As part of our shooting campaign we wanted to broadcast the good work undertaken by the shooting community across the country.

The theme this year was ‘first timers’ and we asked you to send us your stories to help tell the public about the sense of community, the love for wildlife or the boost to the local economy that shooting generates and we got some lovely entries – thank you to everyone who sent in their story and took part.

After some intense judging we have chosen our winner and highly commended runner up. A huge congratulations goes to our winner Hannah Campbell who sent us a wonderful story about why she has a #loveofshooting. Hannah has won herself a framed copy of our Shooting Seasons poster. A congratulations also goes to our Highly Commended – Jessica Smith for her lovely piece.

Countryside Alliance’s Head of Campaigns Liam Stokes commented: “We had some excellent entries this year, but Hannah and Jessica’s stories stood out. Hannah’s ladies’ days are such a great example of how we can all do more to encourage our friends to try shooting. The judges were delighted to read about a newcomer so keen for others to experience the joys of getting into shooting.

“We were also delighted to read Jessica’s story. It is brilliant to read about a love of shooting and a love of wildlife in someone so young. The judges felt that Jessica will be a credit to shooting for years to come.”

You can read both of their stories below.

Winner: Hannah Campbell

Why she enjoys shooting:

From a farming family, I have been around shooting and country sports all my life. As a child I loved fly fishing and by the age of 8 or 9 i was very enthusiastic and fairly competent at it. Shooting never really came to me though, because the girls always stayed at home to man the farm shop and prepare lunch and dinner for the guns, beaters and their families. Only in the last 5 years or so have i taken the plunge and started to shoot -both clay and game – and I now have my shotgun certificate, 3 guns of my own and my very own ladies day on our family farm shoot. I love the camaraderie, the sense of challenge and accomplishment and the opportunity to get out and about in the countryside and appreciate it in a way i can’t always when i am working as a sheep farmer. I love the feeling of achievement when it goes well and the desire to improve when it does not.

We do not have paid days on the farm, it is only family and friends so very relaxed with none of the trappings of the big estate shoots. My ladies day takes that to the next level, with friends who have never picked up a gun before but would love the chance of having a go, to friends whose husbands shoot and they want to know what all the fuss is about and some who have been with us each year since we began – this year will be number 4! Most ladies will be accompanied by a chaperone for safety, instruction and as a confidence boost. I can guarantee nervous faces over coffee in the morning will have turned into broad grins by the time we sit down for our meal in the evening. Even is the bag is small, everyone would have tried their best and really entered into the spirit of the day. I love shooting!

Highly Commended: Jessica Smith

Why she enjoys shooting:

Over the Summer I trained my young cocker spaniel, Fennel, for taking beating on shoot days. I also helped my dad, the Gamekeeper, rear and hatch his pheasants and partridges. When the shooting season came about I was very excited to be taking Fennel out beating for the first time, and this was just before I turned 12 years old. At first Fennel was a little bit naughty but we are both getting better and learning more all the time. I love being out in the countryside with her and have seen lots of wildlife on the shoot days. I have seen leverets within centimeters of me, Woodcocks and even very excitingly a barn owl. All the beaters and pickers-up on the shoot are so nice and jolly and everyone helps each other out. I have now done 10 amazing days beating with Fennel. There is nowhere I’d rather be than out in the woods and the fields with my spaniel doing what she was born to do, surrounded by other smiling beaters and their happy dogs.