Mixed picture for grouse season

It's a mixed picture for the grouse shooting season
It's a mixed picture for the grouse shooting season

Many of Scotland’s grouse moor owners are reported to be concerned that the shooting season, which traditionally gets under way tomorrow on the Glorious Twelfth, may not be as successful as early indicators had suggested.

It follows a late snowfall and heavy rain over the last few months,

Ralph Peters, head of estate management with Bidwells property consultants, Perth, said: “As usual it is a mixed picture and, with grouse counts still to even start on many estates, it will not be until it gets under way that the success or otherwise of the 2016 grouse shooting season can be judged,

“Up until mid-July there appeared to be a reasonable level of optimism across the country that this season would be a good, if not record-breaking, one.

“However, now there is a feeling that it will be far from a great year despite the fact that in many areas there was a good, healthy stock of grouse remaining to breed after last season.”

He added: “Although May was a reasonably warm month for much of the country, the weather during the crucial hatching period and since has been far from ideal with significant snow falling and lying on the higher ground - in some areas well into May and beyond. There have even been anecdotal reports of grouse hens laying their clutch of eggs on top of snow.

“Much of the rest of the country’s grouse areas have suffered as a result of deluges of rain. That said, there are a number of reports from across the country of very young birds which have been the product of second clutches which is likely to result in a delayed start to the season for some but a shoot programme going ahead nonetheless.”

Some grouse moors are rumoured to already be cancelling a significant number of planned driven days, if not entire shoot programmes, but more optimistic reports are that there are likely to be a good number of coveys as a result of stock left over from 2015 and surviving the winter relatively unscathed.