Shooting game in national parks, popularity on the increase
A survey done by the Campaign for National Parks (CNP) has shown that those who live or work in one of the country’s national parks support shooting. Field sports were named number three on the CNP list of popular recreational activities. The category had 23 different options. The sport ranked even higher among those who do not live or work within a national park, reaching second on that list. For this survey, “park” means one of the UK’s 15 National Parks. These areas are protected environments that have been recognized for their cultural heritage, wildlife, and beauty.
This is the first time shooting has ranked on the list of most popular sports. An option for “other” was added after the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Countryside Alliance both criticized the CNP for not including shooting in the voting. The sport has, however, been included in the part of the survey asking respondents what activities they believe need to be banned. It’s especially notable that shooting ranked as high as it did since those responding had to write it in after selecting the “other” option.
The only sport that visitors to national parks ranked higher than shooting was walking. For residents, walking also placed first, with observing wildlife coming in second. Experts noted that shooting actually supports both of these activities. Those who go out walking are likely to see more wildlife if shooting in the parks is well-managed.
Liam Stokes, the head of shooting for the Countryside Alliance, also noted that shooting ranked quite low on the section of the poll asking what activities should not be allowed in the parks. Out of the 14 different options, shooting was ranked number 12. This indicates that even those who do not participate in shooting see it as something that should not be done.
Shooting does help support parks in a number of other ways as well. Many respondents noted their love of the amazing views found in the parks. Shooting supports these gorgeous views through the conservation activities of shooters, which include planting trees and feeding wildlife.
BASC Policy Development Manager Dr. Conor O’Gorman added that the survey’s results speak loudly to the public’s support of shooting. He believes the economic and social benefits of shooting have had a direct positive impact on those living in national parks and on both the wildlife and the landscape of the parks.