When Is Shooting Season in the UK?
In Britain, grouse shooting season runs from 12 August to 10 December. Partridge shooting season starts a little later on 1 September and runs through to 1 February; and pheasant shooting season starts on 1 October, finishing on 1 February.
In Northern Ireland, the dates are slightly different. Grouse season runs from 12 August-30 November; partridge season from 1 September-31 Jan; and pheasant season from 1 October-31 January
How Loud Are Guns?
Exposure to loud noises above a certain decibel level can cause pain and damage hearing over time. A sound measuring 140 decibels (dB) is likely to cause pain, and all guns exceed this level when they fire. A small .22-calibre rifle produces about 140dB with each shot, whereas bigger rifles can hit as loud as 175dB.
To put this into context, a live concert will tend to be 110dB and a plane taking off 100m away measures at approximately 130dB. In short, guns are very loud! So if you’re planning on going shooting this season, you must make sure you’re protecting your hearing.
Hearing Loss Due to Gun Use
People who use guns often are much more likely to suffer hearing loss than those who don’t. In extreme cases, people have been known to lose their hearing after just one shot of a gun, where they haven’t taken steps to protect their ears.
In particular, gun users can be susceptible to high-frequency hearing loss, meaning they struggle to hear high-pitched sounds. This type of hearing loss usually leaves them able to understand some of what is being said, but it can sound like a person is mumbling to them. When shooting, the ear closest to the gun is also more at risk than the other ear.
How to Protect Your Hearing During Shooting Season
Thankfully, it’s really easy to protect your ears when shooting – and it’s as easy as wearing earmuffs or earplugs. If you’re getting ready for shooting season this year, you have plenty of options for earplugs. Shooters often want to hear some sounds for accuracy, and lots of products that will protect you from harmful decibel levels while allowing you to still hear what you need to.
Ultimate Ear’s shooting filtered plug is ideal for clay shooting, where you need protection from loud noise but still need to hear the trap release and beaters.
But if you’re an avid shooter who makes the most out of the season, there are more advanced options that might be a better fit for you.Ultimate Ear’s electronic CENS DX5 plugs offer hearing protection in five different modes: Clay shooting; game shooting; indoor range shooting; wireless/general; and hunting. Each mode is optimized for each specific type of shooting. For example, in clay mode, the program reduces wind noise, while protecting against prolonged loud noise from other shooters nearby. In contrast, game mode activates at the point of the shot, reducing the output of the sound so the loud shot is less abrasive and damaging.
Whatever type of shooting takes your fancy this season; remember to protect your hearing. Whether it’s just one trip or a whole season of activity, your hearing should come first.