BASC’s chairman Peter Glenser QC has highlighted the importance of high standards in shooting ahead of the start of the pheasant shooting season.
Mr Glenser called on sporting shooters to shoot responsibly and to observe the Code of Good Shooting Practice.
He said: “I am delighted the pheasant season is once again about to start. It is such an exciting time and is a chance to look forward to great days spent in great company. I would encourage people who shoot to make sure they do so responsibly and with high standards and within the law always. Make sure you observe the Code of Good Shooting Practice and its Guide to Good Game Handling.
“Game shooting takes us to some spectacular places that we otherwise might not see and introduces us to people we otherwise might not meet. Take an interest in the places you shoot, talk to the beaters and ‘keepers and enjoy your days.
“Enjoy your shooting and ensure that the game that is shot is correctly used. Put something back into the sport and think about doing something to introduce the next generation.
“Game shooting provides habitat and conservation management, delivers high-quality landscapes and provides tasty food. Throughout the season, we should use every opportunity to highlight sporting shooting’s undeniable benefits to our health, conservation and to rural economies.”
Shooting is worth £2 billion to the UK economy, supports the equivalent of 74,000 jobs and two million hectares are actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting.
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 QC 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.”
*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.