I would like to talk about introducing more young girls into shooting. Around the UK the percentage of females shooting is on the rise, especially in the clay pigeon category. At our school we have a keen amount of shots but most are boys. Last year we had a few girls in the IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) competition but this year I’m really hoping the number will grow. So, how can we make the change? I think we need to talk to more young girls and introduce them to this exciting sport.

I would like to introduce you to Sophie Herrmann who won the IAPS U13 category in 2018. She is so inspiring that I decided to interview her to find out how she became so interested from an early age. Here are some of the questions that I asked her.

Q: What got you into shooting and how old were you?

A: Well, my dad always loved shooting and he was the one who got me into it. Our whole family are very interested… I started off with a laser gun pointing at a screen, age five, but fired my first real shot at eight. After that I got trigger freeze, but overcame it at the age of ten. Then I was off!!

Q: Do you have any friends who are girls that also shoot?

A: Yes, my best friend Catherine also shoots and we learnt together. We entered charity competitions and progressed from there. And then of course IAPS last year. I now am lucky enough to practise twice a week at school.

Q: What advice would you give to any young shots?

A: If you are a girl, don’t be put off at the thought of it being a very male-dominated sport. Girls are just as good! There is often a best girl category in the competitions but I do not agree with this, we should all compete alongside one another.

Q: Some girls are concerned that shooting has to be about killing something, what do you think about this?

A: I think shooting in general does not have to be about that. You can always give clay pigeon shooting a chance instead where nothing is killed and it is great fun. It’s also great to be part of a team and work together.

Q: If I was a young girl with no experience and I wanted to get started what is the best way forward?

A: Well you search for local shooting schools on the internet and go and see them. Often they will hold local events too. You can book a lesson where they will provide all the equipment and if you enjoy it you can take it further.

Q: So, if you aren’t keen on shooting there are other important jobs like beating or picking up – do you recommend these and do you enjoy them?

A: I would definitely give these a go – the best parts about shooting, and what interested me, is just being out for the day with my working spaniel. Plus it is good exercise! It’s great fun to go picking up with your dog with your friends for the day.

Thank you so much Sophie for your time and your ideas. I am now so looking forward to being in a team with other girls in my year and hopefully entering some competitions this spring. I’ll keep you posted!

Sophie receiving her medal at the IAPS competition at West London Shooting School

Jemima Idiens

I’m ten years old and was thrilled when I was picked as one of the Young Shots Journalists. I live in Berkshire with my family and our two black labs, which we have trained to be gundogs. At school, I am very passionate about writing. When I was seven I started my own book blog, which I really enjoy doing. I also love singing, drama and all sports, especially running and hockey. Ever since I was little, whenever I have looked around the shooting schools, a lot of men and boys surrounded me, so I think we need more women and girls involved. I have been inspired by my brother and my dad to get into shooting. They kept telling me to have a go, so I did. My whole family loves to shoot and spend time in the countryside. I will be writing again soon!

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