"Having read about BASCs ‘take a mate shooting’ initiative last year I was really keen to do my part for the sport and also help and encourage others in to shooting."
A sport which at times can seem out of reach for people with no prior involvement or knowledge, clay pigeon shooting is a sport suitable for all, great fun and very sociable! With growing concerns for the rights of the shooting community worldwide following recent events, I think it is more important than ever to increase awareness, support or at least understanding for shooting sports. Having read about BASCs ‘take a mate shooting’ initiative last year I was really keen to do my part for the sport and also help and encourage others in to shooting. It started with taking my brother and my Dad shooting who both subsequently applied for their shotgun certificate. Over the last year I have taken a friend or two shooting and my Mum as well. I will talk about shooting to anyone willing to listen and will always encourage people to give it a try and advise on how and where to go.
Following this I was really keen to get a group of people together who had never shot before but were interested in trying shooting for perhaps the first time, or at the least finding out more about the sport. After speaking with Gareth Dockerty (Regional Officer for BASC) and Mark Lawson (Owner of Hazel Bank Shooting Ground), I was kindly offered support by all parties to host an introduction to shooting day. The day was aimed specifically at novice shooters who wanted to try shooting for the first time with the opportunity to meet other beginners and ask as many questions as they wanted in a friendly, welcoming and supportive environment. When I first went to enquire about shooting, I didn't know anyone. I pulled up at a local shooting ground by myself with no prior information or advice and felt slightly out of my depth and uncomfortable. How does it work? Who do I speak to? What can I ask? What shouldn't I ask? What is the etiquette? How should I act? What do I wear? I think we sometimes forget that although the sport is very inclusive and sociable, for someone that knows absolutely nothing about how it works, it can be a little daunting.
With a little planning, some support from BASC and a few social media posts I found myself with emails from a number of willing participants all keen for an introduction to shooting! The date was set and places booked. We had a fantastic mix of around 20 people arrive for the day who were all given an introduction to shooting, safety briefing, a lesson with a qualified BASC coach and the opportunity to ask questions on any area of the sport. It was smiles all round as everyone hit their first clay and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and getting to know each other. Days like this make a big difference to shooting and we have already discussed meeting again at the Northern Shooting Show. I am keen to do my part to contribute to the sport and with the very supportive work from BASC it was great to see the day come together. If you take your mate shooting tag me (@elliotrobertsshooting) it would be great to see you all out shooting and introducing people to the sport!
To the guys that came to the Intro to shooting day... I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, it was a pleasure to meet you all and look forward to seeing you all again soon! #Ericthegun (private joke) :D