A positive future for shooting - feedback from National Shooting Show

Conor O'Gorman

Well-Known Member
Many years ago the NGO published an article about the stark difference between the online misinformation about gamekeepers versus real world interaction with members of the public at various events and shows their staff attended.

The face to face feedback from the public was overwhelmingly engaged and positive. It was a refreshing eye-opener on real world vs social media.

That article has always stuck in my memory and with that in mind below is a link to an article on the face to face feedback from last weekend's National Shooting Show, from those that attended it.

I think it's a refreshing upbeat update and perhaps a timely reminder that we sometimes need to take with a pinch of salt those within our midst that seek to use social media to present a negative slant on everything shooting related. Shooting is not doomed - it has a very bright future.

 
I sincerely hope so for all the younger generation coming into the sport. However we have the forth coming general election, which could make the next 5 years an uphill battle, depending who gets the keys to number 10.
Yes, the battles are aplenty and I think will continue regardless of the make-up of the next and subsequent governments. That is why I think the more of us as individuals get involved in consultations and campaigns the better outcomes we can achieve - the PCC elections and commitments by elected PCCs to improve firearms licensing being a case in point perhaps.
 
Yes, the battles are aplenty and I think will continue regardless of the make-up of the next and subsequent governments. That is why I think the more of us as individuals get involved in consultations and campaigns the better outcomes we can achieve - the PCC elections and commitments by elected PCCs to improve firearms licensing being a case in point perhaps.
Conor I admire your optimism the Home Office stats show certificate numbers are falling year on year the sport is becoming very expensive and arduous to get into, with the exception on airgun plinking and Scotland.

We are most likely the last generation to participate in clay pigeon, game, wild fowling, target disciplines, in current numbers. Deer shooting and crop protection will continue but possibly only by accredited individuals.

It will be very interesting to see the shape and scope of the sport in five and ten years time, hopefully I will be wrong but the battles are far more challenging than what colour the government is.
 
Conor I admire your optimism the Home Office stats show certificate numbers are falling year on year the sport is becoming very expensive and arduous to get into, with the exception on airgun plinking and Scotland.

We are most likely the last generation to participate in clay pigeon, game, wild fowling, target disciplines, in current numbers. Deer shooting and crop protection will continue but possibly only by accredited individuals.

It will be very interesting to see the shape and scope of the sport in five and ten years time, hopefully I will be wrong but the battles are far more challenging than what colour the government is.

Shoots up and down the country must engage their syndicates and their families and friends - Put events on through the close season and really make a community out of way of life.
The days of shaking hands come 1ST Feb and not reuniting till October did us no good at all - Now football - clay shoots - bowling - BBQs - A whole range of activities take place and our shoot is thriving because of it
 
I think Connor’s approach is absolutely the correct one.

He may be right, he may be wrong but if there is to be a future, we have to believe in it.

Morale is so important and is very easy to lose.

If the attitude potential new shooters get is ‘there’s no more than 10-15 years left’ what chance is there that they will decide shooting is a hobby or career for them?

That contagion will spread, RFDs will look to get out of the business, ranges and shooting grounds will close. Without new blood or places to shoot, a downward spiral will set in from which it will be extremely hard to recover (and there will be those who will do all in their power to ensure it doesn’t).

Not everything is rosey but that’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom. People say there’s a lot of demand for paid stalking, interest in ‘sourcing your own food’ is picking up. Down near where I grew up in Devon, the Sportsman (I know…) is investing heavily to improve Ashcombe Shooting Ground. They plainly wouldn’t be doing that if they thought there is no future beyond a decade.

There’s no guarantee that shooting will continue for years to come but, for those of us who hope it will, we need to pull together and believe it can.
 
Conor I admire your optimism the Home Office stats show certificate numbers are falling year on year the sport is becoming very expensive and arduous to get into, with the exception on airgun plinking and Scotland.

We are most likely the last generation to participate in clay pigeon, game, wild fowling, target disciplines, in current numbers. Deer shooting and crop protection will continue but possibly only by accredited individuals.

