Sunday 03 December, 2023

Farming Matters: Nicole Moore - 'Let's start being proactive, educational and welcoming'

As a shooting enthusiast, I feel privileged to be able to shoot several different species of quarry as a hobby and I take my role within the community seriously.

clock • 3 min read
Farming Matters: Nicole Moore - 'Let's start being proactive, educational and welcoming'

Having the power to use a .243 rifle to hunt for my own food certainly comes with a massive responsibility to use it safely. After all, as Uncle Ben says in Spiderman: "With great power comes great responsibility."

One of my goals is to improve the perception and knowledge of the field sports world for those who are not yet a part of it. There are many different roles within our community, not all of which involve picking up a gun, but all of which contribute to improving and maintaining our wildlife habitats.

As a working-class girl from a city council estate, I was, of course, highly unlikely to discover field sports on my own.

I was introduced to the sport about 14 years ago with a day on the clays. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and following on from this I did everything I could to get out and shoot.

Fortunately for me, the invites came thick and fast and I learned so much with each outing from many different people, all with different ways of doing things, from different backgrounds and varying levels of expertise.

The thing we all had in common was the love of the sport. The attention to detail when packing your gear ready for the outing, the peace which descends on you as you sit and wait in the beauty of nature. The other wildlife you have the privilege of seeing up close while you wait, such as barn owls, weasels and red kites.

The contented feeling of knowing you are about to fill your freezer with healthy, delicious food; wild food which has lived a good life due to the conservation efforts of others in the field, who ensure even our wildest habitats remain safe for the quarry to continue breeding successfully.

There is a lot of talk about getting more women into shooting. I am keen to see more women in our sport, but it is not my focus. I have always been the only woman on a shoot day and been treated as just another human who likes to shoot - and that is how it should be.

What I really want is to normalise our sport. It means getting more non-country folk to be aware of what we do and why, helping them to understand the importance of our role as countryside guardians and how it can directly affect them, like the price of products increasing on supermarket shelves.

Whether they choose to pick up a gun or not is their personal choice, but accepting that what a shooter does is, at its roots, hunting. And hunting and foraging is what the human race has done since time began.

It is all well and good talking about the role our sport plays in the rural community to those who are already in it, but we need to be reaching those who are not. Let them see our world through our eyes, the people who live it.

Let's start being proactive, educational and welcoming with our approach in the future and see what a difference it makes.

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