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Shooting industry feels effects of economic downturn

Many sporting agents are starting to report increasing numbers of cancelled days, with corporate buyers now prepared to sacrifice their original deposits.

David Carr of told Shooting Times this season has been hit unexpectedly hard: “Up until recently, we all felt that this year’s shooting would escape the worst of the economic downturn. It was widely thought next season would be the real disaster, but now this one has turned out to be a genuine cause for concern. To put it in perspective, last year I was having to find one or two extra guns for around two cancelled days. This year, that figure has jumped up to 12 days already.”

Robert Cuthbert, of Serious Shooting, said many of his more wealthy clients are holding back: “They would hate to be perceived as being brash in such an uncertain time, especially when people close to them have lost jobs. The following two seasons will see estates offer smaller days and hopefully greater flexibility. This season, however, we still have odd days to let, even some driven grouse. Quality will always sell, but there are some real bargains to be had at the moment.”

There are reports of guns being offered huge reductions on birds in a bid to ensure the days actually go ahead.

One gun from the City told Shooting Times: “I was on a shoot in the West Country recently where guns were fielding phone calls from grouse moor and commercial pheasant shoots offering cancelled days. Days offered on grouse were discounted at around 30%. Pheasant days were being offered at £22 per bird for November and January due to cancelled corporate days – unsurprisingly from the banking and real estate sectors.”

The rest of this article appears in 9 October issue of Shooting Times.

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