A new poll has found that game shooting is more popular than ever, especially among younger people.
The poll, conducted by Survation on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports, found that 5.3% of rural people in England and Wales have been game shooting. This suggests that roughly 600,000 people across rural England and Wales have been game shooting.
Figures produced by the Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) in their 2014 report The Value of Shooting found that 430,000 people participated in game shooting, so these Survation figures suggest an almost 40% growth in game shooting participation in the last five years.
The actual figure is likely to be even higher, because the PACEC figures included Scotland, where game shooting is very popular, and game shooters living in urban populations. A large number of game shooters live in urban areas, and these people will not be counted in the 600,000 people identified by Survation's rural poll.
The poll also showed that participation rates are highest among rural young people. Whereas 5.3% of all people have been game shooting, the figure rises to 13% among people aged 18-24.
The poll also highlighted the large number of rural people who enjoy observing nature, walking and visiting countryside pubs, further demonstrating the benefits of game shooting. The landscapes we enjoy when walking and cycling have been managed by gamekeepers and farmers for generations. Rural pubs are serving ever more delicious game meat and are supported through the quieter winter months by game shooters who travel across the country when other tourism slows.
Countryside Alliance Director for Wales, Rachel Evans, said: “The growth of game shooting is not surprising. It is a healthy, sociable and enjoyable activity in our beautiful countryside. We are delighted to see the poll recording the highest levels of participation among younger people, which shows the future of game shooting is very bright indeed."