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Shotgun Manners 101...

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    My buddy had said over the phone that the associate he was bringing hunting with us was a Type A personality.

    After an hour or so hunting near, not with, this person, I had a hunch what the A stood for.

    He was the kind of senior executive that some refer to as hard driving, and others as a triple chrome-plated SOB. I favored Group II.

    Obviously, he thought he was alpha male, gave us orders and advice on how to hunt, and considered any alternate opinion as trash.

    And if I refer to Frankenstein as my mutt gun. that's one thing. If he makes a joke about guarding stagecoaches and sticking up liquor stores with it 10 minutes after first meeting, it's not something to endear him to me. He also dissed my friend's dog, a young one that needed polish and experience but was willing to please.

    The big thing though, was any flush was his. No matter if he was on the right and the bird went left, it was his. To make sure, some of his shots were faster than Marshall Dillon's.

    And if two of us swung on the same bird, he was ready to say, "I'm sure I hit that bird". This was doubtful, since he missed lots when he alone shot, but we let him have the birds.

    He teetered right on the line of being unsafe with some of his manuevers, and asked me to carry Frankenstein unloaded because non breaking guns worried him.

    I didn't. By the time we got back to our vehicles, I was doing a slow boil. Apologies the next day from my buddy helped, and knowing I'd never see his self important self again removed all the canker.

    To this day, I'd like to kick his whatever.

    And the point to all this?

    The man's ego and Testosterone fueled braggadacio can be passed over. The lack of manners and almost dangerous gun handling cannot.

    So, here's a few things from fields and range to look at.

    Don't hog the shots or game. If two shotgunners fire at the same quarry, the best thing to say after is "Nice shot" or "Your bird". Good manners will get you invited back.It's best to divide things up, so that the shooter on the left takes shots going to the left and some of the ones going up the center.

    When hunting,make sure you KNOW where the others are, and all the dogs. Don't shoot if you're doubtful.

    Let me repeat that. If in doubt, don't shoot.EVER!

    Know what's behind the bird. Taking a shot at a ringneck and sprinkling 6 shot on the Little Darling's Preschool field trip to farm country 300 yards away will not endear you to either the hunters nor non hunters in this scenario. In fact, it may get you locked up.

    And observe the Four Rules as if someone's life depend on them. It does.

    When dove hunting, skip the low shots. I've been sprinkled a few times with shot when some fool took a low shot, no damage. I did call the perps everything but fine, upstanding sportsmen.

    And on the range....

    Do not close the action of your gun until it's your turn to shoot.And, do not move from your post until all shooting is completed on that post.

    The common practice of some trapshooters resting the muzzle of their break action guns on their shoes still bothers me. Few of these folks seem to have limps, so maybe it's just the idea that offends my sensibilities.

    And when shooting on Post 5 at trap, turning to the right to go to Post 1 may keep you from clinking guns together with the guy from Post 4.

    When acting as squad leader at trap, wait until you get a signal from the new Post 1 shooter before continuing. When you're the new Post 1, give the leader a signal you're ready.

    Don't leave the line before everyone has shot their alloted rounds.

    And in either place, never criticize another's choice of shotgun, dog, togs, or vehicle.

    Did I miss anything?
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2004
  2. riverdog

    riverdog Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Dave, you are too gracious. There's nothing in the book that says you need to stay in the field with dangerous ???????s. I would have excused myself as soon as his true nature became apparent. Once his Trap shooter elitist persona showed itself with his remarks about Frank and pump shotguns being unloaded, my opinion of his character would have been voiced and I would have left the field to those needing to brown-nose. (I shoot Trap and the folks I shoot with could care less what you bring. One guy never brings the same gun twice; if he does it is a few weeks later. Another always shoots a Browning O/U but when we traded guns and he shot my 870, he still ran up a nice score.)

    As for the rules of etiquette both in the hunting field and at Skeet & Trap – you’ve nailed those that I recall. Most of them come from experience and general safety, and are easily learned; they should be common sense, but as we know that isn’t too common.

