To mark the start of the grouse shooting season today, the following message is from BASC chairman Eoghan Cameron:

If you are fortunate enough to be out shooting on the Glorious Twelfth or over the coming months, be it as a gun, beater or behind the scenes, enjoy yourself and revel in the majesty and traditions of the great British countryside.

As the grouse season commences, our thanks must go to the keepers who live and breathe their moors. Their diligent and dedicated work is vital to conservation and the rural economy, ensuring that landscapes and habitats are secured and enhanced for future generations.

The overall prospects for grouse this year are a mixed bag, but it is reassuring to know that this essential work shall continue. In areas less likely to enjoy a productive grouse season, the challenge for rural businesses, whose prosperity relies to such a significant degree on grouse shooting, cannot be overstated. My thoughts are with these businesses and I would urge the shooting community to do what we can to support them as the prime tourist season draws to a close.

Grouse shooting may never have been under greater scrutiny, but one shouldn’t for a second be seduced by the idea that the sport is destined for the rocks. Indeed, there is much to be optimistic about. The shooting and countryside organisations are now operating in a more effective and collaborative manner than ever. The benefits from grouse moor management are undeniable, whether shooting takes place or not. Cool, yet determined heads and coordinated messages are now the order of the day for each of us.

Everyone in the shooting community bears a weighty responsibility in safeguarding the sport for future generations. There are no exceptions. Poor or illegal practices, which bring our sport into disrepute and expose it to immense harm, must not be tolerated by anyone, whether landowner, gamekeeper or gun. Speak openly with confidence and patience about the inimitable benefits shooting brings to our countryside and beyond. Confine to the endangered list reasons to doubt the integrity, resolve or unity of our voice.

The Glorious Twelfth heralds the much-anticipated arrival of the new shooting season. As we enter this year’s season, let us each make a personal commitment to safeguarding our honourable sport for many more glorious decades and generations to come.

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