The Shoot Intentions Survey, conducted by rural property consultants Smiths Gore and sporting brokers GunsOnPegs, found that more than three quarters of commercial shoots will raise their charges this season.

None of the shoots questioned intended to reduce their charges.

Smiths Gore and GunsOnPegs believe that the survey?s findings demonstrate that the majority of shoots are optimistic about the new season, while also reflecting the increase in the cost of putting a bird down.

Smiths Gore head of sporting, David Steel, said: ?Now that confidence has risen, commercial shoots are recouping their losses. Many have come to terms with the need to tighten their belts and have acted accordingly. This is a positive indication of optimism for the sport, given the tough time experienced by many shoots in the past couple of years.?

The survey has information from 110 shoots, half commercial and half non-commercial.

Around half of those questioned were optimistic about the season, with commercial shoots more optimistic than non-commercial.

But the percentage of shoots less optimistic has risen from four to 19%, indicating the financial outlook is still a challenge for some.

The survey also found that almost a quarter of shoots have put down more birds than last year, and that a third of commercial shoots are reporting more bookings.

GunsOnPegs managing director, James Horne, said: ?We have seen a considerable increase in activity since 2010, with more than 750 shoots advertising days and guns available for this season. With more than 26,000 members, bookings have been strong over the summer period and we are confident that the unsold days remaining now are fewer than this time last year.?

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