February 23, 2023
Mindful of the news that bird flu was rife and consumer uncertainty over the early announcements stating the 2022/23 season was not going to be shot with lead, industry confidence was low for most. The supply of chicks affected many, days were lost, some shoots couldn’t bear another difficult year after COVID, but we are a resilient lot!
Our Sport is one of passion,
‘A strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. A burning desire or a sense of purpose that gives meaning and direction’.
When cornered with our activity threatened, we should fight, invent, communicate and solve.
As the year developed and with this ethos, Sportarm was again at the forefront. We invested, our expanding teams communicated, we learnt, tested and believed in the alternative to lead shot so that we could advise our clients on its characteristics, we adjusted chambers and chokes. Steel shot proofed 100’s of guns, including many English side by sides, dispelling the myth that all these historic works of art were doomed. We were prepared and we embraced change!
Many shoots did the same where they could. Sourcing birds from new suppliers, adjusting budgets, stocks and the number of days, all to provide and feed our Sport. The demand and enthusiasm for shooting became stronger. Clients waxed lyrical about the days enjoyed, everyone appreciated shoots more and realised how precious they were, so grateful to be out, so what was the result? Across our stores our clients shopped, with money saved on reduced activity and an immense desire to talk to like minded sportsmen who fuelled their desires! They wanted new gear, steel proofed guns, special ordered made to measure pairs. They purchased the small bore guns they’d always thought about, commissioned alterations and renovations that they had put off for years.
As the season progressed, the thoughts and worries of a lead free season diminished. However, bird flu was still prominent and at the forefront of most shoot owners minds. Hoping and praying for containment, doing everything possible to protect their stocks. Eventually, we saw anxieties weaken with every new day under their belt reducing their risks. Hope and bird resilience became the topic around the table and the realisation that a full season was going to be enjoyed. As confidence grew plans for the 2023/24 season were already being made albeit in the knowledge that there might be restricted poult numbers. Attentions now turn to talks of incubators and self supply.
Could this be the future of our shooting journey? I think it might be, and also more importantly, the revival and start of a new burgeoning UK based supply chain.
So, regardless of level and however we are involved in this countryside activity, the 2022/23 season has taught me, we all succeed when we are driven by a strong feeling of enthusiasm and excitement, a burning desire and a sense of purpose that gives us meaning and direction.
We have Passion!