One person says: I wish I was normal, or at least I wish I could be seen by everyone else (and that means non-shooters) as being normal.
When meeting people, I never hide the fact that I shoot and hunt. In fact, I often make a point of specifically mentioning it so that I can promote the sport, show non-shooters how great it is, and potentially introduce them to shooting or eating wild game.
But I recently read of one doctors’ surgery charging £200 for an FAC letter – not because of the man-hours involved, but because the surgery thought people should not be shooting. I also recently met the mother of one of Scotland’s top pistol shooters, who could not persuade the village hall committee to let her set up a shooting club. And she was on the committee itself!
I’m sure we’ve all experienced at least some sort of negative attitude from other people when we’ve been out and about enjoying our sport. That often comes from ‘normal’ people, those just walking their dogs, rather than out-and-out ‘anti-shooters’.
But now, perhaps, there is a glimmer of hope. Young Olympian James Miller won the BBC Radio Surrey Elite Young Sports Personality of the Year, and international silver medallist Emily Shawyer came second in the Carmarthenshire Young Sportswoman of the Year. Both had been up against athletes from ‘normal’ sports.
I dream of one day seeing XYZ Carpets – as a made-up example – as a sponsor’s label on a shooting jacket. Perhaps now Sky is no longer sponsoring cycling, it might look at the next up and coming sport. Could it do for shooting what it did for cycling? Fingers crossed.