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BDS Range Activities and Covid-19

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From the NHS, Home Office, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and DEFRA.


We are currently working and living through unprecedented times. This guidance is compiled from the latest advice from the above organisations and is provided to enable the writing of a range activity Risk Assessment managed by the British Deer Society (BDS) branches in a Covid-19 environment.

Any activity on the range will be BDS only. This guidance should be added to the standard Range Risk Assessment to maintain the uniqueness of each range. On completion, they should be sent to all participants in planned activities. Participants must acknowledge receipt of the Risk Assessment and that they have read and understood the necessity of such measures. This must be submitted by participants prior to the range activity it should be emailed in and not handed over on the day. All participants must be booked in for the activity prior to the event taking place. Given numbers, it may be appropriate for the Chairman / Secretary and or RCO to allocate time slots if there are a limited number of lines which to shoot.

 This supplementary guidance is an interim measure and will be updated on the basis of guidance given. It may be that if infection rates rise, then range activities will cease, or if conditions should improve, they will be reviewed and relaxed.

Due to recent reported spikes and localised lockdowns BDS is not supporting Branches in holding range events in these areas. To ascertain if you are holding events in an area with a lockdown or spike please check the PHE or your local authority website. If you are in such an area do not run the event.

BDS Range Activities and Covid-19

This supplementary guidance may be viewed cynically by some as an unnecessary addition and hindrance – however, as a Society, we have to ensure best practice at all times and take the lead in setting “professional” standards. At the more profound level, we need to do absolutely everything to protect the health, welfare and wellbeing of members.

Best practice:

To protect everyone, you should not be involved in any range activities if you are self-isolating, belong to a vulnerable group or anyone in your household is showing symptoms or self-isolating. Anyone wishing to participate in a BDS branch range day as an officer or participant must sign a copy of the attached declaration to say that they are not an extremely vulnerable person as defined by the NHS. These should be submitted with the range register.

When using a vehicle to make a journey to the range cars should only be shared by members of the same household.

Participants of range activities must check in with the RCO who will complete the range register on their behalf. There will be no signing in, the RCO will sign participants in and out of the range in line with current practice.

All necessary safety checks will be made by the RCO and members at two metres and strict social distancing must be maintained at all times.

The RCO will brief participants on Covid-19 procedures on their arrival at the range in addition to the normal range briefing. Members should sit in/by their cars separate from other members until the RCO calls them forward for their allocated time slot to use the range.

Members must maintain social distancing at all times. In adverse weather, members should stay in their cars rather than shelter in communal areas.

You should ensure that you are regularly washing your hands if there are facilities for 20 seconds or more, or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser when you cannot wash your hands.

Some ranges have access to a toilet or club house. Members should use the facilities and wipe down all surfaces with a sanitising cloth after use.

Where facilities are available to make tea – these should not be used communally. Members should bring their own refreshments.

Prior commencement of shooting, targets should be set out by the RCO or safety officer and collected by the same individual after shooting. This will minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Targets will be collected for shooters.

When setting and collecting targets nitrile gloves must be worn.

At all times the RCO must ensure that social distancing is maintained. No close 1:1 coaching should take place. At the end of firing, bolts should be removed and the shooters will step back from the firing point to allow the RCO to clear the rifles safely.

If a 2-metre distance cannot be maintained, due to a misfire or illness on the range, then the RCO and safety officers should work side by side, rather than face to face if possible. They should wear nitrile gloves, masks and face shield. You should follow the guidance regarding handwashing and/or use alcohol-based sanitisers to ensure safety.

Chris Brooks and Morris Charlton

For the latest Covid19 advice visit

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