January Newsletter

Happy new year! No, not that one. The turn of December 31st to January 1st is an excuse for a good party but it doesn’t change a lot in our world, we just keep right on shooting. The real time of transition and resolutions and looking to the future is surely the end of the shooting season. At BGA we have a free conference, a clay shoot and Q+A with Lord Botham, new Standards and new staff to get us thinking about what sort of season we want in 22/23.


The next twelve months will mark a significant year of change for game shooting. We know many game dealers have decided to cease taking lead-shot game this summer. Major retailers are telling us that the future of game has to be BOTH lead-free AND BGA-assured, and we must rise to meet this challenge. The next twelve months takes us into 2023, when many sporting agents have committed no longer to sell days from shoots that are not BGA-assured. Our new certification body, SAI Global, have been on the ground delivering audits and we know from feedback that shoots are finding them rigorous and at times quite demanding.


This transition to an assured sector is difficult, and as a community we are going through it at an unprecedented pace. Credible shoot assurance simply has to mean bringing accredited certification bodies onto our shoots and game farms if we are to have any chance of self-regulating in the eyes of Government, retailers and the public. We cannot mark our own homework. But we are working to make that process as easy as possible for those forward thinking members of our community ready to embrace assurance now.


We have a free symposium on 15th February, where I will be speaking on a lot of these issues. I would love for you to join us, and to send over any questions you would like me to address. We will also hear from Alex MacKellar, the field team leader for SAI’s auditors, who will explain the audit process, and from Highland Game’s Christian Nissen who will be talking about why we all need to go on this journey together.


If you like your updates with a little more bang, then perhaps you would like to register a team for the Lord Botham British Game Assurance challenge! Beefy is hosting the event to celebrate everything our community has achieved in the creation and adoption of BGA. There will be a Q+A with the man himself, who has swapped Lords for the House of Lords, for his unvarnished view of what shooting needs to do to safeguard the future.


Next month, we will be introducing you to our new Regional Development Officers, as they spend January getting their feet under their desks (in their home offices, they are of course based in their regions!). Gamekeeper and former game farmer Sam Phillips has joined us to look after shoots in Wales and the Midlands, and has introduced the newly updated Game Farm Standards here. These new officers are here to help all shoots and game farms join the assurance revolution, navigate the audits and play their part in building the self-regulatory shield around game shooting. Look out for next months update, when we will be explaining exactly what they will be doing to help you. Until then, enjoy the last few days of this season, and raise a glass to next.

Best wishes,


Liam Stokes

Chief Executive

British Game Assurance