Shoot Benchmarking Survey

Shoot Benchmarking Survey
Costs and Outlook

27 July 2017, by Andrew Teanby

Over the last three seasons, shoots have started to control their costs better


Total variable costs per bird put down

Birds, feed and pay for beaters and pickers-up account for 75% of the variable costs for an average shoot. Compared to the 2015/16 season, the bird cost per bird put down was 7% lower (£3.04). The average feed cost was 3% higher, while the costs for beaters and pickers-up were similar. The total variable costs per bird put down were £8.05, 16p (2%) lower than in the 2015/16 season. The difference is small, but can be significant because it will have a larger impact on the cost per bird shot, and we generally find around 15% of shoots are within £1 per bird of breakeven.

Total fixed costs per bird put down

Total fixed costs per bird put down are lower than variable costs per bird put down. Most of a shoot’s fixed costs relate to salaries, staff housing, rent for sporting rights, cover crops and vehicles. For the 2016/17 season, fixed costs per bird put down averaged £4.91, very similar to that of the 2015/16 season.

Total costs per bird put down*

Overall total costs were 2% lower than for the 2015/16 season, at £12.55 per bird put down. They are 9% below their peak of £13.76 in 2013/14. Since then many shoots have successfully cut costs and increased incomes. This means fewer are making a loss per bird shot. In 2013/14, 59% were making a loss. This has now reduced to 43%.

*This only includes shoots that provided variable and fixed-cost data, so is not the sum of total variable costs plus total fixed costs as those calculations included shoots that only provided one set of costs.


Marginal changes for 2016/17 Variable costs were down, fixed costs up and total costs have decreased

Total costs

Source: Savills Research


Shoots expectations for the 2017/18 season, were, in general, less optimistic than a year ago. The picture for bookings was mixed, with some reporting they had more and others fewer than usual.

On a positive note, we found that 72% of shoots were planning to release the same amount of birds for next season – 5% higher than a year ago, which suggests numbers being released are stabilising.

Also, 58% of shoots were planning to increase their charges for the 2017/18 season, typically by £1-2 per bird, with the average being £1.83. Charges are generally increased on 50 to 60% of shoots each year.

Our research shows that shoots in high-demand areas, offering high-quality sport and excellent hospitality easily fill their days. So, the reduced optimism would seem to be linked to wider concerns, which include:

Risk of disease There are concerns about an outbreak of avian influenza and its impact on rearing and release plans

Public opposition Shoots could attract more attention from anti-shooting activists

Game meat sales Several game dealers have gone out of business, and shoots need a sustainable market for their game meat

Rating of sporting rights Currently applicable in Scotland, this will be an added cost to factor into shoot budgets

Brexit This could be a concern if the supply of eggs, chicks or poults is restricted from the continent, from where a high proportion are currently imported.

These concerns are significant, but can be overcome, particularly if shooting bodies and interested parties work together. Now, more than ever, it is time to highlight the conservation and economic benefits that shooting can bring to all corners of the UK.

Key Contacts

Andrew Teanby

Andrew Teanby

Rural Research

+44 (0) 1522 507 312


David Steel

David Steel

Head of Office
Head of Sporting


+44 (0) 1200 411 050


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