My journey in to shooting and creating Spent Shells
The start to my shooting journey? Let me set the scene for you…
I can only describe my current state of dress to resemble a female version of Arnie – camo’d from head to toe, cartridge belts over each shoulder and one step away from face paint!
Armed with a new boyfriend, a gun anf a terrier we set out for him to teach me the basics of shooting.
All I’ve heard about for the first two months of our relationship is his hunting and shooting, how safety is paramount and that you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings. I’ve learnt the gund, the calibres, the difference between rifles and shotguns, how important accuracy is and of course how to dress a plethora of animals.
So, with all this learnt and a new dress code we are now on some of his permission, him noting the legal boundaries from roads and pedestrian pathways, and ready to get the gun out.
He said it was going to be quick but I was still suprised!
Bob, the 300 year old terrier knew his job and ran straight into the hedgerow 50 yards in front – cue a very surprised pheasant flying straight out and a barrage of “aim and shoot…AIM AND SHOOT!”
Well, I did.
A mix of emotions swelled but I was proudest that night eating my own food, completing the whole process and letting nothing go to waste.
That day transformed my views on meat and hunting forever.
Fast forward to now and we live in the heart of Northumberland, on an eco farm with our two feral children. Although I have always lived in the country we had no introduction into farming until we inherited a family farm at 25…a lot to learn and feet first in the deep end!
We started with blackface sheep (stubbornly feisty buggers with too. much headgear for us novices) and a small mixed herd of cattle. We now have a solid flock of Texel x ewes and Hereford x with a menagerie of pigs, horses, turkeys and Guineafowl, most of which are on the extreme side of free range!
Shooting has forever been a part of my husbands life, starting his first syndicate at the age of 15, then allowing me to ruin all his fun from the age of 20! It’s a small family shoot with strong ethics on taking home your quarry and no waste…I was hooked. The full circle was, and still is, so satisfying to me, knowing where my food is from and the life it has led.
I started with a rickety old 20 handed down from his grandfather who was also a gun dealer in Northumberland and although I found the 12’s easier I stuck with the 20 up until now as my go to choice.
This led to the initial start of my business Spent Shells, making baubles from plucked feathers and cartridges keyrings with my daughter and gifting them to family members.
Within the first year we had a product range of 30 odd items, had won Best Rural Start Up business and had a magazine front cover! I was overwhelmed to say the least.
Spent Shells now supply wholesale to over a dozen shops throughout the uk, specialise in wedding packages and have a stock list of nearly 70 items (minus variations). We visit all the largest regional fairs and love using these platforms to educate others on why we do what we do and how we source.