It will be very interesting to see the shape and scope of the sport in five and ten years time, hopefully I will be wrong but the battles are far more challenging than what colour the government is.
Yes, cert numbers are currently falling and will hopefully stabilise and pick up again in due course - not least as backlogs are resolved and turnaround times are improved. As for various shooting disciplines I think the relative number of participants in each will change over time - some to increase and some to decrease, as has been the case for as long as recreational shooting has existed.

As for live quarry shooting I will steal this quote from a Danish research paper in 2018 - "Hunting in modern society is a valued recreational activity that benefits from broadly favorable but not uncritical political and public perceptions. Any avoidable negative impact on the natural environment, ecosystems and human health, risks undermining the perception of hunting and threatens its long-term sustainability".
 
Shoots up and down the country must engage their syndicates and their families and friends - Put events on through the close season and really make a community out of way of life.
The days of shaking hands come 1ST Feb and not reuniting till October did us no good at all - Now football - clay shoots - bowling - BBQs - A whole range of activities take place and our shoot is thriving because of it
Brilliant! That is a story worth telling to a wider audience!
 
I think Connor’s approach is absolutely the correct one.

He may be right, he may be wrong but if there is to be a future, we have to believe in it.

Morale is so important and is very easy to lose.

If the attitude potential new shooters get is ‘there’s no more than 10-15 years left’ what chance is there that they will decide shooting is a hobby or career for them?

That contagion will spread, RFDs will look to get out of the business, ranges and shooting grounds will close. Without new blood or places to shoot, a downward spiral will set in from which it will be extremely hard to recover (and there will be those who will do all in their power to ensure it doesn’t).

Not everything is rosey but that’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom. People say there’s a lot of demand for paid stalking, interest in ‘sourcing your own food’ is picking up. Down near where I grew up in Devon, the Sportsman (I know…) is investing heavily to improve Ashcombe Shooting Ground. They plainly wouldn’t be doing that if they thought there is no future beyond a decade.

There’s no guarantee that shooting will continue for years to come but, for those of us who hope it will, we need to pull together and believe it can.
Thanks, one area of growth is more women getting involved in shooting and there are various groups and organisations encouraging that, including BASC. After all women make up around half the population.

Also, public awareness around deer management and sympathetic coverage in the media and interest in venison continues to grow which is a far cry from just a decade ago - latest here:

 
With the help of the basc team I will be having a day with the young beaters and children who are involved on our shoot. We are hoping to put up new nesting boxes in the woods. Plus a few other jobs the kids can be hands on with.

We all know how important it is to educate the next generation that a syndicate is not all about shooting.
But most importantly making the land we look after a better place. With the help of all that are involved and of course basc
 
With the help of the basc team I will be having a day with the young beaters and children who are involved on our shoot. We are hoping to put up new nesting boxes in the woods. Plus a few other jobs the kids can be hands on with.

We all know how important it is to educate the next generation that a syndicate is not all about shooting.
But most importantly making the land we look after a better place. With the help of all that are involved and of course basc
Thank you for sharing that and great to hear of your efforts engaging young people in your area.
 
I really cant say what's going on in Britain , and how the popular mood is there towards shooting and hunting. I will separate those two expressions here , as I know that what we call hunting, you guys call shooting. First of all, shooting ( and I dont mean hunting) is the second biggest sport in Norway, after football. It is very popular, and the biggest events are broadcasted on national tv in prime time, with high viewers ratings. Regarding hunting, the popular mood is also very pro hunting. We have 500000 hunters out of a population of 5 million. Our 5 million males/females/kids/babies/ oldies. The problem is if we let ourselves became discurages by the very loud and noisy anti hunting groups. I say groups, but in reality we are talking of two or three rabid and obnoxious persons who call reporters and announce that they will have a rally and protest against the cruelty of hunters. And possibly hand out prepared statements to them, for them to print. And they doo. Cause reporters love drama and click bait. And we are lead to believe that we have a large popular opinion against us. But it isn't so. All this screamers with pink hair have in reality zero influence. On others than the media, who loves to have them generate clicks and thereby help sell ads.
 
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