Prospects for the grouse season

There is no more enjoyable prediction in the shooting calendar than that of forecasting the coming grouse season. Whilst no two moors will ever see the same results, the annual look-ahead spells out the general success of the breeding season and how busy the moors will be as we venture into Autumn.

Following last year’s apocalyptic weather, remember the Beast from the East, it was always going to take some time to fully recover.

This year BASC staff, Duncan Thomas and Dr Colin Shedden, give their predictions for the forthcoming grouse season.

Duncan Thomas, BASC’s northern regional director, said: “Grouse shooting prospects for the coming season in the north of England are looking patchy, some early reports looked optimistic but final counts this last week have revealed bad news again. Many Moors have cancelled most dates. Slightly better results further East but restraint will be shown again.

“A decent Spring saw some strong grouse broods, plus plenty of additional success including many red-listed species, from curlew and lapwing, to many species of birds of prey.

“Gamekeepers have been working tirelessly over the last few months for the benefit of all flora and fauna. Worryingly heather beetle continues to be a challenge in specific areas affecting heather growth.”

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “The key ingredient for a productive breeding season is spring turning up on time and the weather not being overly dramatic. Other than May being unseasonably cold in some parts of Scotland we have seen reasonable conditions.

“However, the most recent counts have indicated that in many areas, particularly the high ground, prospects do not look great. Some areas, such as Perthshire, have fared better and while the season will be better than last year it will, like the north of England, be patchy.”

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