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.
Tom Lister has worked at Night Master for over seven years now since he left school at 16. His role within Night Master is described as ‘sales manager’, although a day in the life there involves many different things.
On a usual day you’ll find him advising customers on the phone whether it be end user or trade, dealing with email enquiries, processing and packaging orders, uploading new products to the website and keeping Night Master’s social media up to date.
Business is great, with the launch of our new Night Master NM1 hunting light range and more colour combinations added to the Trident TRI-LED hunting lights.
We are shipping-out more stock to traders than ever as it’s approaching our busiest time of the year—it’s definitely clear that there’s an increase in shooters’ demand for our new products and it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day! But as a close team we always manage.
Since Covid has affected a large percentage of the gun trade, we are helping our traders where possible, so for the first time ever we’re offering a dropship service to all of our traders to try and help boost their online sales while their stores are shut due to restrictions. This means that they don’t have to hold stock as we can send their orders on their behalf.
Up to anything new?
Always! Here at Night Master we’re forever thinking about the next product and what shooters actually want. We are awaiting the arrival of our newly developed QMD mount, which stands for ‘Quick Multi Directional’.
It’s a simplified version of our popular fully adjustable mount and allows the user to quickly adjust the beam direction of a scope-mounted lamp or IR illuminator.
Tony and I spent a lot of time developing, prototyping and testing before committing to mass production. Despite the QMD mount being easier to use than the existing adjustable mount, it will actually be cheaper, with better margins for our traders.
We have recently moved to the lovely Yorkshire Dales and have immediate access to testing ground for our new developments. And to make things even more exciting, in 2021 Night Master will go fully worldwide with stockists in many more countries.
Do you shoot? If so, why? And what?
Yes from time to time. I started shooting when I was younger and remember my first trip out shooting rabbits with my dad, Steve. I enjoyed the sport and I have carried on since, spending many days and nights shooting with him (like father, like son they say!).
We even took a trip out to see friends in Australia a few years ago, which involved a very fun day and night shooting on an immense amount of ground. Although nowadays you’ll either find me night foxing with a Pulsar Digex night vision riflescope on a 22.250 using the Night Master NM1 SL IR illuminator, or roe stalking with a .243 or .30-06.
I am a big fan of roe stalking. Lamping is fun but stalking is a completely different ball game—the adrenaline starts pumping when I look down a riflescope at such a magnificent beast after a long stalk.
I tend to leave the gralloching to my dad (and steer clear of the blood and guts) but by far my favourite part is getting the finest venison steaks fried up with some garlic and mushrooms, knowing that I have taken it from field to fork.
Stalking is also an opportunity to get the dog out with me. Jess is a cross between Labrador and German Wirehaired Pointer. Her nose is incredible. She is always able to track down shot quarry if we’re unable to find it and she absolutely loves it. Believe it or not, she also has a great talent of retrieving birds from the water during game shoots.
What are the other loves of your life?
Besides shooting and working in the trade, I’m a huge fan of motorsport! On weekends you will usually find me tinkering with my track car (a full track spec VW Polo GTI with 300bhp, a roll cage and Porsche brakes).
It’s definitely a love/hate relationship with different problems always cropping up but once you get back onto a track day and push your car to the limits, it’s worth all of the blood, sweat and tears. Otherwise, you’ll find me in the gym or hiding away in my bedroom gaming on my PC during the cold and dark winter months.
Which other fieldsport/shooting businesses or organisations do you most admire, and why?
I’m a huge fan of the British Deer Society, I feel that everything they are doing is absolutely incredible with supporting the education, research and management of deer across the UK.
We work very closely with the BDS, especially the Yorkshire branch who we supply with the latest observation tools to help with all of their duties. We have organised quite a few demonstration evenings to show members of the BDS the latest gear.
What’s the biggest threat facing shooting today?
I would say social media. As good as it is for promoting our Night Master brand and interacting with our customers, it can be a dark place. It seems that more and more shooting related images are making it onto groups and forums, which are being seen by people who are not fans of hunting—they may then develop an opinion of hunting based on these images.
We have to make sure that we are more careful than ever with the information we put out there, as it’s very easy for some people to take a post or an image out of context.
What can the government do to support the industry more?
I feel the government could ‘normalise’ shooting more through education and helping to develop an understanding. Explaining to people why shooting is important would be a good step forward.
It seems that it is always a fairly hidden and frowned upon sport for much of society. Seeing shooting show events being cancelled in the past due to differing opinions is sad to see, as it’s damaging to the economy.
This is where it would be good for the government to stand in and help support the trade, keeping these events going, as some businesses rely on the shows.
What’s your favourite shooting read?
To be honest I don’t read much, as the days are that busy. Once I get home I tend to distance myself away from the shooting side of things (unless I’m out shooting with my dad), although I do like to read reviews on the latest products that we sell in the shooting magazines.
Besides a quick flick through the latest mags, the book ‘A Foxing Life’ by Mike Powell is a personal favourite.
And the best bit of kit you ever bought?
It’s not fair for me to say ‘bought’ as it’s one of our own products, but by far the best bit of kit I’ve used for a long time is our new NM1 SL IR illuminator. Infrared illuminators can be one of the trickiest bits of gear to buy, as there are so many variations and different options.
I’ve found that no matter what night vision device I’ve used with our new IR, the performance is incredible. The current foxing set-up I use includes the NM1 SL IR mounted onto a Pulsar Digex—the clarity that I’m getting past 300 metres is very impressive; probably the best I’ve ever seen on a digital NV device.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself or your business that we might not know…
All of the development is done at Night Master HQ in the Yorkshire Dales. We all get involved. Even my dad Steve, who does the field testing. Being an experienced shooter for a number of years, he gives us an honest opinion to help us with improvements than can be made before we finalise any of our products. We’re a small team but this doesn’t limit our creativity and ability to develop great products.
If you could only eat one kind of soup for the rest of your life, what flavour would it be?
I don’t eat (or drink) soup, sorry! Jaffa Cakes on the other hand, I’m your guy.