End of Season News 2022/23

2022/23 and on into 2023/24…

In any ‘normal’ year we’d be more than happy and capable of helping with pretty much any request for shooting but I don’t know how much you’re aware of the state of play regarding shooting in the UK at the moment; after the years of the pandemic we had thought that this last season things would get back to a more normal situation especially on the game front. That’s not been the case and the 2022/23 season looks like being among the most difficult in living memory.

We have a continuing perfect storm within the shooting community. Apart from all the anti-activity, the debacle over lead shot, restrictions from Natural England, Judicial Reviews, and a host of other problems the whole ‘live quarry’ shooting industry faces the biggest problem, AI (bird flu). That’s meant many shoots were unable to source their partridges/pheasants for the 2022/23 season. It’s to some extent the game industry’s own fault relying on the French and Spanish game farms to supply the majority of the birds we shoot albeit with the best of intentions for early season events. There’s a ban on the import of eggs/poults which doesn’t stop with importing game but also affects our pigeon and other game meat exports. Our main game dealer has not taken any birds since last spring and has no plans to do so again this year as they cannot export them. That combined with the huge rise in prices across the board has resulted in many shoots shutting down, some permanently some hopefully just for a time. Those that are still shooting are running much reduced programmes and with huge cost increases.

Our predicament is pretty much the same, landlords still want their rents but with the lack of available birds and the overall escalating running costs it’s pretty nigh impossible to invest with any certainty that we can shoot and see a return. The UK as a whole is already under standard AI restrictions but thankfully that came in too late to stop the release of game birds last summer. This year 2023 might be somewhat different though what with restrictions on ‘catching up’ and the ban on releasing still in place!

We hope to have some limited driven game days (125/150 bags) and several rough/walked up days during the 2023/24 season. Again optimistically we hope to be able to offer not only full team days but also some ‘peg only’ options as we always used to do.

At present we’re doing a lot of deer stalking, pigeon and corvid shooting then as the year goes on and we can assess things we’ll be arranging game days for next season. With water birds apparently most affected by AI we’ll be running a limited programme of duck/goose flights next season. Currently it’s all about ‘fingers crossed’!

There’s the distinct possibility of more devastation from AI (bird flu), it’s not declined during 2022 as expected and current forecasts (you can check the gov.uk website for info here) are for it to stay with us through the year and well into 2023/24. That’s the more virulent strain H5N1. Even if it doesn’t affect the game birds advice is it’s probably now endemic in the wild bird populations and it could potentially lead to a ban on shooting from government as a bio security measure. There’s now an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain, with East Anglia among the worst hit, to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds. In addition the game dealers cannot/will not collect birds from restricted zones as a precautionary measure. Most of the UK fieldsports organisations have on-line advice options which can be read here for BASC and here for NGO

Whilst the virus doesn’t generally appear to affect the mammalian world it still has its consequences in such activities as our end of season hare shoots. Understandably Landowners do not wish large numbers of Guns wandering their land and maybe spreading the virus across a region.

Please keep an eye on our periodic e-newsletters for updates and hopefully we’ll be able to offer something but we’re not about to do so until we’re sure we can give you some sport.

Alternatives exist…pigeon decoying/roost shooting, corvid shoots and deer stalking until next season. Check out our other web pages.

For more information please get in touch via email; info@angliasporting.co.uk.