No grouse shooting – but work goes on

The scale of conservation work going on across the UK’s uplands continues to be great, despite many shoots reducing or outright cancelling their grouse days this year.

Days have been cancelled to allow grouse numbers to recover from the catastrophic effects of this year’s extremes of weather.

But BASC has found that conservation work continues across moors in England and Scotland.

Chairman Peter Glenser said: “While there is disappointment that people aren’t shooting, we need to remember that the excellent conservation work carried out as a part of grouse shooting will continue. If it wasn’t for grouse shooting, that conservation work would not exist in the first place.

“The lack of grouse shooting this year should highlight exactly what grouse shooting means to local communities; its true benefits will be more apparent in its absence. Hotel bookings will be cancelled; pubs, restaurants and shops will lose trade and the impact will be felt in the isolated rural communities that grouse shooting supports.

“The knock-on effect on fragile local economies is likely to hit hard. But the conservation work will carry on. Gamekeepers will remain in post and the uplands they conserve will continue to support not only grouse, but a whole host of other, often threatened, wildlife.”

BASC used the first entry in its new blog, Offbeat, to look at the sustainability of grouse shooting and urge shoots to put on some walked-up days as a more affordable means of getting people into the sport. “A little more walked-up shooting will not replace the losses from a curtailed or cancelled driven programme,” said Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director. “However, it will keep some participation alive and, in future years, should allow us to say that many more than 40,000 people participate.”

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