Swinton WiS

Redressing the balance

We report from two Women in Shooting events organised by BASC.

In July this year, the Home Office released its annual statistics on shotgun and firearm certification in England and Wales, and the facts are plain to see. Only six per cent were female between April 2022 and March 2023, of the 516,500 people who held a shotgun or firearm at that time. This is a figure we must tackle head-on as a shooting community. It is an issue that BASC has been addressing for several years and we have recently revitalised our approach.

Modernising our language

Just under ten years ago BASC established the highly successful Ladies Shooting platform which, at the time, provided one of the few opportunities for people to attend women-only events; our regional ‘ladies’ events have been immensely successful and helped to introduce thousands of women to shooting clays and game, deer stalking and wildfowling.

Over the summer BASC Ladies Shooting was rebranded to BASC Women in Shooting. The change of terminology both modernises our language and helps to align us with recognisable sporting disciplines such as football, netball and of course, competitive clay shooting at the Olympics. From ferreting to the foreshore, BASC will promote women enjoying it all. To celebrate this rebrand, two new member-exclusive events were created – a Rifle Range Day and a Simulated Macnab. Although catering to slightly different audiences and with different goals, both days were resounding successes.

Women in Shooting event at Bisley

The Women in Shooting Rifle Range Day at Bisley aimed to educate and provide practical experience in rifle shooting. Attendees had one-to-one tuition and could shoot a range of stationary and moving targets using a variety of calibres.

As well as practical experience, attendees had education sessions to understand rifle safety and its links to target shooting and deer management. At lunchtime everyone was treated to a cracking BBQ serving venison burgers and wild boar hot dogs, helping to reinforce the importance of wild food.

Women in Shooting event at Swinton Estate

The Women in Shooting Simulated Macnab, which took place on the stunning grounds of the Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire, is the first event of its kind (that we are aware of). Attendees shot clays as simulated grouse, fired rifles at steel deer targets and had fly casting lessons before catching their trout for lunch under the expert tuition of Marina Gibson and the Northern Fishing School guides.

Yet again, there was an education element plus a superb game BBQ, which consisted of the Macnab elements; bourbon marinated grouse, freshly caught trout and venison pizzas, among other delicacies. The food was phenomenal and showcased how versatile wild food is.

The emphasis for the day was the cross-pollination between different field sports disciplines. Some women had never picked up a fishing rod, whereas others were proficient in fishing yet had never fired a rifle.

BASC Women in Shooting has set out to work alongside other women’s shooting groups, including in the provision of educational opportunities. To find out more, head to the BASC Women in Shooting page