded unethical for a wingshooter never to practise. Surely you owe it to the birds to go out several times before the season and shoot some clay targets. Unless you are a natural athlete with perfect hand-eye coordination, some practice at getting back into the swing of things is necessary for all of us.

It's just common sense and decency

From time to time we should indulge in some quiet reflection; take stock of what we are doing and, if necessary, modify our behaviour. Many times hunters become relaxed when out on a shoot, and that is usually when mistakes are made which may or may not result in a serious injury, but nevertheless has some consequence on other hunters or the game that is being hunted. Wingshooting etiquette is simple and straight forward and there are a few grey areas. Obey the simple rules of etiquette, act ethically and it is very likely that you may be asked to enjoy another shoot, if you are a beginner.

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