The pheasant and partridge shooting industry is suffering a severe blow due to the current lockdown and social distancing guidelines issued by the government.
The HSA has received reports of shoots across the UK cancelling shoot dates, with many even writing off their whole upcoming seasons as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The threat of further restrictions on movement later in the year and the likelihood of an economic downturn is forcing shoots to not take the huge financial risk of purchasing gamebirds and instead simply not continue this year.
As the pheasant and partridge shooting seasons begin in October and September respectively, shoot days are booked well in advance, with each spot costing upwards of £1,000. However, very few have managed to sell any days so far due to the uncertainty ahead. As many shoots rely on this income now to purchase birds from game farms to be shot later in the year, this also crucially means that many farms are also severely struggling.
One game farm in Devon even resorted to giving away their pheasant eggs to a local shop, who in turn offered them to their customers for a donation due to shoots not having the money to purchase and rear on the birds.
The owners of Meadowlands Game Farm in Leicestershire went one further and decided to exit the industry altogether, selling off every piece of equipment relating to the farm.
Around 50 million pheasants and partridges are intensively reared and released to be shot each year, around half of which are imported into the UK from Europe. With importation logistics likely being affected as well, the shooting industry in the UK is teetering on the edge of collapse.