Young Shots ‘battle’ the elements at BASC game day

A Young Shot in the rain

BASC South East regional officer Taylor Rikje-Pearson reports on a big day for the participants, and pays tribute to the work of the Normanhurst shoot in encouraging and nurturing the next generation of shooters.

We are all aware that the future of country pursuits rests with the younger generations, and it is the responsibility of all of us to encourage them and protect their interests for the years to come so that they are able to enjoy their chosen pursuit should they so wish to, as we have done.

Many syndicates and shoots up and down the country do just that, including the Normanhurst Shoot in East Sussex, under the leadership of shoot captain John Hill.

John is well known for his support and encouragement of our younger generations. Many a youngster has taken their first game bird on one of John’s shoot days, an experience they will never forget. Crucially, it is not just the shooting, as he also works to increase their knowledge and understanding of the countryside, habitat management, safe gun handling and respect for quarry. Also, once the game is in the bag, he promotes the responsible use of this valuable and nutritious food source.

Most years, the estate hosts a BASC Young Shots Game Day. They have done so for something like 17 years now. Many of the past participants have continued with an interest in the sport, and some have actually gone on to work in different areas of the sector. Many of John’s shoot members give their time freely to stand with the youngsters to guide them at these events and to form the beating line for the day.

A group of Young Shots

The most recent BASC Young Shots Day at Normanhurst was well attended, despite the driving rain and wind, with eight keen young Guns raring to go.

Lee Funnel, one of BASC’s accredited shotgun coaches, said: “I was fortunate and proud to be part of the day as just one of the coaches supporting the young shots as they venture and grow into the world of countryside sports and shooting.”

Despite the inclement weather, the team at Normanhurst put on a fantastic day and kept spirits high throughout.

Talking to the young shots who attended, they had a great time and it was wonderful to see them dressed up in all of their finery for the event. As well as there being some fantastic shooting, there were even more lessons learnt. The smiles on the faces were gigantic and there was an undeniable sense of pride among everyone involved.

Safe to say that the memories made by those young Guns that day were as happy as the ones that still reside in me and so many others.

It is no mean feat to organise and deliver days such as these but it is such a wonderful opportunity to encourage the next generations of shooters. My thanks go out to all those involved including the Normanhurst estate, the shotgun coaches and the beaters and pickers-up.

This article first appeared in the April 2023 issue of Sporting Shooter.