grouse moor licensing

The charm of walked-up grouse shooting

Tramping across heather is mesmeric. One step, another; one step, another. Horizons and granite grab the gaze and it’s hard to focus on the small, be it a flutter of brown as a meadow pipit rises or the red of carnivorous sundews awaiting the next midge to err from the safety of the nearby crusted peat. And then…

clay shooter

A lesson on driven grouse targets

Although the RBSS is a clayground, gameshooting tuition is very high on its agenda. The school has an excellent grouse butt and 25-bird sequence, which ends in a four-clay “covey”. Among several of the school’s old- timer instructors is Gordon Robinson, who had volunteered to offer his advice on how…

RSPB

Are the RSPB pro or anti-shooting?

Britain’s heather moorlands are both beautiful and rare, and they owe their existence to grouse shooting. If we are going to maximise the wildlife in these upland habitats, it is vital that conservation charities and gamekeepers can work closely together. This can be a fraught relationship; moorland gamekeepers fund their…

Heather Burning

Burning heather: an issue of moorland management

Why do we burn heather moorland? The practice of muirburn – or burning heather, as it’s more commonly known by the practitioners -is extremely old. It was originally done to produce fresh grazing for animals, as it still is over huge swathes of the planet, though not on heather moorland.…

Burning moorland

RSPB criticised for twisting scientific evidence

The charity has said that heather burning on grouse moors is a “damaging practice”, basing its statements on a research paper written by an RSPB scientist and requesting government involvement last year. However independent scientists have studied the evidence and say that the RSPB press statements show “only passing resemblance to…

Grouse moor management

Grouse shooting: why moorland managers are conservation heroes

If the critics are to be believed then the picturesque patchwork of heather glens and valleys that comprise our nation’s grouse moors is a battlefield between gamekeepers and wildlife. Some groups and individuals who call themselves conservationists believe that the faults and failings of driven grouse shooting are so systemic…

Dunlin

Endangered birds thriving on Scottish grouse moors

There are 81 species of bird — many red-listed as being of conservation concern — thriving on Scottish grouse moors, according to a new report, published last month by the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association. Many species of bird faring better on managed moors The study conducted wildlife audits on three “key”…

Women shooters

‘Major upturn’ in women shooters this grouse season

This year’s grouse shooting season has seen an ‘major upturn’ in demand from women shooters and the increasingly popular all women shooting clubs according to reports from The Gift of Grouse campaign and Scottish Moorland Group. Estates such as Leys Estate and Castle Fraser Farms in Aberdeenshire have tailored days to suit…

Fareshare logo

Charity urges shooters to give grouse to the homeless

An initial batch of 1,300 birds, shot at the start of this year’s grouse season, was distributed to food banks and other charitable causes in September. The organisers now hope to expand the charity scheme to include shoots for pheasants and other game. The meat is being distributed by Fareshare,…

Honeybee keeper

Managed heather moorland helps Scottish honeybees thrive

Across parts of Scotland honeybees and honey producers are flourishing thanks to the red grouse, going some way to counter concerns of a bee decline across the country – with the poor summer this year not helping the situation. Heather is central to the red grouse’s diet There are encouraging…

grouse shooting

Rural communities highlight importance of grouse shooting

A new report published today shows the importance of grouse shooting and moorland management in supporting fragile rural communities. Created by Scotland’s Rural College and the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College it focuses on two areas of Scotland – the Angus Glens…

hen harrier

Grouse moors fledge more hen harriers than other areas

Five of the twelve nests were monitored either by local raptor workers or a combination of organisations including Natural England and the Forestry Commission, and with the full cooperation of the private landowners all were successful in fledging chicks. However of the remaining seven nests monitored by the RSPB, one…

grouse butt

Government comes out in favour of grouse shooting

Dr Avery’s petition is founded on his premise that: “Grouse shooting for ‘sport’ depends on intensive habitat management which damages protected wildlife sites, increases water pollution, increases flood risk, increases greenhouse gas emissions and too often leads to the illegal killing of protected wildlife such as hen harriers.” The shooting…

grouse butt

How to shoot grouse

I’m fascinated with wild game and especially grouse. I was lucky to spend my teen years on holiday in Scotland learning and helping the grouse keepers for a few weeks every summer. I could take you to the exact butt where I shot my first grouse at 14. Not only…

beaters and pickers up

Cancelled grouse shooting “will hit rural businesses”

Many rural workers could be out of a job this season as up to 70 per cent of grouse shooting days face cancellation in some regions of the country, suggested the Moorland Association (MA) last week. Prolonged extreme weather conditions, described by the MA as “the worst breeding conditions in…

Glen Clova

Local grouse communities caught in the crossfire

The grouse shooting season is now in full swing – following the annual war of words between the anti-shooting lobby and country sports enthusiasts that it always ignites. However Scottish locals who live and work alongside the grouse moors and depend upon the sport for their livelihoods take a more…

grouse shooting

Guns for grouse shooting

Of course, this brings a particular set of safety concerns, but any good moorland shoot will have very strict standards by which you will be expected to behave to reduce the risk of injury. Practice, practice and more practice Given the cost of a day’s grouse shooting, the distance you will…

chef Tom Kitchen

Chefs and moor workers give public a taste for wild game

“Our group is about showing working life on the moors and at this time of the year, all the estate workers are really busy round-the-clock getting ready for the grouse season,” said Helen Savage, Co-Ordinator of the Lammermuirs Moorland Group. Fresh game is already supplied to the restaurants of Michelin…

Hungarian Vizsla

Hunting grouse in the hills with vizslas

West is best? Well, that depends. Some years ago, I lived, worked and sought my sport in the north-west Highlands of Scotland. It is an area of exceptional natural beauty, where precious few people reside. The locals call mountains “hills” and wide- open vistas are the norm — on a…