More than 100 shoots, accounting for 2,400 shoot days and 1.1million pheasants and partridges, took part in the unique annual survey, organised by sporting brokers GunsOnPegs and rural property consultants Smiths Gore.

Dr Jason Beedell, head of research at Smiths Gore, said: “Despite shoots trying to control costs, almost half of them are still making a loss. This cannot be sustainable in the long term.”

With an increasing number of shoots taking part, the survey’s organisers say that its results provide greater clarity of the economic realities of running a shoot and that the data demonstrates how shoots can improve their bottom line.

James Horne, managing director of GunsOnPegs, said: “These results could act as a wake-up call to the industry — we are already seeing a greater focus on customer service and new approaches to the marketing of days.”

“There were some positive stories to come out of the survey as well — the full results will give a real insight into how the industry is faring in the aftermath of the economic downturn.”

Complete results from the survey will be revealed at the GunsOnPegs stand during next month’s CLA Game Fair.