taking aim from butt Jack Fern's Grouse Day 2003Prospects for this year’s grouse season are looking good according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

The 12th of August, known as the Glorious 12th, marks the start of the grouse shooting seasons in the UK. The wild red grouse is known as the king of the gamebirds and it only thrives on carefully managed moorland and is only found in the UK. The grouse season runs from August 12th to December 10th on mainland Great Britain and from August 12th to November 30th in Northern Ireland.

Actively managed grouse moors are found mainly in Scotland and Northern England. The main influence on annual grouse numbers is the weather during the breeding season. Following the late cold snap in 2013, conditions have been largely good.

Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “In marked contrast with last year’s counts, this year covey size is excellent which indicates that it has been a really good breeding season for grouse. Overall the picture looks really good for most of Scotland – this could be the best year for 10 years. Country sports such as shooting, stalking and fishing contribute around £350million to the Scottish economy per year and grouse shooting makes up around 10% of that figure.”

Duncan Thomas BASC’s North West regional officer said: “Most moors are reporting a good count this August with prospects for a superb season ahead. Some have counted double those of last year with brood sizes looking very healthy. Guns will have to be very selective early in the season as there are numbers of young birds around indicating either late broods or some second broods. Guns should concentrate on lead birds and singles and take them well out in front.”

To see a selection of film clips on the Glorious 12th including footage of moorland gamekeeper Robin Varley and game chef Robert Owen Brown, please click here

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