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Rural communities highlight importance of grouse shooting

Locals in key rural areas of Scotland have highlighted the positive effects grouse shooting has on their lives economically and socially and the conservation benefits it brings

grouse shooting

Gamekeepers from the Angus Glens Moorland Group in Edinburgh

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 and the Monadhliaths. A copy of the report can be read here.

Of the communities surveyed:

  • 35% of those in the Angus Glens and 21% in the Monadhliaths reported a direct or indirect dependence on the grouse shooting industry for their livelihoods
  • Gamekeeping staff across both areas combined totalled 92 full-time employees

“A valuable contribution to the rural economy”

Speaking at the launch of the report in Edinburgh this week, Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to maximising tourism grown and to supporting field sports. Shooting makes a valuable contribution to the rural economy, including in the winter months.”

The findings of the report are also supported by the simultaneous release of a feature film ‘The Untold Story: Driven Grouse Shooting’ – made by gamekeepers demonstrating the impact on local communities and the wide range of benefits grouse shooting and moorland management delivers both economically and environmentally.

“As the findings show, the grouse shooting industry supports local businesses in a number of ways including spending by estates or shooting parties in the local garages, vehicle dealerships, butchers, shops, restaurants and hotels. This report and the film created by Angus gamekeepers shows the impact upon real people” says Andrew Hopetoun, chairman of the Scottish Moorland Group, commenting on the report.

Garry MacLennan, head keeper at Invermark Estate in the Angus Glens, said: “Our group made this film because we wanted people to understand what we do and how our work is linked with the success of our communities.

“Our families live and work in these rural areas. Our kids go to the local schools. There aren’t any other large industries here to support the local people and trades. Grouse shooting is a massive part of life here. Without it, our glens and villages would suffer and people would have to look elsewhere to work and bring up their kids.”

Scottish gamekeepers

Gamekeepers from the Angus Glens Moorland Group with Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business and Tourism

Iain Hepburn, head keeper for Dunmaglass Estate, added: “Reports such as this and the gamekeepers’ film are going to help explain the huge amount of work that goes into moorland management and why it is so important that is is widely supported.”

Government supports grouse shooting

The Government has also recently voiced its support for grouse shooting in response to a petition to ban driven grouse shooting by Mark Avery, former conservation director of the RSPB.

hen harrier

Grouse moors have successfully fledged hen harriers

In addition, grouse moors appear to be more successful at fledging the protected hen harrier.  Of 12 hen harrier nesting attempts in England this year, six were successful and four of these were on, or adjacent to, moorland with grouse shooting.