In my 25 years of arranging shooting, one of the most notable evolutions is the speed at which days are let in the early part of the year. 20 years ago the lettings would take place over February, March, April and even into May – but now, with modern communications everything happens much faster than in the days of telex and letter – rather more lovely though they were!
The only way an operating shoot (commercial or semi-private) has the comfort that a day is let is when the deposit is in the bank and it is exasperating when one holds on to a day in the hope it is sold, to be told in May, that the client no longer wants the day. The Roxtons’ office air has gone blue on several occasions when this has happened as not only have we and the Estate lost a sale but we could probably have let the day several times over earlier in the year.
Of course cash flow too is important to shoots just as any business – but perhaps more so. So much goes on shoots all the years round and this has to be funded. As I write this in mid-April, our shoots have already committed to poult orders, feed tonnages, game crop areas, and their establishment is already well under way – as the partridge eggs are sitting in the incubators and the pheasant hens are frantically laying.
So when our confirming letter arrives on your door mat or desk together with the invoice, please settle it promptly so you can be safe in the knowledge that you are working with the estates on which you will be shooting rather than antagonising them – you never know, you might get the better drives!