Commercial shooting defies popular perceptions. The sport has long developed into an industry, but today it is just as commercial as any other – democratised and available in packages to suit any sized pocket and demographic. But what makes for a successful commercial game shoot? What makes the best shoot providers tick? And is there still room in the market place for new blood? Land & Business sent Paul Millard and Robert Dangerfield to investigate.
Game shooting was once the preserve of landowners, the titled, the wealthy and well-connected. But in the latter years of the last century the doors began to open and it has since become accessible to all.
Today there is a larger population with a high disposable income, an increased appetite for access to the countryside and rural sport – but limited time. Equally, corporate hospitality has explored new territory. Step forward then, the new shooting providers. They have shaped their product to meet demand.
The outcome has been commercial shoots in new locations. Diversification has transformed traditional grazing farms into game-rearing country and bespoke shooting grounds have emerged. Entrepreneurship or financial pressures have seen great estates begin to open their gates. Twelve- bore has gone mainstream.
Testament to the wealth in the sport is the wide range of branded goods and services now available at the click of a mouse to a seemingly insatiable market. A significant part of the growing market is young, socially-diverse, urban and monied. The best shooting businesses are riding the wave and nurturing it.
This culture is keenly demonstrated in the Greater London area. Here a sport hitherto associated with the city gent who could go up-country at the weekend generates more turnover than it does in the whole of Wales. OK, there’s more money here, but today’s shooting offers a complete experience for the urban client. The sport is not exclusive to the rural population any more than any other contemporary source of relief from the typical daily nine ‘til five.
Follow the links below to see how four providers have redefined a once-exclusive sport to build highly competitive, dynamic enterprises – with powerful visions for the future: