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Meet the face
behind the posts

Hi, I'm Nicole and I started shooting around 15 years ago when I moved to the countryside. I had a go at clay shooting at Sporting Targets in Bedfordshire, and I absolutely loved it! As an ex-pro dancer I had great brain-to-body coordination, but I soon realised my hand-to-eye coordination  definitely needed improvement. The competitive side of me was satisfyingly frustrated with my missed shots that day, but I loved the smell when I broke the barrels to reload. Plus, the nerd in me really enjoyed learning about the gun and cartridges I was using. I've not looked back since!

shooting girl with an afro foraging collecting wild garlic - hunting and foraging blog uk

Soon afterwards I started Wildfowling (I hated it the first time as I didn't realise how cold I'd be), driven shoots - on a wealthy private estate where I embarrassed both the guns and beaters with my lack of etiquette - pigeon decoying (where I learnt just how much damage they do to crops), and roost shooting (where I learnt I needed to improve my snap shooting skills).

 

After several years of receiving deer carcasses from friends to butcher for my own consumption, I realised it was about time for me to do my own hunting of that quarry too. So, about 2 years ago I started on rabbits and deer, following highly experienced friends on VERY early morning stalks and learning what I could, eventually joining a local rifle club, getting my own stalking permission, followed by my Firearms certificate (FAC) and purchasing my own rifle (Tikka T3 .243).

Joining several clubs and syndicates, I realised that this community was the most welcoming I'd ever encountered. Sure, I got some curious looks when I walked into the Wildfowling club AGM, where I was faced with 80 other members who were all white working class men (not all of them old mind you!) or when I turned up at a driven shoot faced with 9 guns who were all white upper class men - but as soon as we chatted and they realised I loved shooting as much as they did (and that I could banter with the best of them) everything else was left at the door.

In-between all of this, I read what I could (when I had time - I'm also a mum), and went out with many different people, some who shot as a hobby, some who were farmers, and some who were experts in their field; instructors, gun shop owners and game keepers. With 4 acres of land to tend to at home, I also began growing my own food and my interest in conservation, foraging and food consumption grew - I'm still learning but I can't believe the knowledge I have now compared to 15 years ago! It's definitely knowledge that should be shared; too many in the shooting community are stingy with their advice and their time, but if we don't share and educate others how will this community stay alive and grow? Who will be our nature custodians and wildlife managers in the future? That's why I'm sharing my stories with you, shooting and non-shooting alike.

But don't just take my word for it! Check out these great resources below to find other sources of information about shooting and conservation, some of which may suit you better than what I have to say - remember, you have to find what works for you...

shooting girl with an afro vegetable patch - hunting and foraging blog uk
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