Our new regular quiz where we ask a leading industry figure some daft and not-so-daft questions and find out a bit more about them.
Please tell us who you are and who you work for
My name is Lee Hurst and I’m the new Manager for Gunmakers Row here at The Game Fair, which takes place back at Ragley Hall from 23-25 July 2021. I joined The Game Fair at the beginning of October 2020 and although I’m the newbie in the office I’m not new to the world of events and many of the exhibitors within the Gunmakers Section will already know me well.
Business is very good! Like many companies Covid has meant we’ve had to adapt to working remotely for extended periods and that’s what we’ve been doing to ensure that everything continues to move smoothly towards our show dates in July. Even through these unprecedented times the uptake on exhibition stands has been continuous, including many new companies. Our exhibitors are looking forward to the summer and there’s a real sense of positivity with the roll out of the vaccine.
Up to anything new?
The Game Fair team has been working hard to put some exciting new features in place which mean exhibitors can reach our audience 365 days a year. The Game Fair Society, The Game Fair Magazine, our Trade News and the Game Fair Shop, all of which are available to exhibitors without additional cost—this is included in the price of exhibition space. This year’s show will see the new Trade Pavilion which is backed by Gun Trade News and the Gun Trade Association and also a dedicated Optics Village.
On the work front 2021 is looking very exciting indeed! On the personal front I’m currently working towards an ELR .22 rifle build, but I am having problems with getting hold of certain components, so it’s taking a little longer than expected.
Do you shoot? If so, why? And what?
Yes, I’ve been shooting for over 40 years now. Learning to successfully harvest rabbits before the age of 10 was the perfect introduction into the sport. Over the years I’ve taken part in a wide range of shooting disciplines from IPSC pistol shooting before the handgun ban, clay shooting, game shooting, vermin and pest control, hunting, stalking and a good day on the pigeons is some of the best shooting you’ll ever have.
It’s perfect for me to be able to take those pigeons and whip up a tasty meal in minutes; I have surprised my new colleagues with my cooking already!
Favourite gun I own? My Bergara B14 HMR chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. It is simply outstanding! Favourite gun I’ve ever owned? That’s simple––my Tanfoglio P40 Combat chambered in .40 S&W. For me, nothing will ever top action shooting with full-bore pistols.
Shooting has given me some fantastic opportunities over the years. I’ve been able to visit some amazing places, spend time shooting with some very interesting and often famous people. It’s carved out lifelong friendships and if it wasn’t for shooting I wouldn’t be here, working for The Game Fair and managing Gunmakers Row.
Aside from shooting, what are the other loves of your life?
Football. I’m a life long Manchester United fan. I loved playing and once that was over went into coaching.
Which other fieldsport/shooting businesses or organisations do you most admire, and why?
The Country Food Trust produce food pouches made from pheasant and venison that they distribute to those living below the poverty line. The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust are there to help and support keepers and their families if times get tough. Both organisations are doing amazing work.
What’s the biggest threat facing shooting, in your opinion?
For as long as I’ve been shooting there’s always been some threat from one angle or another, but I personally feel that there is an increasing threat to shooting sports coming from within the community itself because of the type of things that are often posted across social media platforms.
If I’m looking for product information then social media is the first place I go––I can access all the information I want anytime any place. It’s a fantastic for that! However, when hunting images, without context are posted and then get into the hands of the mainstream media outlets things are often reported in a very negative and incorrect manner.
Self regulation is increasingly important for anyone involved in fieldsports. What can the government do to support the industry more?
Shooters in the UK are spending over £2.5 billion a year on their respective sports. Two thirds of the British countryside looks the way it does because shooting is involved with its management and almost two million hectare are managed for conservation as a direct result of shooting. Those are just three facts with massive numbers attached to them. That’s a huge loss to the economy if it was lost. Not to mention the reduction in biodiversity and wider environmental impact we would see without it.
What’s your favourite shooting read?
Man-eaters of Kumaon, written by Jim Corbett who was a hunter/naturalist. The book tells of his experiences in the Kumaon region of Indian at the beginning of the 20th century when he was hunting man-eating Bengal tigers and leopards. One big cat had been responsible for 400 deaths and Corbett often used himself as bait to lure cats to him. It’s a great read!
And the best bit of kit you ever bought?
I’ve probably got a best bit of kit for each type of shooting I take part in, but overall I think it would have to be for a combination of two things that work together. Thermal imaging and digital day and night vision. Individually they’re fantastic, but combined they’re a game changer.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself or your business that we might not know…
Before the handgun ban I held the club record for a Virginia Count stage. I posted a time of 2.17 seconds for ten shots into the “A” zone. Not quite Jerry Miculek skills, but still quick.
If you could only eat one kind of soup for the rest of your life, what flavour would it be?
I thought there was only one flavour of soup… lunch flavour!