Despite everything the British weather has thrown at the wild red grouse, it has survived the winter well and shooting prospects for the season remain positive.

That is the view of the Moorland Association, whose members manage grouse moors covering over a fifth of the uplands in England and Wales. Chairman Edward Bromet said: ?As always, the weather this year has played a huge role in the success of breeding for the wild red grouse and other important ground-nesting birds.

?Despite another very harsh winter, the grouse have come through it in healthy condition, helped by strong populations left from the very good 2010 breeding season.?

According to Mr Bromet, the driest and warmest April on record could have impacted negatively on wild red grouse numbers, as an increased number of visitors and their dogs led to unintentional disturbance. This can cause the hidden birds to desert their nests, leaving eggs to chill and die.

By late May, daytime temperatures plummeted to just five degrees, with night frosts, lashing rain and hail, and storm-force winds blowing insects out of reach.

The rest of this article appears in 3rd August issue of Shooting Times.

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