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Meet Will Hetherington editor of Shooting Gazette

Will Hetherington’s job as editor of Shooting Gazette gives him the opportunity to extol the rapture of the rifle in the great British countryside, ably assisted by Ella, his beloved black lab. From exploring the traditions of hunting to engaging young people in the sport, Will has his finger firmly on the pulse… or should that be trigger?

What is the best part of being the editor of Shooting Gazette?

I love everything about editing magazines. Whether it’s dealing with raw copy from any of our experts in their own field, being out and about meeting readers and advertisers or getting stuck into the final days before press day. There is an enjoyable tempo in specialist monthly magazines, from the early planning stages, building to a crescendo each month on press day, and then starting all over again. But beyond that it’s extremely satisfying to see the results of everybody’s hard work land on the doormat every month. We can always see the fruits of our labour and when that coincides with working in a field you are also passionate about then, well, what could be better? Our readers are passionate about spending time in the field and we are passionate about reflecting everything they love about the traditions and thrills of enjoying the British countryside in all its glory.

What’s your favourite kind of shooting experience?  
The main type of shooting we cover is driven game shooting, which is an extremely sociable activity involving anywhere between 30 and 40 people on any given day. And all of these people will love every minute of it. The act of pulling the trigger is really only a fraction of what makes a shoot day special for everybody involved. It’s a traditional pastime but it’s far from stuck in the past and to sum it up, I can think of no better way of enjoying some of the finest countryside in the world than donning the tweeds and spending a cold winter’s day among like-minded people who are all loving every minute of it.

For people who have never gone shooting, but want to give it a go, where is the best place to start?
There are plenty of fantastic clay shooting grounds all around the UK. So it depends where you live but I would suggest the best plan would be to find a local ground through a recommendation and go have some lessons. I have witnessed thousands of people enjoy the special experience when they hit their first clay and it almost always results in a giant grin.

 What are the challenges of being a magazine editor?
I have been a magazine editor for 12 years and the biggest challenge in that period has undoubtedly been dealing with the digital revolution and translating what we do on paper to online. I think every publishing company in the world has been facing the same issues on this and it’s a constantly moving target, as technology develops so rapidly. We have a very strong Facebook and Twitter following and we find this extremely useful in terms immediate contact with our followers. We also have the digital edition of the magazine and the website so we are available on many platforms; that would have been unthinkable when I was on the NCTJ graduate fast-track journalism course at Sheffield College in the late 1990s. Back then I was more focused on achieving my 100 words a minute T-line shorthand than anything online.

Do you use a gun dog and what breed?
Yes we have a six-year old black Labrador, Ella, who is a wonderful retriever and not just on game. During the summer months she has an alter ego as Chief Ball Finder at the cricket club when the ball goes into one of the surrounding fields of wheat or barley. And we have just welcomed a new black lab pup into the house too. Bracken is now four months old and has been a real injection of life for us all. She is too young to have done any proper training yet but that will start this summer. She is actually Ella’s niece so we have high hopes.

How do you relax once an issue is completed?
That’s easy – take the dog for a walk and let nature work its soothing magic. Followed by a pint in a comfortable pub.

What can subscribers expect from future issues? Why subscribe?
Subscribers can expect the usual high standard of writing from our wonderful team of experts in their own fields, from gunmaking and gamekeepering to gundogs and shooting advice. And of course we continue to use the best photographers in the business to truly reflect the sheer beauty of the British countryside. We are passionate about shooting and I think that shows in Shooting Gazette each month, so why not subscribe and ensure it lands on your doorstep every month without fail, and save yourself a few quid too?

If you love the thrill of the hunt subscribe to Shooting Gazette  

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