Did you know that 600,000 people shoot live quarry or clay pigeon at least once a year in the UK? This is one of many surprising statistics that further illustrates the positive impact that gun sports have in the UK. Here’s a full rundown of the many ways shooting benefits our country.
The field sports economy
Gun sports sometimes receives bad press, but it’s clear that they work wonders for the UK economy. For example, country sports draw in a huge 24 million people to rural areas annually. According to shootingfacts.co.uk, the industry itself is worth a stellar £2 billion a year which without a doubt helps keep local, family-owned businesses afloat in rural areas.
For example, when a group of shooters go out for the day, they will almost certainly stop for lunch and a beverage at a local public house. They will also quite often stay the night or weekend at a local bed and breakfast or family run hotel. All of this expenditure has an extremely positive impact on the UK economy.
Of course, it’s not only the cash spent in and around popular shooting locations and clubs that boosts the local and national economy. There are tons of specialist, licenced shooting equipment centres in the UK that also boost the economy. Shootingfacts.co.uk also says shooting participants spent £2.5 billion on products and services back in 2014. This in turn allows the shooting industry to employ 74,000 people in the UK.
The most popular gun sports
According to the Value of Shooting survey, clay pigeon shooting is the most popular gun sport in the UK, with almost 19% of participants claiming it as their favourite. This is unsurprising, considering it has become such a common activity for stag dos and workplace outings, with some even going on to make it a regular hobby. The rest of the top five places were shared pretty equally between pigeon shooting, game, rough and pest control.
If you’re taking up clay pigeon shooting for the first time this summer, make sure you check out our 10 clay pigeon shooting safety tips blog to ensure your safety and give yourself the best chance of having a successful shoot.
Conservation is, of course, a vital element of shooting. Without it, there would be much less game to shoot in the UK. According to shootingfacts.co.uk, a quarter of a billion pounds is spent on conservation work by shooting providers annually. That’s more than eight times the amount the RSPB spent on conservation on its reserves in 2013 (£29.6m).
The time spent on conservation on shooting land totals 3.9 million work days, which is the equivalent of 16,000 full-time conservation jobs. (In comparison, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage together employ fewer than 3,000 full and part-time members of staff.)
The social and environmental benefits of shooting
Shooting generally takes place in a well-managed and pleasant environment. In over 93% of responses to the recent Value of Shooting survey, shooting participants agreed or strongly agreed that shooting sites are healthy and attractive. In a similar vein, 87% agreed or strongly agreed that shooting contributes to the social fabric of the local area and 97% said shooting contributes to their wellbeing.
All in all, shooters seem to be at one with their surroundings and are happy to enjoy their chosen sport with friends and colleagues. Even on non-shooting days shooters use the opportunity of working and helping around their shoot as a great way of staying in touch with friends. Shoot days, whether live quarry or at the shooting ground, are eagerly anticipated and are well attended. The survey estimates there were 1.7 million shooting days in the UK in 2012/13. These days can also include charitable money-raisers such as raffles. Shooting providers recorded £3.5m of charitable donations in 2012/13.
Do you agree with this blog and its statistics? Have you seen an increase in shooters in your local area? Do you feel your local economy is boosted by the shooting community? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.