Though later dates are, as usual, proving more popular, sporting agencies have reported a healthy number of shooting bookings for the whole of the coming season.

Chris Horne, of GunsOnPegs, said: ?We had 4,000 enquiries about shooting between 1 February and mid-September, which is an increase of 86% on last year. A large number of members who found a shoot through us last year have booked again this season.?

?Shoots are reporting very healthy bookings for December and January days, but some have found it harder to sell early days in September and early October. Many still have days to sell, but we are not hugely worried as we expect to see a large increase in enquiries during the season, as we did last year, when people realise they can fit in an extra day or two.?

Rob Fenwick, of EJ Churchill concurred, reporting healthy business.

He said: ?Bookings for us have trebled since last year on sporting days. Though our new revamped sporting agency is only in its second year, there does seem to be a great demand. I think people are still willing to spend money on shoot days.?

John Duncan, of Roxtons, has also seen an increase in the number of bookings.

He said: ?We have seen a 15% increase in sales this year and demand for premium shoots remains high. Though most of our days have now been let, we do still have some availability, which we would expect to sell.?