As National Ladies Shooting Day is taking a back seat this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, we asked some shooting instructors and keen Shots for their advice and tips
Just over 35,000 women in England and Wales hold a shotgun/firearms certificate and official figures show that these numbers are growing annually.
This year women are having to forego the get-togethers of National Ladies Shooting Day although many clay grounds have of course recently reopened for business. So as long as you follow government guidelines you’ll be able to go out in the company of other female Guns.
We asked a shooting instructor, a former England female shooter and some keen Shots some questions. Here’s what they said.
How can women start shooting?
Tony Bracci, Bisley deputy shooting manager and Sporting Gun contributor: “Ladies’ days are good for an introduction to clay shooting. Having a friend who shoots can be a help and a hindrance. It’s good that you can have someone you know to go shooting with and talk to, but a lot get intimidated as a novice to go shooting with a seasoned Shot. You need to manage your expectations and make sure you enjoy it. Friends of similar experience sharing a coaching session can be very productive.”
Lady Melissa Percy, founder of Mistamina: “Just start! I was lucky that my parents taught us from an early age and always made it a fun activity and not a chore. However, I know some people worry that starting to shoot can be daunting, especially as a woman, as you can feel outnumbered. I’ve always found the shooting community to be very open and welcoming with so many interesting people to meet.”
Former England shooter Dianne Wade of West London Shooting School: “Booking in a lesson will start you in the right direction. It’s nice practising with your husband /partner, but sometimes they may not be the best instructor!”
Georgie Fenn Schöffel Country: “Like any sport, you’ve just got to throw yourself into it with all the enthusiasm you have and see what happens. For gameshooting, it’s always best to join somewhere local to begin with and go beating. Ladies have been shooting for many years now and you should never feel intimidated whether you’re out on clays or shooting game. The shooting community is very welcoming and made up of people from all walks of life. The whole sort of elitism that shooting is synonymous with is a thing of the past, I can’t stress enough how friendly the shooting community truly is.”
Lucy Brice of Le Chameau: “I started shooting when I was about 16, going out shooting rabbits at dusk in a battered Land Rover with my brother and his friends. I was fortunate that my father had an old 20-bore which I shot with, and he taught me how to stand correctly and about safety and cleaning the gun. He had the stock altered so it was a lady’s fit, and I love it, it fits me perfectly now. I always go to my local clay ground before the start of the season, and I often have a lesson to get my eye in. I find after several months off, I always need some help remembering what to do, and there is an excellent female teacher who offers some fantastic advice and fills me with confidence before my first day.”
My husband has got me hooked on clay shooting and now wants to buy me a 20-bore because it’s lighter…
Q: Over the last three seasons, more of our syndicate members have switched from 12-to 20-bore guns. They’re nice and…
20-bore or 12-bore?
How can women deal with recoil if they find it a bother?
Are there any shooting skills women have that men don’t?
Tony Bracci: “The main difference with ladies – in a lesson they usually listen and act on coaching given, rather than men who can take some persuading!”
Dianne Wade: “No different skills, but our instructors always tend to prefer to teach ladies as they say they listen! I think this is because we’re conscious of hurting ourselves.”