Researched and produced by economists at the Fraser of Allander Institute, Strathclyde University, the new report calls on policy makers to engage with the grouse shooting industry to ensure future sustainability.

The report revealed that alongside contributing tens of millions of pounds to the Scottish rural economy, the grouse shooting industry also supports over 1,072 jobs equivalent to full-time employment.

An online survey from the Scottish Countryside Alliance has also brought cheer to grouse shooters, with 95 per cent of those responding saying it would be ‘bad news for the Scottish countryside’ if grouse shooting were to stop.

The GWCT report also notes that 41 per cent of moors are now able to recover all the costs of producing grouse, a major improvement since the 1990s when only 1 per cent of grouse moors were profitable.

However, it also notes grouse numbers being shot are falling, with slightly less than half as many grouse being shot in 2009 as in 2001.

This comes amid wider concerns of grouse numbers generally falling.

However, pre-season grouse counts carried out by the GWCT in northern England and Scotland suggest this season could break records, with red grouse populations thriving in spite of the harshest winter conditions for 30 years.

Stewart Dunlop of the Fraser of Allander Institute said: “The data collected makes it very clear how grouse shooting directly benefits jobs and spending in remote rural areas in Scotland, and brings wider benefits for businesses trading on Scotland’s landscape and nature.”

The director of GWCT Scotland, Dr Adam Smith, said: “This report clearly shows Scotland is benefitting to the tune of millions of pounds from economically active moors, where grouse shooting is the main aim.

“It is therefore a grave concern that grouse numbers appear to remain under pressure from predation, disease and future afforrestation when shooting has such socio-economic benefits.

“The GWCT is working with the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association and Scottish Gamekeepers Association amongst others to ensure policies and tools are developed by Government and agencies to ensure grouse shooting can continue.

“Let’s hope the grouse season in 2010 allows businesses, communities and the economy to reap the rewards of hard working gamekeepers and other moorland managers.”