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Gamedealers and birds this season

What's the situation with game in the current economic climate?

geese flying

A number of gamedealers had been assured that birds hadn’t been shot with lead, which transpired to be incorrect. Image Getty.

Over the past few seasons, it’s generally been believed that if you’re running a shoot that only allows Guns to use ‘non-toxic’ loads, you’ll have a pretty easy time finding a gamedealer who will pay you for your birds. The narrative being that birds guaranteed to be lead-free are far easier for the gamedealer to sell on to restaurants and supermarkets.

Louisa Clutterbuck, the chief executive of the British Game Assurance (BGA, which seeks to promote game and audit shoots) has told Shooting Times that as consumers become more conscious of sustainable and ethically sourced food, the demand for lead-free game birds in the market continues to grow not only at retail levels, but right across the board.

Ms Clutterbuck explained that people are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it is sourced, making lead-free game birds a sought-after choice. Game dealers around the country are therefore continuing to pay for lead-free shot birds as this demand continues to grow.

Shoots that are lead-free will check your ammunition on the day and make you swap to the correct cartridges if necessary. Ms Clutterbuck urges people to check your ammunition and not be the reason that an entire day’s worth of birds have to be condemned because you didn’t switch to the correct shot.

Ms Clutterbuck pointed to a recent outing to CarFest, a motoring festival established by Chris Evans, as an example of what they should focus on. She said the number of game dishes they served was huge and almost every other minute a member of the public asked them what a pheasant is and, in some cases, “What’s a venison?”

This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.