Shoot Cost Crisis
Are current Let Shoot day prices going to continue?
The cost of Pheasant and Partridge eggs, day olds and poults, have all risen considerably over the last couple of months. This is in part a supply issue (caused by the major supply problems due to Avian Flu in France), in part because of the effects of the Ukraine war, including on the price of Game feed, wheat, oil and then on top of that, the general cost increases which we have all been experiencing. If you add in a certain amount of “profiteering” by certain suppliers, the end result is a general price increase pretty well across the country of rented by the day shooting.
Prior to these issues coming to the fore, we were expecting for the 2022/23 season a range of prices per bird shot varying from perhaps £42 plus VAT to £50 plus VAT for a Pheasant (depending on demand, location and quality), and in some cases even higher for Partridges. What we are seeing now, is very little consistency in what is actually being paid with prices for this coming season being (on the whole!) in the region of £55 plus VAT to £70 plus VAT for a Pheasant and again in some cases even more for a Partridge, but there are very few Shoots this season running with just Partridges. We have however heard talk of Pheasants costing £100 per bird (we presume with no VAT, i.e. through a Sporting Club), but through our books, the highest price paid has been £66 plus VAT. Given that Grouse are currently at around £190 to £200 per brace, some Pheasant shooting will be starting to look very dear indeed if they are costing anywhere near £100 per bird!
It is a mug’s game forecasting, particularly in such a volatile market, but our view is that whilst we will see a gentle lowering of prices for the 2023/24 season, we are not at all convinced that we are going to be going back to anything like the levels that we saw in 2021/22. This is because there is a general inflationary pressure on almost everything we buy and the difficulties in Ukraine are going to adversely affect cereal and fuel costs for some time to come. Our best guess therefore is that people who take shooting by the day, (and even those who run their own Shoots or Syndicates), should get used to highish levels per shot bird for next season (2023/24), but probably and hopefully with a slight easing backwards on this year’s prices. By this, we are probably looking at a 10% reduction from prices being charged in 2022/23. Our advice would be to hope for this level, but it might not even be that much.
It is worth bearing in mind that running Game Shoots has always been a fairly marginal business, for all but the biggest and best operators. Very few of those people that run such Shoots are in business in a particularly large way and many of them are paying rents which are not yet showing signs of reduction, whilst at the same time, having to run a business which is so dependent on world commodity prices. We are already seeing quite a few of these operators close down and we are fairly sure that trend will continue, which will further reduce supply. Reduced supply is unlikely to lead to a reduction in the cost of shooting unless demand follows suit, and we do not think it will.