These latest figures follow reports that the number of schools introducing rifle ranges has surged since ministers backed shooting sports last year.

More than 1200 young people joined BASC between May 2007 and January 2008 compared to just over a thousand new members in the same period in 2006/2007.

BASC created the youth section of the organisation – Young Shots – to encourage more young people to learn how to shoot safely and responsibly.

The association holds numerous Young Shots days across the UK where young people can try clay shooting and air rifles as well as watching demonstrations on falconry and gundogs.

Head of membership marketing, David Ilsley, said: “The young shots scheme has gone from strength to strength which is great news for the future of shooting sports. We’re hoping to build on this success this year and anyone interested in the young shots scheme should check out our website – http://www.basc.org.uk/content/young_shots.”