Domestic demand for shooting may well outstrip supply by the time the season starts, even though worries over travel arrangements and the possibility of quarantine is putting overseas shooters off travelling to the UK.
Growing optimism about an end to the Covid pandemic and a desire to get out and about again drove strong demand for shooting early this year which translated into a surge in sales in the first few months of the year.
Digby Taylor, Shoot Account manager at Guns on Pegs’ sister site Shoothub told us how he saw the domestic market. Digby said “Every week things are getting closer to normal, but we are still feeling the impact of Covid. Around 12% of shoots which are members of Shoot Hub, our information service, are not shooting at all this year.
Then there is the issue of rolled over days, almost 30% of bookings this year are rolled over from last year, which impacts cash flow. January to March showed a real surge in sales, but this has now dropped off leaving around 20% of days unsold. I don’t think that is a cause for panic.
“Guns are telling us that they have only booked 57% of the days they expect to book, so with limited shooting available and guns with calendars only half full we expect demand to pick back up in the late summer and that all those available days will be snapped up.”
Ardent game shot Neal Waugh, was one of those who was holding off. He explained why: “We all think we can see which way things are going, but a day’s shooting is a lot of money and I’m not willing to risk that until I’m a bit more certain.”
While UK shooters have generally committed in promising numbers the situation with overseas guns heading to the UK is different. Andrew Case, whose agency Case Sport brings international clients to top quality shoots in the South West of Scotland told us: “The domestic market looks quite strong, but the international market is spooked.
“Many of the guns who have shot with us before have the confidence to book again, but new clients are unwilling to commit. They are concerned about the possibility that will be unable to travel or that they may face a quarantine period on arrival.”