The shooting itself
During the safety drill, as well as being told what you can and can’t shoot, you’ll also be reminded of the signals to look and listen out for on the day.
Obey your host, and the keeper, entirely. Follow all of their instructions. It is their job to make everything as safe as possible for everyone, and your responsibility to help that happen.
Before loading your gun, check both barrels are absolutely clear. Make certain, too, that you have the right bore cartridges for the weapon. A 20-bore cartridge will slip down and stick in a 12-bore gun. If you fire into that, you risk an explosion which could split your gun’s barrels and take off a finger.
When you close your gun, always keep the barrels pointing down, and bring the stock up to meet them. Never, ever raise the barrels to the stock.
When walking, always break your gun, and ensure the barrels are pointing earthward. Even seasoned shooters’ guns have been known to go off unexpectedly, and every year there are accidents caused by carelessness.
If you hand your gun to someone else, you should always unload and break it. Similarly, if climbing over a fence or style.
Only ever shoot when you can see clear sky around and behind the bird. You should never shoot towards woods or hedges, as that’s precisely where the beaters could be.
If in doubt, don’t shoot.