UK Seasons Prospects 2022-23
After two COVID affected seasons the shooting community was looking forward to a normal 2022, but sadly this has been far from the case. The well documented Avian flu issues and a continued lack of supply of eggs and chicks from France has led to many shoots not operating or reducing their programmes for next season. Demand for UK produced birds has increased and many game farmers have had to source birds from elsewhere in Europe. It just seems that the French and UK governments have just been unable to work together in trying to resolve the situation with each blaming the other at various times over the last seven months. Another hangover from Brexit? Costs have inevitably increased with many poults being sold for £8 to £15 per bird when they are normally around £5 to £6 per poult. These prices are unsustainable with the continued increases in feed and other fixed costs and will only lead to the £80 to £100 per bird - will the market accept this?
There has also been a lot of discussion over non-toxic shot with several shoots converting to a lead-free environment for next season. It will be interesting to see how these cartridges hold up in terms of performance and carcass damage, hopefully there will be a premium paid for the game from these shoots. With less shooting taking place, will there be an increase in the value of game meat? Only time will tell. The British Game Assurance are continuing to open new markets and many more shoots are signing up to best practice, with luck this will continue and help draw support against the increased pressure from Government and the various bodies who are against us.
Whilst we saw one of the biggest crashes in grouse numbers last year, this year’s prospects are encouraging although many moors will be building up stocks, at least mother nature has been kinder to many parts of the UK although the current high temperatures will sadly affect the Glorious 12th.
Despite the issues, our thanks go out to all the owners, guns, keepers, beaters, pickers-up and everyone else who are involved in field sports, let’s hope after all the trials and tribulations of 2022 we can all enjoy the days we have, really appreciating why we all love what we do. A degree of flexibility and understanding may be required by guns on certain days, we all need to work together to maintain and continue to improve a sustainable future for the shooting community. Hopefully 2023 with have some sense of normality.