The boost the grouse shooting season gives to the rural economy will be essential in supporting recession hit Scotland, says the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA).

In advance of this week?s opening day, SGA chairman Alex Hogg said he was remaining positive for the season, despite predictions that snow and rain earlier in the year caused fluctuations in grouse breeding success, and he highlighted the importance of the sport: ?Some people hold a mixed view of landowners? wealth in Scotland, but what must be understood is that these people are creating and supporting local employment, keeping schools in remote communities open and ensuring that there are opportunities for young people to remain in towns and villages. The money is also staying in Scotland, because it trickles down through these communities. I don?t think this is something to belittle, especially in the current economic landscape with zero growth now forecast for the UK in 2012. It is something which should be embraced.?

The SGA pointed to the fact that sporting shooting is worth £240million a year to Scotland and supports more than 2,600 jobs, often in economically sensitive rural areas with limited opportunities for young people.

The rest of this article appears in the 15th August issue of Shooting Times.

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The rest of this article appears in the 4th July issue of Shooting Times.

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