TODAY is the traditional start of the red grouse shooting season,‘Glorious Twelfth’, but clay pigeons could hit the mark as a less expensive introduction to the world of shooting, according to one expert.

John Einig, who runs Waterperry Road Clay Pigeon Shooting Club in Holton, took up the sport 40 years ago after being wooed by the expertise needed to succeed.

He said: “It’s very competitive and takes a lot of skill to do well.”

The 65-year-old added it was 'completely different' to hunting live game. He said: “Obviously you’re not killing a living creature but we can also simulate all kinds of targets. With birds, they will do what they like on the field.”

While Mr Einig is not opposed to targeting live game due to the estimated £100m it generates annually across the UK, he says he always preferred using clay pigeons.

And it seems he is not alone, having noticed an increase in the number of people, especially women and youngsters, signing up for shoots,

He said: “Live game shooting, and grouse especially, is very expensive and is seems to mainly be done by wealthy foreigners who are willing to pay a lot of money.

“Clay pigeon shooting, on the other hand, is a lot more accessible because it is less expensive and appeals to a wider range of people. It really is a working man’s sport.”

The business owner added the sport had modernised a great deal since he started, with electric battery operated pullers now used instead of people.