A latecomer to the sport, Moya Cherwayko not only swings a shotgun proficiently but also has founded a luxury shooting accessories company
Finding a good instructor was key for Moya Cherwayko. Now she not only competes, but has also founded a luxury shooting accessories company.
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I was unaware of shotguns and sporting clays as I grew up but as soon as I was exposed to the culture I was hooked. My neighbour introduced me to clay shooting four years ago. At the time I was sceptical and nervous, because I feared I would not be able to hit a thing.
On the morning of my shooting debut, I got all dressed up and put on my only pair of flat boots, a studded-toe, blue, Christian Louboutin. We headed to West London Shooting School, where I had my first lesson with Chris Castle. After missing a few targets, it was suggested that I close my left eye. I couldn’t believe it – I started hitting the clays. This gave me an uncontrollable high and I promised myself that I would repeat the experience.
A few months later I resumed my lessons with Chris and within a few months I found myself taking the competency test and being encouraged to apply for my shotgun licence. Having the Metropolitan Police coming to your home can be slightly daunting but the officer was helpful and made several recommendations regarding a gunsafe and gun transport.
Buying my first gun was a big deal for me. I made several enquiries to figure out what would suit me best. In the end, the gun I learnt to shoot with was a Beretta 690 Field III. I was feeling euphoric after learning how to use it well, despite finding it a bit heavy when I was firing a hundred rounds. However, three months passed and I was swinging through everything. At this point, I was encouraged to buy a 12-bore shotgun and made a beeline for Chris Potter Country Sports in Kent, where I ordered my first Perazzi High Tech. I had the good fortune to visit the factory in Italy, where I met Mauro Perazzi, and my eyes feasted on some of the most beautiful pieces of art.
My shotgun licence arrived a couple of days after my birthday and I convinced myself that I should be a big girl and go somewhere and shoot without an instructor. I went to Bisley’s Long Siberia and was the only female amongst a massive group of men. Everything was intimidating: the tall trees; the advanced shooters popping everywhere; the unpredictable flying clays. But since then it has turned out to be a place of great solace and I have invited other ladies to join me there, too.
FINDING LIKE-MINDED WOMEN
I found clubs a bit testosterone driven, so I embarked on a journey to find like-minded women. I joined the Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club, where Laura Everton greeted me with a warm smile and a big heart. She hosted some fabulous events at which I made friends. I even won a few rosettes, which I’m very proud of. I completed the Silver Feathers course at Holland & Holland, where I won one of the places on a ladies game day.
So far, the two most significant and scary parts of my shooting journey have been setting up my luxury, British-made shooting accessory company, Howes & Wayko, last year and joining the CPSA. I joined two years ago; for eight months, I kept procrastinating and talking myself out of participating in any competition. It was only when my membership was coming to an end that I built up the courage to give it a go, and I am now a regular. Competitions are a bittersweet ride; never before has anything made me feel this way. In one competition you achieve total fulfilment, in the next you want to discard your gun and never see a clay again.
Being able to enjoy a bit of game-shooting has been the icing on the cake for me. It has been a delightful experience to discover the elements of the tradition, including the meeting for breakfast, gun buses – a shock to the system at first but now something I look forward to – the camaraderie, the beautiful dogs, the scenery and the jokes during elevenses.
Shooting has been a life-changing experience. You need to change your mindset and be focused if you want to be good at it, and be willing to learn. I have learned to dress for the elements, too. Treating myself to a pair of Le Chameau boots and a nicely fitted raincoat was one of the first lessons I had to learn. The shoot doesn’t stop because its started to rain.
TOP TIPS: Find a good coach and only listen to that one person. You can only attain one outcome, yours, so don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Find a group of people who are encouraging or shoot on your own. Rome wasn’t built in a day, take your time and you will get there.
For more on Howes & Wayko, visit: howesandwayko.com