Many shoots are putting down fewer birds, expecting to sell fewer let days and income to fall.
They report fewer confirmed bookings than last year and some are offering days with smaller bags to reduce the cost to their clients.
“Commercial shoots are under more financial pressure than non-commercial ones”, said David Steel, head of sporting at Smiths Gore.
“They are less optimistic about this shooting season than non-commercial shoots – just under half expected to sell fewer let days and many reported having fewer confirmed bookings than last year.”
“Almost six out of 10 shoots expect their income to fall and have responded by putting fewer birds down, with about a quarter offering days with smaller bags to reduce the cost of the day to their clients.”
“The survey reinforces our view that the recession is reaching most parts of the country. Commercial shooting has been more affected than shoots run as a hobby for family and friends, although they too have been affected,” added Rupert Clark,
head of rural practice.
“There may also be a knock-on effect on wildlife. Most shoots think there would be less wildlife without the habitat management that they currently carry out. The survey found a number of shoots either ceasing altogether or reducing the amount of time they spend on habitat management.”
The survey of 88 upland and lowland shoots includes shoots from England, Scotland and Wales.