The numbers of those participating in Britain’s most popular sport, swimming, have fallen consistently for the last four years, and it is estimated that currently fewer than 2.5 million adults swim at least once a week. Football has suffered an even longer decline to a point where only 1.9 million adults play the game at all. Golf, too, is seeing its numbers fall. These sports (and others) are following a long term trend which suggests that people are swapping the pool, pitch or course for the sofa. Against this background comes the news that the numbers shooting are growing or at least that is the clear inference to be drawn from the rise in the numbers of shotgun certificates granted over the past year – up by 23,000.

This is welcome news. It is also extraordinary news. Consider the way in which shooting both as a sport and a pastime is treated. Eschewed by the mainstream media (especially the BBC), persecuted by local authorities, disdained by PC commentators, it is an easy target for anyone who wants to promote their touchy feely credentials. On the competition side it has few stars and certainly none who would be counted a celebrity. Where game shooting is concerned those who are media personalities tend to keep their participation out of the spotlight. Despite all this, shooting thrives.

Understanding why it does so, whilst so many other activities atrophy is a puzzle. The best guess – and this is especially true of game and clay – is that it strikes exactly the perfect balance between a social and sporting activity. Whatever the reason it is great to be able to report that an activity so often persecuted and wilfully misrepresented is in such vigorously good health.

This article was originally published by GunTrader on 15th August 2017. To find out more please visit