When I first started asking contacts in the shooting industry about the prospects for shooting and how it would be affected by coronavirus they all sounded surprised to be asked and expressed no doubt that all would be much as normal. This round up on the William Powell site tells a very different story. Confidence is bleeding from the market in just the way that it seemed inevitable that it would (see this blog of 16 days ago).
Up until now the shooting industry has sounded like a government minister talking about PPE (that’s personal protective equipment, not politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, about which many of them know rather more) – saying everything is going to be fine isn’t believable, particularly from a source with ‘previous’, and reality catches up with you very quickly. It’s good to see some honesty from William Powell.
It’s not exactly a controlled experiment but if we see millions fewer gamebirds released into the countryside then we might well see some hungry Red Foxes and other ecological impacts.
The grouse shooting season is the first to open, three weeks ahead of partridge shooting and over 7 weeks ahead of Pheasant shooting.
If there is little grouse shooting then this has implications for the validity of any Hen Harrier brood management occurring this summer which is allegedly ‘research’ into criminals’ behaviour. Since those criminals are known to be closely associated with the grouse shooting industry then their motivation can be reliably expected to be very different in the year of a global pandemic, which hits grouse shooting for six, than in other years. Not worth doing is it, even if it’s allowed by government restrictions on travel and social behaviour by then? This will be a test of Natural England’s good faith in this matter.[registration_form]