Prospects for the shooting season?

Despite the shooting industry trying to put on a confident front that it will be unaffected by a global pandemic touching, heavily touching, every other aspect of human life, it seems that the reality is very different.

Pheasant and partridge shooting are currently particularly affected because of their dependence on massive imports of eggs and chicks from abroad which would be happening right now, and supplies of poults later in the season now seem very uncertain. But the demand side is crumbling too – paying clients are wondering how long movement restrictions will last and also whether their pockets will be full enough after an economic slump to allow spending on an expensive luxury.

I’m told:

It doesn’t look as if there will be much of a game shooting season. Some estates are abandoning this season because they can’t get the poults and others are only running small shoots with the birds left from last season. There are only one or two shoots gambling on getting the birds in after the lockdown and getting cover crops planted. If they are successful they will make a “killing”. However, the further gamble will be whether the virus mutates and returns in the colder months then we will all be in lockdown again and no shooting will take place!

A shooting industry insider

Grouse shooting has been hit by an early cessation of heather burning which will affect productivity. And although grouse shooting has no reliance on captive breeding of live targets the fact that the shooting season starts six weeks earlier than Pheasant shooting, on the Inglorious 12th August, and the costs of participating are much higher, result in the demand for shooting days being weaker than ever before.

Game shooting is a hobby of little economic importance to the nation.

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9 Replies to “Prospects for the shooting season?”

  1. I wonder what this means for the prospects for birds of prey. Are gamekeepers being laid off or furloughed? Those that remain on the job have an opportunity for skullduggery presented by reduced levels of scrutiny perhaps?

    1. Well not only the persecuted birds but also those that rely on a steady supply of roadkill pheasants for food. Less released birds is bound to have a knock on affect down the ecosystem. A good proportion of those 50 million game birds must have been feeding wildlife which will now have to look elsewhere.

  2. Yet there is little doubt that the wildlife killers amongst those in the "industry" have not slackened their campaign against elements of our wildlife as witnessed by the number of licence applications to NE:- Individual licences for gulls and other bird species
    Natural England is continuing to receive large numbers of applications for individual licences. They have received 893 applications to date, with 287 of these applications having been received within the last two weeks.
    Natural England are working to process these applications promptly, their aim remains to issue licensing decisions as early as possible in April. They have so far taken 491 applications through an initial check process, and they are currently either awaiting further information, or reviewing responses from, 341 applications where essential information was missing.
    Many of the Gull licences in particular will be from the "Grouse botherers" They seem to have a particular thing about Lesser Black Backs.
    Then of course there are the activities of the sizeable criminal element, they claim to be entirely intolerant of. The wonderful Jean Thorpe in Malton has a recently had in three persecuted raptors. These will of course be given the best chance to make it but many do not. They are also surely a small minority of those shot at with some killed or wounded recovered and hidden, some killed and left and some escape wounded, the lucky few of which are found and end in the hands of Jean or similar kind folk.
    The chances in Lockdown of such criminal bastards being caught is even slighter than normal.
    So the "industry" might be in trouble, excuse me while I fail to weep for it.

    1. While I shed not a single tear for the shooters, who kill our wildlife for fun, at the prospect of them having a “poor shooting season”, I am concerned that in this current lock down situation the murdering of our birds of prey, our mountain hares and other moorland wildlife, may escalate. This is because those that perpetrate their illegal and murderous activities may feel their chances of being caught are less because there are a lot less of the general public around to see them.

      1. And badgers in this area. They keep popping up on the roadsides, despite the decrease in traffic. That is telling all on its own.

  3. The early finish to burning will have little impact this season, maybe a few less places for chicks
    to dry out, or skiving beaters to have an easier walk , should any be needed.
    Of greater consequence would be, especially following a productive spring, the surplus of birds
    that would need to be removed for the future health of the stock, medicated grit is not the answer for everything.
    I have not spoken to any local Pheasant lads yet , it is on my list.

  4. Johnson being hospitalised has probably shook them a bit, the shooting fraternity and the toffs therein were convinced that having the right sort of blue blood and money would prevent them getting sick. Money and privilege can't always protect you.

  5. i thought that Mark Avery was against all shooting of birds? I hope to see grouse shooting end and I loath it when I am out walking and hear guns going off and know that too often that means a life has been taken, just for fun. All the folks that get their kicks from taking the lives of any of our wildlife really need to find other activities because not only does it look like they are mentally unwell . whats the difference between taking the life of a bird or a lion. so there may be people who think Trophy Hunting is not acceptable;neither is is to shoot any birds.


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