To what extent has the economic downturn forced shoots to discount their late-season days? Shooting Times asked the industry where shooters should go to find a bargain.

Sporting agencies with wealthy corporate clients explained that they have not felt the economic pinch yet, despite difficult trading conditions in the financial sector, and have therefore not had to discount any of their days. Henny Goddard of Roxtons reported that they are fully booked throughout January, without having to resort to cutting the price of birds.

Similarly, Robert Cuthbert of Serious Shooting told Shooting Times: “We’ve had quite a few enquiries regarding these largely mythical cut-price days on commercial shoots, where shoots are apparently slashing prices from £40-odd a bird to £20 or so. Well we have nothing like that on offer.”

Mr Cuthbert added there are bargains to be found on shoots that sell occasional let days, however: “There are still some corking deals to be had

if you shop around. One estate we represent has dropped a few remaining

January days by almost £10 a bird on a 200-bird day.”

David Carr of Shooting4all agreed. He told Shooting Times: “If you are after a bargain in January, your best bet is to contact the small to medium sized shoots. I have seen birds reduced from £29 to £25 a bird. However, the shoots that sell birds for £32-plus aren’t budging on their prices. The smaller shoots need to generate a good cash flow for next season. For them, some money is better than no money at all. The larger shoots have bigger reserves to cope with the current economic climate and they cannot risk losing credibility. If clients start to smell blood in the water then it’s game

over. In fact, I know of two shoots, one in the West Country and one in the

south east, that have closed this year because they were not prepared to

drop the price of their birds far enough.”

The rest of this article appears in 1 January issue of Shooting Times.

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