Shoots are expecting a busy season as carried over bookings and pent-up demand fill shoot calendars, writes Matt Cross in this week's Shooting Times

With most of the UK shooting season put on hold last year due to COVID, speculation has been rife about how shooting would bounce back. However there is no evidence that demand for shooting has waned during the pandemic and Guns seem ready to return to the field in numbers.

Demand for lessons

One indicator of a strong game season has been demand for lessons on shooting grounds. Many have been experiencing strong demand with new shooters seeking lessons and experienced Guns getting their eye in for the season ahead. Head instructor, Mark Heath at West London Shooting School told Shooting Times: “Since lockdown ended, we have seen a huge resurgence in bookings from private clients, group lessons and corporate businesses too. We have also seen more bookings from new starters who, along with existing clients, want to enjoy the outdoors after lockdown and seek respite through shooting.”

Increase in demand

Chris Horne, Managing Director of the UK’s largest shoot booking website GunsOnPegs told Shooting Times how he saw the season shaping up. For Chris the picture is looking rosy, but anyone who wanted to book more shooting would have to do so quickly. Chris said: “The season ahead is looking like an interesting one. The Game Shooting Census, conducted by GunsOnPegs and Lycetts, revealed some fascinating stuff. For example, we know that shoot diaries are between 80 and 90% full, but that Guns have only booked about 50% of the days that they plan to shoot. Rolled-over days from last season mean that shoots haven’t got as much availability as they may normally have at this time of year, and the increase in demand from Guns suggests that there may be a bit of a scramble for the last few remaining dates and pegs.”

Mark Heath shooting instructor

Mark Heath, head instructor at West London Shooting School, has seen a great increase in lesson bookings

Among those with days carried over from last season was Scottish game Shot Ally Nicolls. Ally told Shooting Times: “We had three days on two shoots booked last year, but because of the pandemic they all ended up cancelled. Both shoots agreed to carry over our bookings to this year. We have added in an extra day and are looking forward to a really busy season.”

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