SIR – October 1 marks the start of the game shooting season. Until February 1 groups of “guns” will be out at thousands of shoots across the county, hoping to bag themselves pheasant and other game.

In Britain, we should be proud of our shooting sports. Game management and conservation have helped shape our landscapes for generations, and that management is now involved in some two thirds of the rural land mass of the UK.

Within that area, nearly two million hectares are actively managed for conservation, with the equivalent of 16,000 full time jobs. Two million hectares represents 12% of the UK’s rural land.

As a result, wildlife thrives where land is properly managed for shooting – a sport worth £2 billion to the UK economy and involves more than a million people.

There are also real health benefits to eating game. Venison is high in protein, low in saturated fatty acids and contains higher levels of iron than other red meat, as do pheasant and partridge. It is also a wild, free-range alternative to farmed meat.

Adrian Blackmore, Director of Shooting, Countryside Alliance, Tinworth Street, London