After a cold spring the grouse season looks doubtful.
Keepers at The Game Fair were reporting hens still sitting on the nest just three weeks ago.
To clarify the situation, Shooting UK spoke to Lindsay Waddell, former chairman of the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) and a retired gamekeeper.
Grouse season in 2021
He confirmed that in general things looked pretty quiet, saying: “We’ve had horrible spring frosts. In the North Yorkshire moors and lower reaches of the Pennines there are a few grouse about but in general it’s going to be a pretty bleak season, there are a lot of moors not shooting at all.” (Read more on who buys grouse moors.)
Asked how this would affect the grouse season in 2021, Lindsay replied: “The moors will be trying to conserve the stock they have already got but I’m hearing that on some moors they’ve counted less grouse now than when they did the spring count. They are not going to have even as big a stock next year as this time.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean this will be a disaster as long as we have reasonable stock – as long as we don’t get another spring like the last two we’ve had. That’s two in a row now. A lot of places have shot very few grouse for two years now and in recent history that is pretty unprecedented, since the advent of the wide use of medicated grit.”
“There’s going to be a lot of fat, bored gundogs at the end of the year. There will be little for them to do.”
Of course, this does not bode well for youngsters who are seeking to earn money by working on grouse shoots. The hospitality sector will also be hit but fortunately have been busy due to summer ‘staycations’ this year.
Poor heather quality
Not all bad news
There will be more news on the forthcoming grouse season in next week’s Shooting Times.