New report shows the importance of game shooting to the Welsh public

“I am more active, and more engaged with nature and conservation due to my involvement in country sports,” said Sarah Finch when asked about her local countryside.

Carmarthenshire-based Sarah is one of hundreds of Welsh people whose views feature in Community Spirit, a new report from the conservation charity Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Cymru (GWCT).

Scientific research has shown that good shoot management can have a positive impact on our countryside, but what role does it play in the lives of ordinary people in Wales?

The GWCT has captured the experiences of people across the country, including what might happen if legal and political campaigns to restrict shooting were successful.

“A whole community would suffer,” said Hywel Davies from Denbighshire.

All ages and people from all backgrounds would not interact and it would be another nail in the coffin for the rural community.

His concerns were shared by many other participants in the study.

John Lynch of Conwy stated that “country life and traditions are not a thing of the past, they are here now, thriving, just, and have much to contribute to the future of our community, countryside and the wellbeing of thousands of people”.

Report gives a voice to the public

Sue Evans, director of GWCT Cymru, hopes that the report will give a voice to the often-overlooked shooting community:

This is the first time that those involved in game shooting in Wales have put in their own words as to why it is so important in their lives.

“The testimonies of 581 people have been collated and reviewed against the Welsh government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and they reveal not only how shooting is playing a crucial role in people’s health and wellbeing, but also that it brings together all ages and backgrounds and inspires a huge amount of volunteer work to enhance wildlife and biodiversity.

Shooting encourages wildlife and helps sustain a strong sense of community, people from all walks of life together doing something they are passionate about.

“I know people who don’t even shoot but only work their dogs, and youngsters who beat.

“To be honest, in this day getting young people to do anything other than sit on their phones on social media must be a benefit for their mental wellbeing,” she concluded.