It is said the increase in game sales is a result of increased interest in traditional British cuisine.

Supermarkets have attributed the surge in game sales to an increase in the use of game in the recipes of celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver, and on cookery programmes such as Masterchef.

Independent market research company Mintel predicted that UK sales for game would reach a record £84,000,000 in 2011.

Tesco has seen game sales increase by a remarkable 100 per cent over the past six months, with 250 of its stores now stocking game. Marks & Spencer, meanwhile, have reported venison sales were up by 340 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010, with game sales overall increasing 40 per cent.

Waitrose reported sales of woodpigeon were up by 38 per cent year-on-year, and shot wild game up by 15 per cent.

The increasing use of game by chefs like Jamie Oliver has contributed to a surge in game sales.

Sainsburys noted sales of pheasant had increased by a third in 2011. Morrisons introduced three new lines into their stores in December last year, including partridge and pheasant.

Nick Hall, specialist poultry buyer for Tesco, said: “Five years ago we would have sold these birds in a handful of stores, predominantly in countryside towns, but now we are seeing strong and growing sales in more urban areas.

Wild birds had a reputation of being a meat that was the sole preserve of the country set, but it is finding favour with a growing number of people wanting something different for their roasts.”

The Scottish Venison Partnership, meanwhile, sounded a note of caution, warning that demand for venison is outstripping domestic supply. The partnership noted that of the 3,500 tonnes of Scottish venison sold each year, only 50 tonnes comes from farmed deer and that in 2010 the UK imported 1,000 tonnes of venison from as far afield as New Zealand.

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