'I have been hunting since I was 8 years old, and it was my father who introduced me. He flew a hawk at the time when we first hunted together'. A lot of you might relate to Rachel when she explains how she started hunting. Fathers still play a big role introducing their kids to hunting. However, Rachel’s father didn’t know his little 8 year old huntress would become one of the world’s best advocates for the passion they both share together.
Dave Carrie, Rachel’s father, has seen how his daughter has not just convinced a PETA model to join her when she hunts, but he has also witnessed how Rachel has been able to carefully build a bridge between 2 opposite worlds: vegetarians and hunters. She has found the common language between the hunting industry and the rest of the world by writing her book called Game & Gatherings: The Cook Book, which will be out on the 4th of November but is available to pre-order now.
'Social media can be a great tool for us, in your case, Andrea, you connect with people who are not familiar with shooting through fashion, I connect with outsiders through food', says Rachel. She also explains the great quality there is in game food in opposition to what we usually find in supermarkets.
'In the UK lots of people think you have to be a farmer’s daughter to be able to hunt, or that you have to own land', but she denies so by stating she was not born into that: 'my dad was just working class, and he worked hard so we were able to go hunting as a pass time, and a way to put food on the table'.
Rachel is a huge advocate for the hunting industry, and we see that when she takes the time to answer questions from her followers and tries to explain who hunters really are, 'as opposed to the killers that some people say we are'. But the problem is when people don't ask, and make the assumptions, so Rachel has a system in which if people ask her questions related to hunting in a polite way, she will take the time to give them information and help educate them, but if they are rude, she just blocks and deletes them.
Rachel states she is her own role model as she comes from a line of very independent and strong women like her grandmother, so she thinks it is better to carve her own path, than having other people or role models to follow.
Rachel also gives us her secret to combining motherhood with running a business and hunting, and she says that the key thing is to learnt to make sacrifices: whereas in her 20s she liked to party, as she grew older, she sacrificed the time she liked to spend on her own things for her true passions and work. She also relies on her partner to be able to combine hunting with work, and highlights the importance of having support from her family to be able to do this.
What people don’t know about Rachel is her engagement and commitment with the environment, to the point that she is an environmental consultant by profession. Rachel finds that a lot of her expertise combines with hunting, “it goes hand in hand” she says.
One thing that surprises Rachel is the amount of people who think that her job is to hunt. The reality is very different, Rachel has been involved in projects to clean up canals and beaches and turning waste plastic into furniture for example.
Regarding women in the shooting community, as a piece of advice to those who are looking to start hunting, and especially with clay shooting, Rachel encourages participating in clay shooting competitions, as in her opinion, in this sport, you climb from the bottom to the top by participating in competitions. 'Everyone started at the bottom, so the best thing is just to go for it and not be afraid!'.
Moving onto her book, Rachel claims that hunting is her passion and as a result, food became one too, so she started posting a few of her food recipes on Instagram and the response from her followers was fantastic. People started to ask for more recipes, and it was good to also reach out to people who are outside of the shooting community.
Rachel believes that food is a common language for all and something we can all relate to, so
2 years ago she decided to start her writing adventure, however, Rachel had to put the project on hold as her father had a stroke, so she had to step into the family business and take care of her dad, which tells us how committed she is to her family.
After talking to Rachel, I must say she is not just a pretty face you see on TV and Social Media, but she is also very intelligent, adventurous and most importantly, has a lot of common sense when she talks about the problems there are in our niche, so I strongly recommend her book, especially for those like me, who would like to improve their cooking skills and eat healthier.
All the best,