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Glossary of shooting terms

Airgun Gun discharged by compressed air or gas
Artificial Target Clay or card target used for shooting competitions or practice.
Antlers Pair of bony outgrowths on the head of a male deer
Bag Total number of birds or animals shot in one day/session
Beater Person who flushes wild game
Bullet Single projectile fired out of a rifle
Cartridge Metal (rifle) or plastic (shotgun) casing containing propellant charge and projectile
Clay pigeon/clay Disc of pitch and chalk thrown into the air as a target for shotgun competitions or practice
Close season Dates during which a quarry species is protected by law and may not be shot
Code of practice Set of rules by which the shooting industry regulates behaviour
Country Sports Sports carried out in the countryside, such as shooting and fishing
Cull To kill selectively (especially old and weak) animals, to maintain the health of the herd
Decoy A dummy designed to lure birds, especially woodpigeon, within shooting range. Also refers to a pond used for trapping ducks
Deer Stalker Person who approaches deer without being noticed in order to shoot selected animals
Driven (shoot) Form of sport in which game birds are flushed over the standing Guns
Estate Land over which farming, forestry and shooting activities take place
Estuary Tidal area where a river reaches the sea
Fieldsports See Country Sports
Flight Movement of pigeon or wildfowl at dawn and dusk between resting and feeding areas
Flightline Paths in the sky routinely taken by birds to move between roosting and feeding areas
Flight pond Area of water into which wildfowl drop to feed and roost
Flush To rouse game
Game Species of wild animals and birds deignated in law and hunted for sport and food
Gamekeeper Person who rears game birds for release into the wild and manages their habitat
Ghillie A hunting guide, particularly in Scotland, who accompanies shooters or fishermen
Gundog Specially bred and trained dog for locating, flushing and retrieving game
Gun A firearm or, when Gun is spelt with a capital G, the person using a shotgun
Hanging To suspend meat so that the flavour matures
Head (of game) Number shot
Hide Place of concealment blending into the natural environment
Hunting The pursuit and killing of a selected wild bird or animal for food, sport or management
Inter-tidal Area covered by water only at high tide.
Lamping Night shooting of pests and predators using a powerful spotlamp
Open season Dates during which quarry species may be taken legally, also known as the shooting season
Over-and-under Shotgun in which one barrel is on top of the other
Pest Animal that damages crops or wildlife,  or represents a threat to health
Picker-up Person who retrieves dead and wounded game with the aid of gundogs
Plucking The removal of feathers from a bird destined for the table
Poacher A person who kills or takes game belonging to another person without permission
Predator An animal which hunts for food
Prey An animal hunted, or captured, by another for food
Rearing and releasing The act of breeding game birds for release into the wild
Refuge A safe haven for wildlife where human activity is restricted
Rough shooting A less formal version of walked up shooting (qv) usually involving a small group of Guns opportunistically shooting whatever legal quarry presents itself.
Shot The lead or steel pellets contained in a shotgun cartridge; may also refer to the person using a gun
Side-by-side Shotgun in which one barrel is alongside the other
Stalker See deer stalker
Sustainable harvest The amount which can be shot without detriment to the population as a whole
Syndicate Group of people who shoot together, sharing the costs of a day’s or season’s sport
Trap Mechanical device to capture legal pest and predatory species. Also the device which throws clay pigeons
Trophy (head) Head or full body of an animal or bird preserved for display by taxidermy
Twelve bore The bore of a gun is the diameter of its barrel; for shotguns this normally varies between a 28 bore (the smallest) and a four bore (the largest) The most commonly used size for sporting shooting is a twelve bore.
Velvet Furry covering on the newly formed antlers of deer
Vermin See Pest and Predator
Walked-up Form of shooting in which the shooter flushes the quarry, usually using a dog, as he walks through cover
Wildfowler Person who shoots ducks and geese on the foreshore

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