Shooting, hunting with shotguns and rifles!
Shooting is a popular country sport. It is a fundamental part of rural life, which brings pleasure to many and which is a major force for the conservation of wildlife habitats and rural landscapes. There are four main types of sporting shooting with shotguns in the UK; rough shooting, driven shooting, pigeon shooting and wildfowling. Stalking, the management of deer using rifles, is another form of shooting.
1.4 million Britons have at some point taken part in game shooting. People from all backgrounds, who appreciate the companionship, skill and access to wild places that the sport brings, enjoy shooting. It is a major employer, responsible for providing over 39,000 jobs and generating over £500 million per annum.
Shooting and nature conservation go hand in hand. Although the British countryside has been subject to enormous changes over the last 50 years, with the removal of many historic landscape features and wildlife habitats, shooting has served to protect large areas of traditional countryside. Farmers and landowners who enjoy shooting have resisted the financial pressures to grub up hedges and woodlands, or to drain wetlands, since these areas provide important habitats for game birds.
Only 2% of the land in Britain is covered by nature reserves. Farmers and landowners manage the vast majority –some 88% - and half of this sustains some form of shooting. Management of this land by gamekeepers ensures the survival not just of the pheasants, partridges and wildfowl which shooting sportsmen like to hunt, but of millions of other wild creatures such as songbirds and butterflies which share their habitats.