The question on everyone’s lips in the shooting world has been – when can we go shooting again? There is still no solid answer, but the CPSA has updated us on the progress they have been making

credit: Archant

“When can we go clay shooting again?” has been asked so many times during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. We’ve been asking the same question, and although things are still uncertain, our governing bodies have been doing their bit to put target shooting forward as a sport that could easily implement social distancing if it were to re-open as Coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The most recent update came from CPSA CEO Iain Parker, who sent an email updating members on the situation. Notably, he states it is currently impossible to predict a date when we will be able to get back out onto the clay grounds and ranges, but he has been in touch with government to highlight the fact that shooting is an outdoor sport that could very easily implement social distancing in the event that shooters were allowed to resume their activity.

The full email is laid out below. It was sent to all CPSA members who had valid email addresses on record, by CEO Iain Parker on Friday 1 May 2020:

Dear Members,

First of all, I wish you and your families are safe, well, and coping as best you can in these difficult and unprecedented times.

As you know we have furloughed staff from CPSA HQ and the remaining team are working hard from home on everything from membership admin, the website and social media, Pull! magazine, and manning the phones for members’ inquiries and renewals.

We at the CPSA are working towards when we can start shooting again. This includes planning the late summer and autumn competition calendar, events such as The Game Fair and The Northern Shooting Show, and the plan we have to run a Key Workers Cup charity competition series in support of the NHS and Emergency Services. More on that to follow in the coming weeks.

One question that is asked on a daily basis by both grounds and members is ‘when do you think we can shoot again?’ In the current situation it’s impossible to answer with a precise date. I believe it’s not just a question of when, but also under what conditions, we will be able to shoot again. With that in mind I wanted to update the membership on recent communication I have had with our government and ongoing representation for our sport.

Recently there were several articles in the press regarding the possibility that golf courses and fishing venues were going to be allowed to open under a review and easing of lock-down restrictions. The reality is that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is reviewing all sporting events. As CEO of the CPSA I have written to Minister Oliver Dowden proposing that clay shooting should be considered alongside golf, fishing venues, and other outdoor sports being considered. In addition, I have written directly to Prime Minister Boris Johnston and Cabinet Minister Michael Gove. I have had confirmation from the ministers’ departments and the matter is under consideration. I have also worked with the NRA and BSSC who have sent a letter to government from BSSC Chairman and MP Jonathan Djanogly representing target-shooting sports.

The proposals and argument we have put forward is that clay target shooting is an outdoor sport, in generally remote self-contained locations where the current social distancing guidance can be followed. With some grounds, shooters, and CPSA Board members I have discussed ideas that could be implemented and presented those to the ministers. My special thanks to two of our best known and most successful shooters Richard Faulds MBE and George Digweed MBE for their support and input in my letters to government.

Proposed measures could include managing the number of shooters at a ground at any one time, limited access to clubhouses, and squaded shooting with caddied referees so no one is touching score cards or buttons. I pointed out (and included detailed diagrams to demonstrate) that some of our disciplines such as DTL and Sportrap already have strict layout parameters that exceed current social-distancing guidance.

In addition, I highlighted the mental and social benefits of being able to shoot again in a safe and controlled way. Of course, I added that clay shooters are safe and responsible members of the public, so adhering to some additional guidance at grounds in order to allow them to open again would be widely supported. Lastly, but importantly, I expressed the commercial argument for grounds, coaches, and the sport’s trade such as gun, clay, and cartridge companies who are being affected by this lockdown.

We have to recognise the situation we are all in from a health perspective, and the CPSA would not support opening up grounds again and potentially putting staff and shooters in danger before the government gives clear direction and guidance. We are working with them on that guidance as they consider the easing of restrictions in the weeks to come.

As always, we thank our NHS, emergency services, and all the key workers who are keeping the country going and taking care of us at this time. I would also like to send my thoughts and best wishes to all those who have personally been affected by and continue to battle the Coronavirus.

I also want to thank you, the members, for your continued support of the CPSA. Stay safe and stay well.

Yours sincerely,

Iain Parker