    Folks who throw insults at other folks, whether it’s their dog, their shotgun or their car have never been high on my list of wanting to see again.
  3. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Senior Member

    Jul 17, 2003
    north central indiana
    Being mainly a skeet shooter I personally don't care for when someone invites themselves into an alrready full five man squad. It not only slows the shooters down it also slows the next squad going out to that field. Our range usually has enough fields to handle all the shooters and there is no waiting list on the ranges for the most part. If i decide to jump on an outgoing squad, I'll ask them if they mind another shooter or if they are in a hurry to get done. I will not hamper them with another man on the squad and will wait for an available spot on the next squad.
  4. PJR

    PJR Participating Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    I think I've hunted with the same guy as Dave or at least a close relative. :rolleyes:

    This year I became estranged from a friend who I introduced to the shooting sports because he was inattentive in his gun handling and made excuses when safety infractions were pointed out to him.

    After he TWICE pointed a loaded shotgun at me in the field and I corrected him, he had the audacity to explain to me that I shouldn't have worried because "the safety WAS on." How I restrained myself from punching him in the snoot is beyond me. I won't shoot with him again.

    The bottom line: No excuses for bad gun handling. Everyone can make a mistake and if one is pointed out the ONLY acceptable response is, "I'm sorry and it won't happen again."

    Second point on manners: Please don't give pointers or shooting advice unless I ask for it. Yes, I know if I missed a skeet target I probably shot behind what I really don't appreciate is you announcing the fact to the entire squad. Unsought mid-round pointers on stance, gun hold etc. are not appreciated. I have a shooting instructor already and don't need another even if they are willing to work for free.

    Also, if I'm shooting a sxs with double triggers and a straight grip please don't lecture me me that my gun is wrong for clay targets or that shooting skeet or trap gun down is wrong. What I am doing is getting ready for upland season or checking out a potential purchase or seeing if my friendly gunsmith did what was expected of him.

    In return I will obey the four rules religiously, never offer unsolicited advice, be unfailingly polite and courteous and never say anything bad about your gun, your shooting stance or anything else. If you say something nice about my gun I will immediately offer you the chance to shoot it and won't take offense if you don't. If you run them straight I will be the first person to congratulate you even if we are in a tight competition.

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2003

    HSMITH Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I am old enough to know better but too young (or hotheaded maybe) to care. I'd deck his posterior acting self, the guy in the story. Been there and done that, life is too short, I am not going to put up with people like that. Most type "A" people when confronted mellow out in a hurry, the rest bleed just like you and me. If more people would just deck another man right in the mouth when he deserved it there would be a lot more people acting like decent human beings and a lot less type "A" behavior.
  6. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    North Central Florida and Miami Florida
    I can understand your slow boil. I don't think I would have lasted out the shoot with that guy.

    You may be preaching to the choir on most of your points on etiquette though. These admonishments were drilled into my young skull before I ever shot a firearm. I think most of our fine group is of like mind.

    Considering your experience with the Alpha dude, and experiences shared by a lot of us, there are many out there with guns, who were not as well prepared for life afield as they might have been.
  7. JNewell

    JNewell Senior Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    Land of the Bean & the Cod
    Must say that line cracked me up. :D

    Forwarded a copy to my 15 year old. This post says it better than the old man (this old man) could, certainly.

    Tks for this one, Dave! (Thanks for them all, of course... ;) )
  8. Okiecruffler

    Okiecruffler Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Del City, Okla
    You forgot a very important rule. Whoever invites a rectum along has to supply the shells for the next outing.

    As far as safety violations while shooting clays, we used to make anyone guilty of such a slip shoot with his pants around his ankles until he busted the next clay. Kept your mind on your muzzle and made you want to be a really good shot just in case you forgot.
  9. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Jan 3, 2003
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    I think Dave most of us gathered here are probably mindful of ''manners maketh man'' ....... both in the shooting scene and outside of it. Call it common courtesy if you will.

    These ''types'' however are I fear imbued with an unpleasant degree of selfishness ... mixed in with overall self importance too. My approach - whether newbie to a group or not ... is basically - ''do unto others ........'' ..... and that usually works well.

    The bottom line - and you have referred to this ... is and always will be .... GUN SAFETY ..... bad manners are (with difficulty) excused -- well, maybe tolerated!!

    But when muzzles swing your way and everything point sto ''could care less'' ..... then time for ''boot to butt'' ... if not literally then metaphorically at least!!!
  10. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Southwestern Ohio
    I agree. I have also got peppered a few times by knuckleheads on the other side of the field. So, now I only dove hunt with guys I know and hardly ever in an "Open to the Public" field. Doesnt mean I wont ever hunt with folks I dont know, just make sure we all are aware of the ground rules so to speak and eachothers location.

