DRIVEN GAME SHOOTING
Driven Game Days
All we can do at this point is consider our options for shooting this season based upon our own overview and it’s not looking great. Effectively our game shooting year starts in March so that’s when decisions were made.
For us there are many factors to consider and whilst it does appear that we might be able to offer some limited shooting events from July onwards; deer stalking, pigeon shooting, wildfowling and maybe a few rough/walked up days, our driven game shooting days (the financial backbone of our business) are looking less likely.
Factors we need to take into account are varied but for starters we’d need to invest in large numbers of birds (many tens of thousands) both partridges & pheasants with no guarantee of a useful return. We generally shoot almost every day of the season, 6 days a week! Those birds have to be fed, tons of feed every week, 100’s of pounds per ton. Game covers need to be planted, hundreds of acres at a cost averaging £250 per acre. It’s a huge investment and that’s just the beginning. If we invest and don’t see the required returns that money is lost and would seriously impact on our ability to consider anything in future years. Whether we invest or not there are some costs such as rents, wages etc. which are ongoing and have to be met. All these factors have to be in place now if we are to offer driven days this year but without some certainty can we afford to take the risk?
We also have to consider how we might run a shoot day with social distancing. Maybe just maybe possible for the Guns but what about the beaters. Many, indeed most of our beaters are retirees the majority in their 70’s & even 80’s several with underlying health problems. At present they are all isolated. Remember they don’t come beating for the money, why risk their lives? In addition many Guns are in that ‘at risk’ age bracket.
For both Guns and beaters a shoot day is generally a social event enjoyed not just for the shooting. How’s that going to work with people coming from all over the country and abroad (assuming they’ll be allowed to travel) but unable to mix without social distancing? Although we’ve heard from several Guns wanting to book days the underlying trend from many is that they will not commit at this juncture.
On balance our decision, taken very reluctantly, is that we will not be offering any driven game days this season. We will offer deer stalking, pigeon shooting, wildfowling and rough/walked up days BUT we will not be taking any bookings for those events until July at the earliest when we hope to have more insight of a way forward.
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