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5 minutes with… William Asprey of William & Son

The founder of William & Son on shooting fir cones and wild boar.

William Asprey of William & Son

William Asprey of William & Son

How were you introduced to shooting?

By my paternal grandfather shooting fir cones in his garden. I really can’t remember what it felt like and I don’t think that I hit anything! At that time it really didn’t make that much of a conscious impression.

Where was your first shoot day and do you remember your first bird?

It was with my father at Well Barn in Berkshire and I was standing with him when he let me have the gun for part of the drive. It was all a bit rushed as I don’t think he wanted to share – I shot a partridge and then he took the gun back!

Who has been the biggest influence on your shooting?

My family and friends, and those that I continue to meet in the field.

What was your first shotgun?

A single barrelled folding Belgian .410 which I used to try and shoot squirrels and pigeons, and my son learnt to shoot with it as his first gun too.

What do you shoot with now?

A William & Son 12 bore, side-by-side. Very traditional!

Where are your favourite shoots?

Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales, Well Barn and Petworth in Sussex to name a few, but it is not only about the shooting as it is often the people who make the day. Having shot at these estates for a number of years it is knowing the personalities involved that makes the whole thing more welcoming and friendly, and you feel that you belong there. The keepers are all key personalities and Lawrence Cull at Well Barn, Dave Whitby at Petworth and Paul Simpson at Reeth are all friends.

And what about your bucket list shoots?

More driven wild boar shooting and more grouse anywhere. With wild boar I think it is the challenge of shooting from the ground at a running animal that may well go for you if you don’t get it right. It’s an added adrenalin rush and challenge which I want to explore more.

What’s the best piece of shooting advice you’ve ever been given?

It was from Michael Cannon in my early grouse shooting days and he told me to “shoot early to avoid disappointment”.

Who would you most like to share a peg with?

My son – what greater pleasure can I have as a father than watching any of my children enjoy similar activities and watching them succeed much more easily than I did?