Grouse shooting season being hit by extreme weather, campaigners say

Many estates are delaying the start of the season. Picture: TSPL
Many estates are delaying the start of the season. Picture: TSPL
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Exceptional weather conditions are expected to hit the grouse shooting season, leaving a hit to rural economies, campaigners have said.

Severe late snow after March followed by extremely dry and hot conditions between May and July are believed to have reduced the number of the game birds successfully breeding.

Many estates are delaying the start of the season and there have been widespread cancellations of shooting programmes, according to the Gift of Grouse campaign.

Two areas which rely heavily on income from the sport are the Lammermuirs and the Angus Glens.

Helen Savage, co-ordinator of the Lammermuirs Moorland Group, said: “For young people in this area, shoot days can be a first introduction to the workplace.

• READ MORE: Tim Baynes: Don’t grouse about shooting – estates benefit wildlife and the economy too

“It is the chance to earn a bit of extra money over the season, develop team skills and confidence, and meet a wide array of people from all backgrounds.

“It will be disappointing not to see the same volume of visitors this year, however people have to think about future grouse stocks and sustainability.”

The grouse season in Scotland is estimated to be worth £32 million each year.

Sporting shooting supports 11,000 full-time jobs in the country, of which 2,640 are in the grouse sector.

The Gift of Grouse aims to highlight the importance of grouse shooting for Scotland, encompassing the economic, leisure, tourism and conservation benefits.

• READ MORE: Scots chefs call for more grouse dishes on UK menus

A campaign spokeswoman said: “The unpredictability of this iconic wild bird is part of what makes grouse shooting so sought-after at an international level and such an important element of the field sports tourism offer of Scotland.

“Grouse can bounce back remarkably quickly in the right weather conditions, so moor managers are careful to maintain their breeding stock ready for that recovery, hopefully next year.”

Shooting season for the game bird usually begins each year on August 12, known as the Glorious Twelfth, but will start this year on Monday as the traditional date falls on a Sunday.