THE SHOOTING sector is estimated to be worth £67.7 million per annum to the UK's economy.

The importance of the shooting sector to rural businesses has been underlined by new research from the University of Northampton.

In Scotland the grouse season is estimated to be worth £32 million each year, directly supporting 2,640 jobs.

The award-winning Allanton Inn in Berwickshire is one of many rural businesses which benefits from sporting visitors.

“Country sports are really important in Berwickshire - there are lots of sporting estates and the shooting season has a major impact on tourism." said owner Katrina Reynolds.

“Many of the visitors are from the UK although we have an increasing number from Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Eastern Europe, especially Latvia," she continued. "They love Scotland and its traditions. The shooting visitors extend the season into the Autumn and Winter so we have reliable revenue at a time when we wouldn’t normally be busy.”

The Allanton is embedded in the local community, providing jobs and training to young people and a full one-year apprenticeship to budding chef, Joey Brown.

Another rural business which has grown and expanded over the past 17 years is the Ayton Castle Shoot in Berwickshire, run by Thor Sondergaard. In recent years this has expanded to include Dunglass Estate and a full-time keeper has been employed. In addition, a new business has been established, Andersen & Sondergaard Wild Game Charcuterie, selling charcuterie made from grouse, pheasant and venison.

The Scottish Farmer:

In 2019 their salami was awarded a Great Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Food

Thor Sondergaard said: “I have developed the shooting business over the years and as well as taking on the full-time keeper at Dunglass, I also offer 20 seasonal jobs every year for beaters and pickers-up. These seasonal workers include everyone from young people still studying and one man who is 90 years old and still enjoying the work.

“Obviously 2020 is not a good year for tourism but in normal times we have visitors coming in April and May for deer stalking and from October to February for pheasant shooting. It’s a 50-50 split between those coming from Europe and from the rest of the UK. They stay in the local hotels, holiday cottages and B and Bs and eat in the local restaurants, so it’s a major boost for the rural economy.

Over 11,000 full-time jobs are supported as a direct result of sporting shooting in Scotland, often in remote communities.

A survey of five sporting estates in the Lammermuirs in 2017 showed that, on average, each created 110 days of shoot employment per year. This seasonal work is over and above the 45 full-time and five part-time jobs sustained by the five estates throughout the calendar year.

Rural businesses in the Lammermuirs benefited from trade with estates worth £466,274 on average in 2017.