The grouse season may have begun but relatively few moors are ringing with the sound of guns. BASC has reported that large numbers of moors have opted not to shoot, or to delay the start of the season, owing to the effects of this year’s extreme weather conditions.
Grouse numbers have suffered owing to the hard weather experienced earlier in the year during the ‘Beast from the East’, followed by a hot and dry summer.
The situation appears particularly difficult in the north of England. Duncan Thomas, BASC North director, said: “The situation is localised and some moors with a more positive aspect may still shoot. On a visit I made to a moor in the run-up to the start of the season, one side of the moor was covered in healthy heather and grouse and the other was barren with heather beetle and there were no grouse.
“There are no guarantees shooting will resume next year. The restraint shown to allow the grouse numbers to recover should be applauded.”
In Scotland, the prospects were said to be almost as challenging as in the north of England.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “Nearly all driven days have been cancelled with only a few estates hoping that they may manage a day later on in the season.
“The situation in Scotland, also affected by the very dry weather, may have been compounded by reported high numbers of tick that can actually kill grouse chicks.”