I started the year with a joint clay shooting lesson for my husband’s birthday. We had both shot years ago and after hanging up my eventing colours, selling my horse and moving from Lancashire to Yorkshire we were looking for an outdoor hobby that we could enjoy together. I booked us a cracking weekend with shooting at The Wild Boar Hotel in Windermere and we’ve never looked back!

We’ve managed to shoot pretty regularly at our local ground, Coniston Shooting Lodge; since then. I’ve had some really good tuition there and even attended a Chelsea Bun Club ladies day which was great fun. I met other ladies that are shooting regularly and I’m looking forward to another ladies event later this month.

There have been times where I have felt nervous because holding a gun can sometimes feel daunting. There are also times where I have felt frustrated, knowing what you should be doing and actually being able to do it are two different things but I look back to all the years I put into riding and I reckon with good tuition and a bit of support those things can be overcome.

I applied for my shotgun certificate at the Northern Shooting Show in May. The process was easy and to be honest I was lucky that the licence was returned quickly. The cost of the GP report was disappointing at £75 each on top of the licence fee but it seems as though there are little in the way of guidelines for the charges for those reports.

It would be nice to see the government supporting such a popular sport as clay shooting by helping us get licences in a more affordable way.

However, licence in situ my wonderful hubby secretly picked me out a lovely little gun from Northallerton Shooting & Country Pursuits. Andy, from Northallerton, was really helpful in making sure the gun fit me and helped me get set up with the basic kit.

Although it isn’t cheap to get started, after years of standing the cost of eventing it wasn’t so bad and I’m now set up with a lovely little Lincoln 20 gauge. I know there is a great debate about whether ladies should shoot a 12 or a 20 gauge but the 20 suits me really well. It is comfortable and light and short enough for me to feel as though I have control so I’m hopefully going from strength to strength.

We have had great fun this year and I’m looking forward to more of the same into 2019. My husband has been a great supporter, offering me tips and enthusiastically celebrating every clay I hit, although the pressure is on him now as I’m getting better and we have a little twenty-five clay wager on for Valentine’s Day next year!

I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!


Kathy O'Connor

Kathy has been part of the BASC marketing team since 2008 and worked within the Ladies Shooting team since its inception in 2015. She enjoys clay and airgun shooting.

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