This figure includes 93,494 individual members, 5,516 gamekeepers and 6,194 junior members.

The record membership total was achieved as BASC celebrated its centenary in 2008 and the project to build the association?s new communications centre at Marford Mill, Wrexham, got under way.

During 2008, despite the credit crunch, recruitment of new members exceeded expectations.

BASC?s John Swift explained: ?Membership has continued to rise steadily, which we believe is testimony to the strength of an association that fields a wide range of specialist skills to respond constructively and with real force to public events for the benefit of all shooters.?

The peak of WAGBI?s membership immediately before the association?s name change to BASC in 1981, was 51,518.

By 1985, membership had grown to 72,873 and by 1990 it stood at 108,474.

At this time, BASC employed more specialist staff to provide different services to members and to drive other aspects of the association?s work such as research, political lobbying, publications and media relations.

During the last major recession in the early 1990s, membership numbers reached a plateau and hardly rose.

In 1995, the total number of members reached 110,661 and this steadily increased to 117,944 by the year 2000.