The Grouse Season Review 2016

Grouse Shooting Review 2016 Season

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It was another mixed year for many moors across the UK, whispers of record bags travelled far and wide and yes, there were moors that achieved record bags and seasons across the UK, but there were also others who did not fire a shot.

Dalesport sold 97 days driven grouse shooting last season, so there was by no means a shortage of shooting here in North Yorkshire.

The very cold weather spell in May effected several moors across the UK with large hail storms hitting the high ground in Scottish Borders, Scotland and the Peak District. Some broods were decimated and never recovered, whereas others managed to produce second smaller broods which could be shot just a bit later than usual last season.

Scotland

Scotland was mixed as always; some Moors were breaking all-time records and others did not shoot. Most are hoping for a good year in 2017 as long as the weather allows good breeding conditions for the birds up north of the border. The height and harsher conditions will always be an issue in Scotland (the Lammermuirs were hugely effected by the hail storms May meaning that most did not shoot a single day last season), but they have left some good stock on the ground for 2017.

Pennines

Success for many of the Moors across the Pennines who were achieving huge bags across the whole season. Moors that had not shot the year before due to lack of stock reaped the rewards this year.

One issue they face in 2017 is high spring stock numbers. High density risk can cause issues with disease (it has been a very mild winter) and worm counts can be very high, if that can be controlled and they get the weather we all hope for they could be on for another great season in 2017.

Yorkshire Dales

Another consistently strong year for most of the moors in the Dales last season, there were a few moors that appeared short of birds but mid-season found them (late broods), but they have left a decent stock on the ground for this season. There was a lot of days being sold throughout the season in the Yorkshire Dales and this was exenterated by the cancellations from the North York Moors as the season progressed. Good days were still being sold all the way up to December and healthy bags were being achieved throughout the season. There are still a lot of grouse left on the ground going into 2017 and most are hoping for a stronger 2017 than the past few years, if the weather stays kind to us.

North York Moors

The North York Moors started well last season, but it also started to drop away faster than usual. Several Moors cancelled days from mid-September onwards and this caused a large surge of teams wanting to be placed into the Dales Moors last minute. A couple of Moors shot all the way through November and broke records last season, but most had stopped shooting by the end of October and will be hoping for a much more productive year in 2017 with good stocks left on the ground across the board due to an early end to the season for most.

Peak District

The Peak District suffered massively after some terrible rain and cold weather in May. This effected all the Moors in the area and meant that most Moors did not shoot at all last season. We hope they will be back up and running for the 2017 season though!

Conclusion

Our overall conclusion of last season was that it was by no means a red-letter year for grouse, but what we can see is that as moorland owners learn more about these wild birds and how to manage them, we are finding some consistency in producing good numbers of grouse across the country. We should always remember that the Red Grouse is a wild bird and nothing can be done to help them if bad weather does arrive in their main breeding period. They are not hand reared in sheds like our pheasants and partridges which means the upmost care must be taken to make their habitat perfect for them to thrive in.

This “Booking Period” (January 2017 – April 2017) we have seen record numbers of enquiries and teams wanting to shoot grouse next season. This is very encouraging for all our Moors and everyone involved within the sport. The growth and economical value provided by purchasers of grouse shooting will only help our Moor owners produce better wildlife habitats for not only red grouse, but thousands of other species that thrive in the moorland environment. Whilst our sport has been in the headlines over the past 12 months we all need to contribute to the sport so that we can enjoy it and sustain it for future generations.

*If you are wanting to book any grouse shooting for the coming season, please do get in touch at: theteam@dalesport.org or call one of our friendly team on: 01969 663 249

 

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