It’s around now when we see the weather go from alright to, well, pretty bad. The evenings draw in, the windy chill gets colder and we see the first glimpses of frost on our windscreens! As we get further into the depths of winter, we can see some extremely chilly and wet conditions. So, when you’re out turning those clays to dust, it’s important that you wear the right clothing and use the right equipment. So read on, as The Big Shoot take you through some of our recommendations of what to wear during the colder months.
Arms & Hands
To combat that cold, just remember one word – layers. Layering up will keep you warmer and you’ll still be able to move freer compared to wearing thick layers. It’s important to keep your hands warm, too. So invest in some quality gloves which don’t disappoint in the grip department so that you have control over your gun, even when your hands are frozen!
If the gloves just don’t do the trick then perhaps it would be wise to look for some hand warmers. Available on the market are the solid fuel types or the disposable ones. Despite both doing what they say on the tin, the disposable ones are suitable to slide into the back of a glove so that your hands will be toasty all day long!
Eyes & Head
In this country, it’s unusual to associate the sun with winter months. But it’s beneficial to have some shooting glasses on you at all times, because you just don’t know when that sun will pop out and say hello. This is especially important in winter as the sun will indeed be lower in the sky, leading to increased glare. Peaked caps are your friends in this situation, folks. Be sure to keep that glare out of your eyes by keeping a hat on you when you think the sun is going to show its face.
When choosing sunglasses for the winter months, it’s important to avoid any bright lenses – such as yellow ones – in favour of dark lenses, which help your eyes to relax. If you’re unfortunate enough to encounter rain whilst wearing your shooting glasses, you must remember to avoid the temptation to take off your glasses in the rain. If the rain doesn’t keep off the lenses, remember to carry a small towel at hand to wipe them when possible. A peaked cap is also advisable as this will help to keep the rain off the lenses. As for your ears, you can rest assured that you’ll be handed some ear plugs or ear defenders at the shooting ground so that you can leave the ground with your hearing still intact!
Getting caught in the rain isn’t uncommon when out shooting clays. So in the winter, it’s obvious to say that you should have a waterproof on you at all time. Yes, even when you think it won’t rain – it probably will. Wearing a lightweight, waterproof jacket underneath your shooting vest (if you’re wearing one) will aid in keeping you dry without hindering your gun mount and technique. These specially-designed vests are padded on the shoulder where the gun sits which helps to minimise recoil.
If the weather really does require a jacket, is it okay to wear one in order to keep you warm and dry. Just one thing – make sure it has plenty of room around the arms so that you can swing through with the gun.
While there are no official rules on what to wear when concerning what to wear when clay pigeon shooting – unlike driven shooting where tweeds are encouraged – it’s advisable to wear loose-fitting trousers, so that you can move easily. If you’re concerned about getting your legs wet, you could always purchase a pair of waterproof trousers – you can pick these up pretty cheaply from many outdoor shops.
Mud is almost guaranteed during wintertime, so it’s best to be prepared before you end up ruining your favourite pair of shoes out on a shoot one day! We would advise wearing walking boots or Wellington boots (don’t forget the socks!). Remember, most of the time you’ll be shooting on uneven ground, so it’s advisable to wear something sturdy on you feet.
So, there we wave it, folks. We know that this isn’t a complete list, but it’s a good place to start if you’re planning on busting a few clays this winter. If you already have the gear, why don’t you test it out at one of our UK & Ireland clay pigeon shooting grounds? What gear would you recommend a beginner shooter if they were planning on shooting clays this winter? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.