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Grouse shooting season closes on record high

Grouse shooting seasons closes on record high.
Few moors failed to recover from the cold weather and agents have reported that prospects for next year were good.

?The 2010 grouse season in Scotland has been one of the best for a number of years,? said Robert Rattray, a senior partner with independent property consultancy and sporting agency CKD Galbraith.

?It may be more than coincidence that this last excellent season followed one of the coldest winters since the infamous big freeze of 1962/63, which was also followed by one of the best grouse seasons ever recorded.?

?Demand for driven grouse shooting remains strong, and with prices in the region of £140 to £150 plus VAT per brace, there were plenty of experienced teams looking for days of 100 or more brace where possible. This year?s bags ranged from the modest 40 to 50-brace days to upwards of 300 brace, with many estates reporting their best grouse numbers for almost as long as they could remember.?

Numbers were also high in England.

James Chapel, director of William Powell Sporting, said: ?The 2010 grouse season has been another record year for a number of moors in England. Muggleswick again broke the season and day-bag records, while Gunnerside and Wemmergill have lived up to their famous reputations and Stags Fell has had an awesome amount of grouse. Other highlights have included a superb effort at Coniston and Grassington and, farther south, Broomhead, Strines, Howden and Midhope were particularly good.?

Rob Fenwick, managing director at E.J. Churchill, said that on occasions he was ?speechless? at the number of grouse shown.

?For the first time in years it was good to see moors in Derbyshire and the Lammermuirs also showing that they had a serious weight of grouse,? he said.

?Extra days then followed and many people got to shoot on moors that they had never experienced before.

?As we got into October, the worm counts started to come in, which were surprisingly low. This meant that many moors decided to finish shooting earlier than normal, to try to preserve a good breeding stock for next season. If Mother Nature doesn?t try to ruin things, we could be in for an exciting 2011, with many moorland owners and keepers expecting big things.?

Thomas Florey, partner at Smiths Gore, agreed. ?Almost everywhere has had a good season after fears of decimation from the hard winter,? he said.

?We forget that grouse are a subarctic bird and well adapted to harsh winters. From Derbyshire to Inverness, reports have been mainly good, with only the occasional blip in some areas.?

An ?occasional blip? was also mentioned by James Chapel, of William Powell Sporting.

He said: ?The Borders have faired reasonably well, particularly Byrecleugh, Mayshield and Leadhills, but some moors never recovered from the hard winter.?