Sharp shooting farmer teaches ladies to be markswomen and attracts 23,000 followers to her Instagram page

·6-min read

A sharp-shooting farmer who is influencing ladies to become markswomen is right on target attracting 23,000 followers to her daily updates on Instagram.

When she is not busy helping to run her family’s arable farm on the Durham and Sunderland border, Tania Coxon, 24, is teaching gun-toting women to shoot.

She said: “The farm has been in my family for generations and I always knew I wanted to be a farmer.”

Tania shoots pheasant when they are in season. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania shoots pheasant when they are in season. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “It’s busy but so rewarding. I have to shoot pigeons as part of our pest control, which is what gave me the idea to host events to teach other women how to shoot.”

So tied to the land that she turned down a prestigious sports scholarship in the USA to lead the sixth generation of farmers in her family, for Tania, there could never be another career.

She said: “I’m the sixth generation of farmers in my family, I’ve lived here my whole life, my dad has lived here his whole life, my grandad too.”

Tania hopes her Instagram will educate people on farming life. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania hopes her Instagram will educate people on farming life. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “I work on the arable farm and I’ve got an events business as well.

“I live with my mum and dad at the moment, but I’m currently renovating an old farmhouse on the land and, hopefully, that will be finished in the autumn.

“I went away to boarding school for a while, because I was very into sport, so I went to a specialist sports school down south.”

Tania hosts shooting events in her free time. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania hosts shooting events in her free time. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “I had a scholarship to play lacrosse in America, which was when I realised there was a bigger priority for me.”

Turning down the scholarship, instead, Tania attended the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, returning to the farm and putting all her knowledge to good use once she graduated.

Tania, who has a boyfriend she prefers not to name, said: “My normal working day usually starts at 7.30am. We have two employees, who I’ll meet on the farm and we’ll set out a plan for the day, then we’ll just go out and do it.”

Tania says the shooting events have created a nice community. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania says the shooting events have created a nice community. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “It changes every day and, depending on the time of year, in the middle of harvest I might be out there at 5.30am. I’ll drive the combine all day and sometimes, I won’t finish until 10pm.

“There’s not really a standard day when it comes to arable farming – it changes all the time.”

In 2020, Tania also launched a separate business, The Country Girls UK, to host events where women can learn how to shoot – sparked by an idea she had back in 2018.

She said: “One day in 2018 I was out pigeon shooting to protect our barley crop.

“We have to stop the pigeons from eating all the crops, which means shooting them as pest control.

“I set up a personal Instagram account to start posting about the educational side of farming, including the shooting, explaining to my followers why we do what we do.”

Tania says she was surprised to find that many women do not know how to shoot. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania says she was surprised to find that many women do not know how to shoot. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “And I noticed it was getting a lot of positive attention. It seemed to appeal to a lot of people.”

Uploading a post about pigeon shooting to her page, Tania noticed a spike in engagement.

She said: “People seemed really interested in the educational side of shooting and my following kind of flew off after that.”

Tania’s dog, pictured here with a pheasant. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania’s dog, pictured here with a pheasant. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “I posted more educational information about agriculture and, off the back of that, I had a lot of women messaging me asking me how they could get into shooting.”

Realising there was a gap in the market, she jumped in.

She said: “I noticed that a lot of women who live in the country don’t seem to have other female friends they can go shooting with.”

Tania, pictured here with one of her shooting groups. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania, pictured here with one of her shooting groups. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She added: “They didn’t know where the nearest shooting ground was to them and I just thought, ‘Well, if no one else is providing this service then why don’t I?'”

At first, Tania set up a WhatsApp group for women to contact each other, but as the numbers in the group hit 400, she realised it was unmanageable.

“Instead, I decided to start hosting actual events,” she said. “I started planning one and made tickets available online.”

Advertising two dates online for her first event, they both sold out within seconds.

Tania said: “I couldn’t believe it, the actual day was so much fun, too. None of us had met before, but we just laughed the whole day and it was like we’d known each other forever.

“I realised I had to make this a regular thing, because I wanted loads of other women to experience it.”

Tania often uses the game she has shot to cook with. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania often uses the game she has shot to cook with. (Collect/PA Real Life)

Establishing her business, Tania now offers three types of shooting – beginners days for women who have never picked up a shotgun before, simulated shooting using clay pigeons and game days for experienced shooters.

She said: “For the beginners, we have a qualified instructor who teaches them how to do everything safely.

“It can be quite dangerous, so you have to know what you’re doing.”

She added: “The simulated days are great for people who don’t feel ready to shoot game yet. We also use the clay pigeons to practice on when we’re out of season.

“The reaction I’ve had to the events has been incredible. The business has been crazy busy.”

Tania says she has moments when she has to pinch herself, as her success still feels unreal, but she is delighted that women are loving the events.

Tania hopes her classes will encourage and empower women. (Collect/PA Real Life)
Tania hopes her classes will encourage and empower women. (Collect/PA Real Life)

She said: “It’s all about encouraging and empowering women.

“Shooting game is an important part of farm life and I was surprised to find out that so many women in the countryside didn’t know how to shoot.

“The events are all about having fun and learning a new skill. That’s what I hope I have achieved.”

  • Nofence, the company behind the world’s first virtual fencing technology for livestock, have named Tania one of the UK’s top rural influencers, after analysing social media engagement across the country. For more information, visit: www.nofence.co.uk

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting