The value of shooting to the Borders has been made clear from research by leading countryside organisations published earlier this month.
Shooting is worth £200 million a year to Scotland, according to the figures outlined in a report compiled by Public and Corporate Economic Consultants – the most comprehensive research ever undertaken into the economic, environmental and social contributions of shooting in the UK.
The Value of Shooting reveals the sport supports the equivalent of 8,800 full-time jobs in the country. Shooting influences the management of around 4.5million hectares of land and at least 120,000 people in the country shoot live quarry, clay pigeons or targets.
In addition, the amount of conservation work provided by people who shoot in Scotland amounts to the equivalent of 3,900 full-time conservation jobs.
People who shoot spend £2.5billion each year on goods and services, bringing income into rural areas, particularly in the low-season, for tourism.
The research shows that an established shoot generates local economic benefits for businesses in a radius of up to 15 miles.
Peeblesshire gamekeeper and long-serving chairman of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Alex Hogg, welcomed the report.
He said: “While the economic benefits of shooting are well known, helping to prop up rural communities and keep young people in these areas, what is less understood is the conservation benefits.
“This report quantifies this very well. You would effectively have to pay the salaries of 3,900 full-time conservationists to replicate the vital habitat and predator control work undertaken by those who shoot in this country. Would this be possible for a nation of our size, using any other model? If you lost this from the Scottish economy, imagine the detrimental impact it would have on our wildlife and biodiversity.
“It is a model which provides benefits at all levels, from community wellbeing to helping declining bird species, and is irreplaceable.
“Not only should this be recognised at policy level, it is time there was more understanding of, and support for, shooting’s role in how our countryside works from bottom up.”