Dalesport Grouse Season Review 2017
As we come to the end of what was another successful grouse shooting season we look at which areas of the country have performed best, and which have suffered and why that may be?
It was a funny year in the grouse world, everything went according to plan from day 1 of the hatching period, with warm conditions and no real rain for the first few weeks of the grouse chicks lives. We then continued after that period to have good weather and by the time we got to our summer counts many grouse moors were reporting record counts with some brood sizes being astronomically high. There were reports of keepers seeing broods of up to 20 birds, now if you look at what a very good brood size is in a good year 7/8 birds would be fantastic.
The word soon got around and people were starting to think that this could be a bumper year for the red grouse. October and November days were sold in a matter of minutes once people had heard about the counts and everyone awaited the 12th August eagerly to see what the moors had produced for the season ahead.
The Pennines got off to an amazing start to the season and they kept on going like this for the duration. It really is incredible to see such large stocks on the ground considering the hail that wiped out grouse chicks two years ago and left shoots with no shooting at all.
Dalesport was involved in a lot of shooting in the Pennines this year and all the moors we ended up visiting with our teams of guns did not disappoint. I would say that the Pennines performed the best across the UK as a whole and Dalesport hope to be able to offer our clients more opportunities to shoot grouse in the North Pennines for 2018 season and the future.
The Yorkshire Dales had a very mixed season. There were talks of record counts in central areas and if not record certainly very large counts throughout the summer on many of the moors. Yet when it came around to 12th August, a number of moors didn’t seem to have the stock on the ground that they had originally expected.
There were Moors in Nidderdale and Coverdale that did not shoot and, yet some Nidderdale Moors had a real bumper seasons. What was very interesting about Nidderdale and Coverdale is that Bulgy Eye was present on most of the moors throughout the season and whether this was something to do with a lack of stock on a number of the moors is a separate question in itself. Bulgy Eye is a problem for grouse moors and with no cure it is very hard to treat and manage going forward.
The Central Dales and Premier Grouse Moors provided some stunning shooting throughout the season for our clients across the board. The larger moors still seemed to be banging away well into November trying to thin the stock out before we headed into the winter months. Overall an average season if we take into account the shoots that could not fulfill their busy schedules, but most moors have left good stocks on the ground for next season.
North York Moors
The North York Moors have had a brilliant year, our managed moors have shot very well indeed throughout the season and we stopped shooting mid-way through November to leave a decent and healthy stock on the ground for next year. We have also had some brilliant days shooting on un-managed estates across the North York Moors, throughout all the months of the season. Like the North Pennines the North York Moors really have had a bumper year across the board and it has put them right back on the map for teams to take good reliable days driven grouse shooting.
Scotland in parts was fantastic with Perthshire, Lammermuirs and Deeside having great success. We only took a handful of days north of the border this year and what we saw was good. We did hear it has been mixed in Scotland this year, but this is always to be expected due the vast array of variables that the red grouse encounters in Scotland.
Across the UK I would say that everyone got off to a slightly slower start than expected after the counts we had seen throughout Spring and the Summer months. If you could jump on a day quick enough there was a nice bit of late grouse shooting available throughout November, but the price did stay high throughout the season.
We have seen an increase in demand for driven grouse shooting throughout the season. This became very apparent when the price did not drop to its usual reduced rate during October and people were still happy to pay full price to get hold of grouse shooting. This clearly shows how strong the market is now, interestingly there were some good deals to be had in November, but it was much the same story with prices staying well above the £1,100 mark for paying gun to shoot. The good news for the grouse shooting world is that there is a strong demand for it, but the demand is definitely pushing the price up especially for late shooting opportunities throughout October & November. It will be interesting to see whether the estates choose to increase the cost of late grouse shooting for 2018 season considering the cost per brace is on the rise for August & September shooting already this year!
Dalesport are taking bookings for next seasons grouse shooting, August and September are already starting to get fully booked, so if you are wanting a day’s grouse shooting, then please get in touch with either Adrian, Edd or Sandy and we will arrange everything to suit your specific needs; firstname.lastname@example.org or 01969 663 096.
*We would also urge all of you who partake in grouse shooting to become an Associate Member of The Moorland Association. It is very important to support them as they work hard to protect the future of our sport, you will also learn about more of the issues affecting this unique sport!