Poor weather delays grouse shooting season in parts of Scotland

August 11 2017, 3.45pmUpdated: August 12 2017, 12.03am
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The grouse shooting season will be delayed in some parts of Scotland due to poor weather, with some estates cancelling shoots.

Perthshire and southern parts of the country are expecting good results, but areas of the Highlands have suffered late snow and cold, wet weather in June.

This means that instead of launching on Saturday, some shooting programmes at estates have been cancelled or put on hold.

The 121-day grouse shooting season starts on August 12 each year, known as “The Glorious 12th”.

Robert Rattray, h ead of Sporting Lets, a division of Galbraith, said that estates take decisions after assessing their bird populations.

He said: “Some estates have already made their decision and some have cancelled part or all of their programmes, some will not be shooting at all, some will have reduced the number of days they are going to shoot.

“But some may find that as the season goes on they have more grouse.

“No estate wants to overshoot so they are very careful about what they commit to shooting.”

However even when scaled back, the economic contribution to national and local economies is expected to be significant.

Tim Baynes, director of the Scottish Moorland Group said: “The grouse industry is a lifeline for many young families and local businesses located in remote rural communities who rely on its employment opportunities both directly and indirectly.

“Continued moorland management is not only economically beneficial but is of huge benefit to many other moorland birds, some of which are endangered – including the curlew, which is on the red list for birds of conservation concern.”

Recent figures show more than £23 million flows directly into local businesses in trade generated by estate activity.

The Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group’s ‘Game for Growth’ strategy aims to increase the value of country sports to the Scottish economy by £30 million by 2020 – bringing the total to £185 million.

Although prospects for the season this year are something of a mixed bag, international interest in Scotland’s country sports has continued.

Andrew Grainger, of the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, said: “We are witnessing a continued level of enthusiasm this year from international tourists who are intent on sampling Scotland’s country pursuits.

“Scotland continues to attract a large number of European sports enthusiasts with increased interest this year from Scandinavia, Germany and France in particular, as well as North Americans who are particularly keen given the favourable exchange rates.”

An Environment Department spokeswoman said: “Leaving the EU provides an opportunity to design a new approach to agriculture that works for the UK.

“The Environment Secretary has made clear he wants to continue to go on generously supporting farmers for many years to come, but that the environmental outcomes of that spending must be clear.”

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