I didn't particularly want to write this but the editor said I have to otherwise I'm apparently just some dude on the internet imposing his tumultuous thoughts onto you poor folk. I'd argue that doesn't change regardless of this narcissistic rambling, but hey ho. So, get ready for the most painful few hundred words I have ever had the displeasure of writing.
Since I was able to read, ‘The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II’ was my staple bedtime reading (on rotation with Harry Potter, of course. I’m not a total freak). The planes and boats were cool, but what I always found myself returning to was the section on small arms. I read it until I could regurgitate it. That was when my interest and, frankly, fascination, for firearms began. It was also coincidentally when my parents started to worry about me. Strange.
From there I climbed the proverbial shooting ladder, starting with Nerf guns, my local airgun club and then my secondary school smallbore target club. I fondly recall sneaking out of the school library during free periods to go plink on the indoor range with one of the teachers (who shall remain nameless to protect their career).
I then started clay shooting and twisted my dad’s arm into applying for a licence with me so he could purchase guns and ‘supervise’ my shooting (ironically, he, to this day, has never fired a gun).
Then I heard about practical shooting and things really upped a notch.
When I started to get competitive with my practical shooting, I realised the frankly non-existent budget of a school student was not going to cut it amongst the shooters running custom Benellis. To my eternal gratitude, Blue Fieldsports have supported me since I was seventeen via guns, ammunition, match fees, travel costs, training ranges and trips to America and Czech Republic. I became the UKPSA 2019 Junior Shotgun Champion, achieving an A grade (using a Stoeger M3K, I hasten to add. A prime example of training trumping spending), as well as the Hampshire Junior English Skeet Champion.
Then came medical school, meaning shooting had to take somewhat of a backseat aside from my university’s clay shooting team. However, after three years, I decided to leave medical school. I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BMedSci in Medicine in 2022 and I currently work with Blue Fieldsports. In addition to target shooting I am an avid deer stalker and game shot, and when not doing something shooting-related I play polo and train polo ponies. If my younger self could see me now he would definitely give me a high five.
The editor and I want to start this commentary to give shooters a representation and positive image that we believe is dangerously lacking, but I will explain this more in a separate piece. This is not to say that there aren't some fantastic publications and people out there doing awesome things for our community; we have just decided that instead of armchair nit-picking (as is all too commonplace in the shooting community), we will create something exactly how we would like to see it done. This is evidenced by the name: H.U.N.T. Humour, Unity, Nature and Target. We seek to consolidate all shooting sports, whether that involves game or targets, as well as relevant conservation, legal and political efforts. Add in a splash of humour and a lump of scientific rigour and you've got yourself a winner.
As time goes on, we plan to include a variety of formats including breaking news, longer opinion articles and satirical pieces, amongst others. We hope this is enough to keep your caveman and cavewoman brains satisfied when you are not out there making big metal tube go bang.
Not to beg or anything, but we would really appreciate your support in this endeavour. So go and tell your friends (if you have any); share it on Facebook; email it to your mum and dad; print it and stick it to the village hall notice board (preferably right over the advert for the vegan dog food store). Just help us create something cool for you.
Also feel free to send in your thoughts, opinions or any suggestions you have. I’m not saying I’ll care about or even read them, but you’re welcome to send them.