There was no doubt that we had great conditions throughout the spring/early summer for nesting grouse to lay, hatch and bring up their chicks. There were sustained periods of quality weather which importantly didn’t drop below 12 degrees even at night. Initial counts in the spring were very encouraging then good sized broods were seen in the Dales and North York Moors at a record high. June brought a period of sustained rain which luckily was after the chicks had developed their waterproofing on their feathers. BUT the early warm weather did bring on the dreaded tick for a few moors which saw some of their brood sizes depleted. We do not think this has affected numbers as they had all left a strong stock from last year and large broods hatched.
Over all we are encouraged by what we have heard across the North of England, we all know that the keepers don’t like to say much until the word go, but we will be expecting to see a good showing of grouse certainly on our managed moors throughout this season.
As always there are certain moors and areas that do not have the anticipated numbers that were expected and we spare a thought for those areas and their staff who work very hard at maintaining their grouse stocks. There have been a number of reports of heather beetle in certain areas and bulgy eye which we will be monitored as we progress through the season.
We would expect to see some cancellations as the season progresses and we have seen some already, but on the bright side for you and us at Dalesport, we should be able to arrange shooting on not only our managed moors but a huge array of moors across the country if you are cancelled somewhere else – God forbid!
We are excited to get underway, the overall impression from most moors is that we will have a great showing of wild birds across the UK. Given the positive reports we are expecting to see some extra days being put on by many grouse moors across the north and Scotland at fixed price rates and we will be sure to keep you posted with any availability we have for those.
Lastly, we recommend that all of our clients try to eat as much game as possible this season, as you will know this is an area which we as an industry need to pull together and act on now. Please do have a look at The Country Food trust and see what they are doing as a charity to encourage the eating of wild game and the feeding of hundreds of thousands of homeless people across the UK. Also I would encourage you to become an Associate Member of the Moorland Association if you have not already, to help us fight to keep this wonderful and traditional sport going for future generations. Associate Members will receive regular Newsletters addressing relevant issues within the industry of grouse shooting. Please see details on how to join here.