    During Quail shoots, we are always talking to eachother and letting everyone know where we are. I am always on the right side of the wash since I'm a lefty shooter. Keeps me from sweeping anyone.

    The rest sounds good.
  11. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Good Thread Topic!
    I'm enjoying the responses.
    Oh I started to post earlier but deleted...hit a nerve with me.

    Short version is I have my ethics,principles and safety concerns...etc., will just mention only 2 situations,one on a skeet field, and one before a hunt. Do NOT point a loaded gun at another , advance with trigger in trigger guard toward them- in my presence. I didn't have to present Mr. Commander...but I did stop an immediate threat. I mean I stopped it immediatly. Persons banned from range, and hunting with us folks. Still give me wide berth, either they know I don't forget, or the usual item on my person. I don't care either way.
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    Thanks, folks. A coupla things...

    First, I can suffer fools if not gladly, but jerks reach the limits of my tolerance quickly. My friend was a young corporate lawyer at the time, the place was owned in part by him, and Mr Personality was a big client. For my friend's sake, I reined in my choler.

    The hunting made Mr P easier to take. 160 acres of farmland enriched with some food plots and stocked in the summer with quail and ringnecks.By hunting season, they were as wild as natives and abundant. Even with Mr P hogging shots, we limited in 2 hours.

    And Mr P was never quite unsafe. He was an annoyance rather than a hazard.BTW, he shot a nice SxS and looked like a model from the Orvis catalog. I probably had on redneck/biker togs and toted Frankenstein. Obvious differences in lifestyle and approach.

    I hunted with other clients of my friend here and in general they ranged from acceptable to darn nice folks. One rotten apple and all that.

    A different jerk who was unsafe on another occasion took a whipping and had his rifle confiscated by yours truly.

    Y'all bring up good stuff.

    As for preaching to the choir, this is a 101 thread and what we veterans may know HAS to be mentioned to newbies.

    Let's see what else comes up on this....
  13. 308win

    308win Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    It was your choice to stay in the field with him!
  14. Majic

    Majic Mentor

    May 3, 2003
    Over the years I have learned that when shooting with a new group you should pay close attention, smile alot, and keep your mouth shut.
  15. ysr_racer

    ysr_racer Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Happily in So. Cal.

    If you see somebody doing something dangerous and don’t say something, you’re not doing your part.
  16. Smoke

    Smoke Senior Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Bosque County, Texas
    Granted. But you're also opening yourself up to assualt charges.
    And I hardly think that is the high road. Ignore fools and gunsels (especially the type A folks) that really burns them up.

    Most Type A people are reasonably intelligent folks and some can be fairly perceptive. COld sholders, hard looks, and if necessary a good dressing down will solve the problem, if he doesn't feel welcome, he won't come back.

    While a good right cross to the pie hole would be extremely satisfying to the giver, and might even be warranted to the receiver, it usually causes more harm than it fixes.

  17. Cavtrooper

    Cavtrooper New Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    ..and will that be St Dave or St David???
    You have far more .. more .. more everything than I do. I'd have been gone. And I would have expalined to my friend later.. and ask that I never have to be within 20k of the knuckle-head again.
  18. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Minnesota - nine months of ice and snow...three mo
    Dave -- Another excellent post. Thank you!
  19. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 19, 2002
    Dave, reminds me of when I was a kid and my family was hunting with a certain unsafe jerk. My dad pointed out to the man that we were in the middle of nowhere, and if he had a "hunting accident", it would be years before the body would be found. :) Got his attention, thats for sure.

    I've been nailed by other hunters. No real damage done, except for one shot that hit me in the back, and this is while I was on top of a haystack kicking bales down to a trailer. I was shot by somebody hunting across the road. I don't know what the load was but we were picking pellets out of my back for a little while. Not pleasant at all.
  20. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    308, so it was. Again, I hung in there for my friend's sake. If Mr P had been clearly unsafe, I would have spoken once, then left for the truck carrying his shotgun as well as my own on second offense. Life's too short for unnecessary risks OR jerk behavior.

    Majic, that applies to older groups also.

    ysr, too true.

    Smoke, this guy was too much in love with himself for subtleties. Kicking his butt would have been satisfying, but you cite the downside. Still, he made my knuckles itch. a common psychosomatic disorder among old Rollers.

    Cavtroop- No claim to sainthood, not even Eagle Scout.

    Ready, you're welcome.

    Corriea, count your blessings. If you had faced the other way things could have been MUCH worse.

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