This year’s grouse shooting season looks set to be a memorable one if the nation’s best gamekeepers are proved to be correct. With the Glorious Twelfth celebrated today, gamekeepers say prospects for the season look good thanks to the mild winter and warm spring we’ve experienced this year. While those conditions are believed to have boosted grouse numbers the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) says prospects are also good for the threatened curlew and lapwig species.
Excellent heather management and predator control by gamekeepers has helped produce a surplus of grouse for sport, which has also benefitted the threatened curlews and lapwigs. “The prospects for the grouse season look good,” SGA chairman Alex Hogg has reported. “The weather has been right for the birds, and they’ve feathered up well, while there’s also been enough water and a healthy insect hatch.” Mr Hogg said that it should secure a good season for sporting visitors to the Highlands, which will, in turn, help Scotland’s small rural communities, its tourism businesses, shops and retailers. The season is expected to net Scotland’s economy around £32m. While the economic benefits of a good season are welcome, Mr Hogg said he was more pleased to see Scotland’s native birds thriving. He said: “The most pleasing thing for us, is the fate of our fragile species." Mr Hogg added how conservation work by gamekeepers has seen a full head count take place of all the country’s curlews and lapwigs — work paid for by grouse. “Since sustainable grouse shooting helps estates to pay keepers for such vital conservation work without public money,” Mr Hogg argued, “the season helps to prevent afforestation of vast swathes of Scotland’s heather moorland, which is more endangered than the rainforest. To celebrate the Glorious Twelfth why not buy one of our charming grouse themed products? You could have breakfast from a grouse egg cup before putting on one of several silk grouse ties and heading out to shoot.