The study took place over four years and was carried out by GESA member Maurice Pearce, who approached the 10 leading shoots on Exmoor for his research.

GESA chairman Hugh Thomas explained that shooting brings huge benefits to tourism in the local area: ?The total figure of £32,500,000 is remarkable. The research found that accommodation taken by shooting parties during the winter months sustains hotels, guest houses and pubs. In total, 25,000 local visitor nights are estimated to originate from shooting.?

Employment is also a significant factor, with 1,600 direct jobs in the local area supported by the provision of shooting activities.

That includes 127 paid gamekeepers, of which 90 are full time.

Mr Thomas added: ?Shoots are growing in popularity and importance to the community. According to the study, people involved in shooting, including gamekeepers, beaters, Guns, loaders and pickers-up, spend a staggering £8m on food and drink in the area as well as on vets? services, dog food and training, wet-weather clothing and their travel to shoots, most of which mean the money is spent and retained locally.?

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