BASC’s chairman Peter Glenser has extolled the virtues of shooting ahead of the start of the pheasant season.
He said: “The game season unites those who have a common love for shooting, the countryside and the traditions that make our sport such a fantastic presence in our lives.
“The start of the season is such an exciting time. It’s a chance to look forward to fantastic days with fantastic company.
“Shooting takes us to such special places we would likely not otherwise see and personally, I’m looking forward to introducing others to my sport over the course of the season.
“Throughout the season we should use every opportunity to highlight sporting shooting’s undeniable benefits to our health, conservation and to rural economies.”
Game shooting provides habitat and conservation management, delivers high-quality landscapes and provides tasty food.
More than 280,000 people work on shoots each year. The effort put into game management and pest control is equivalent to 7,800 full-time jobs and predator control contributes to reversing the declines seen in farmland birds.
Game shoots maintain 25,000ha of cover crops and these provide an important source of food and shelter for songbirds, particularly during winter. Shoots manage 500,000ha of woodland and 100,000ha of copses for game.
Glynn Evans, BASC’s head of game and deer management, said: “Game shooting is good for conservation, good for the economy and game meat is very good to eat.
“Research shows that land managed for shooting is rich in biodiversity and that songbirds, for example, benefit from pest control and the management of game such as pheasants and partridges.”
Peter Glenser added: “The British countryside would look very different without the sterling work that people who shoot put in. They act as an army of conservationists in effect, and these guardians of the countryside work tirelessly to protect and preserve the countryside for the benefit of a range of species that otherwise wouldn’t have a home and for future generations.”
*Notes to editors: The pheasant season starts on 1st October. In England and Wales gamebirds may not be taken on a Sunday or Christmas Day. In Northern Ireland you cannot take game on a Sunday. In Scotland there are no statutory restrictions on killing game on Sunday or Christmas Day, but it is not customary to do so.