I began shooting much later in life than many of the amazing women I’ve met so far in the industry, and only took up the sport in late 2014. I was born in the London suburbs and not raised in a rural or hunting family, although my late father was a keen clay shooter and successful tradesman running his own engineering company for over 30 years, and as a young girl I was always most happy when outdoors and walking in the woods.
My father’s dying wish was for me to take up shooting and take care of his guns, find my passion, and to set up my own business doing something that I love.
I joined a local shooting club and found a great coach, who encouraged me to try Game Shooting. Being a vegetarian at the time, since my teenage years, this was a big decision for me, and I had to rethink my dietary habits, as I couldn’t ethically shoot an animal if I wasn’t going to eat it!
After some consideration and lots of training and encouragement from my coach, I started eating meat again and joined a shooting syndicate. Immediately, I knew I loved it! From getting dressed in my tweeds and breeks, to the shooting breakfast, meeting some fantastic characters, and making great new comrades in the field, to standing alone on a cold November morning with my Dads gun waiting for the pheasants to fly over, I had never felt so free and empowered! I also felt healthier and more energised for eating meat again! I loved that I could take my quarry home and cook for my family knowing exactly where the meat came from.
For me game shooting lead to an interest in hunting. I wanted to understand the reasons behind hunting and why we do it, from deer and vermin management in the UK, to bears and wolves in Europe, big game in Africa and the rest of the world. Still trying to find my passion and my business idea I remembered when I was young being most happy when outdoors, playing or walking in the woods, and collecting folders and folders of wildlife cards, indexing all the different species of insects and animals all over the world, and my teenage plan to be a marine biologist one day!
I began researching online and asking lots of questions to my coach and shooting friends, and gladly they shared their views and opinions with me.
I remember my late father telling me to invest in adventures not stuff, and to work hard to be the best that I could be at whatever my passion was. When the opportunity to fly to Argentina and spend a few days wing shooting doves arose, I remembered my father’s words and decided to join six other hunters for an Argentinian adventure.
I was the only Lady in the group, and the least experienced, but I was determined to enjoy myself and improve my shooting skills. My fellow hunters were of course real gentleman and made me feel part of the group. Our hosts at El Cielo Lodge, Cordoba were a welcoming family who branched off from one of the bigger and well-known wing-shooting outfitters in Cordoba to start up on their own. I was inspired by their strength as a family and the story of how they acquired the old lodge and all the work they put into renovating and setting up on their own.
Argentina for me was my first experience going off the beaten track and spending time seeing a country, its people, and its wildlife from a different perspective, not just as the usual holidaymaker! This sparked a longing for more adventures in wild places away from the normal tourists, and the inspiring story of the family in Argentina pulling together to run their own wing-shooting outfit and lodge only fuelled my longing and desire to set up my own business even more! I was starting to piece it all together…. what my passions are and the area of business and industry I wanted to work within.
In the Spring of 2017, I was introduced to Safari Club International and met some very interesting hunters from the U.K., one of them an amazing Lady Hunter herself and a former committee member of the old London Chapter of Safari Club International. I was like a child listening to campfire stories when she, and my new hunter friends, recounted to me their wild adventures in remote places. I wanted to understand and learn more about hunting big game and how it helps with conservation, and my introduction to Safari Club International allowed me to do this. With the support of the formerly active committee members of the old London Chapter, myself and a group of passionate hunters in the U.K. reformed the London Chapter of Safari Club International in August 2017, naming it SCI London, and have since been voluntarily working to support hunters in the U.K. and the work of Safari Club International and the Safari Club International Foundation.
My interest in hunting, its role in conservation, and my involvement with Safari Club International lead me to discover my love for rifle shooting. I joined a local rifle shooting club, completed my Level 1 Deer Stalking Certificate, and began deer stalking under the guidance of a great mentor.
As a single mother of two and owner of a young Cocker spaniel pup, my time was pretty limited. I was often rushing around last minute trying to source functional clothing for my deer stalking adventures from my local gun shops, and surfing online retailers paying lots of postage fees and sometimes having to deal with returns and exchanges when items were either not suitable or the sizing and fit wasn’t quite right.
I quickly discovered there was very little access to women’s functional and fit for purpose clothing in the U.K., although I knew the brands were out there! My research showed a growing trend over the last two decades of women joining the hunt, and from discussions with other Lady Hunters I knew. I discovered I wasn’t the only one frustrated with the lack of choice, sizes and availability. Many of us being fed up with going out into the field wearing men’s clothing, borrowing from male friends or just making do with what we could source locally!
Suddenly everything seemed to come together. I had realised my passion. I knew I was most happy and relaxed when I was outdoors enjoying nature with shotgun or rifle in hand. I knew that I wanted to do more of this, and I knew that I wanted to earn a living doing something that I loved, or at least give it a try! My business mind started to fire up and I began thinking about ways I could start up my own business and solve a problem for the many Lady Hunters that, like me, were fed up of going out into the field feeling far from stylish, or comfortable with a mish-mash of clothing they had managed to throw together, just so they can get outside and hunt. I’d had many cold and wet experiences from not wearing functional and fit for purpose clothing, and quite often felt pretty uncomfortable!
I carried out a little more research, and found that although there are many retailers supplying clothes for the traditional game shoot, and a few online retailers that supply a selection of clothing for outdoor pursuits, and style for country ladies, there was nothing specifically just for women who hunt! Sifting through the clothing rails and websites I found the women’s clothing was hidden amongst the men’s, selection of brands, styles and sizes were few and far between, and it just wasn’t easy to find what I needed or get the advice on fitting and functionality to ensure I was practically and correctly dressed, would stay warm or ventilated, and most importantly, dry!
Living a fast-paced life style myself I knew I wasn’t the only Lady Hunter who would be grateful for a trusted online store and one-stop shop to source all the clothing and accessories I would need for my wild adventures, with all the information on functional clothing, fitting notes and size guides, layering and technical advice on what’s needed for the type of hunt, climate or terrain I may find myself exploring.
Finally, I realised my passion, and had a vision, the light bulb energetically turned on! The idea for Lady Hunter was born, and I had finally found a way to combine my passion and set up a business that solves a problem for a small but growing community of female hunters.
I’ve been fortunate enough to receive the support, advice and encouragement from many brands, individual hunters, outfitters, and social groups in this unique industry that has depth and understanding for our roots as hunters, and who want to support the many women now hunting alongside their male counterparts in the U.K. and the rest of the world. I have been selective in the brands I want to start with, to give the best choice of functional and stylish hunting clothes for women. Always wanting to support anyone starting up in a new venture, and other ladies in the industry, I’m excited to collaborate with a stylish new Italian brand designed exclusively for women, and designed by a fellow Lady Hunter who has a similar vision to my own. In addition, I must add, that some brands represented in the U.K. have been so helpful and supportive recognising a gap in the market and finding ways to encourage and support me with the vision of Lady Hunter, and to those brands, and the individuals within who have spent the time to discuss this with me, I am most grateful.
There are some amazing brands out there now catering for female hunters, and I would love to supply as many of them as I can to offer the best selection possible. But as a start-up, I have to start small and see how it grows, after all… ‘from the smallest of Acorns mighty oaks do grow.’