Grouse live extra day as Glorious 12th falls on no-shoot Sunday
The start of the grouse shooting season – The Glorious Twelfth – starts today after it was put back because it fell on a Sunday.
Shooting parties had to wait until the 13th this year before heading on to Scotland’s grouse moors.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it is an offence to shoot grouse on a Sunday. Although there are no statutory restrictions in Scotland, custom is observed.
The season lasts to 10 December and grouse shooting has been estimated to bring £30 million to the rural economy.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) believes the economic value of the new grouse season will be vital to Scotland, even if the weather has an effect.
Some have predicted that wet weather may cause regional disparities this year and some estates are forecasting better sport later in the year. However, despite snow and rain causing fluctuations in grouse breeding success, the SGA still believes the boost to the rural economy will be crucial.
It has also been claimed that an EU ban on a herbicide used by spinach-growers on the Continent could damage moorland landscapes and the grouse shooting industry.
The ban on Asulam, which in the UK is applied by aerial spraying to keep bracken down on moorland, would leave hundreds of thousands of acres vulnerable to infestation by the plant, the Moorland Association warned.
As the shooting season gets under way, the association warned that without the chemical, heather moors would be taken over by bracken, damaging wildlife and moorland habitat and hitting the grouse industry.
MA vice-chairman George Winn-Darley said: “Without the government-approved chemical, successfully and safely used for 35 years, our countryside and rural livelihoods will suffer very serious consequences.
“This will not only adversely affect biodiversity, including red-list endangered species, but radically impact on grouse management, jobs and ultimately the appearance of globally important moors.”
He said grouse breeding would be hit, affecting the shooting industry which is worth £67 million a year and supports more than 1,500 jobs.
Controlling bracken on grouse moors also reduces numbers of the ticks responsible for spreading Lyme disease.
Moorland Association members manage 850,000 acres of heather moorland habitat for red grouse.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “Asulam is important for the control of bracken. We are continuing to support efforts to secure its approval by Europe, with appropriate conditions to protect people and the environment from harm.
“In the meantime, we are working within the present rules to ensure its continued safe and effective use.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West