We hope are all keeping well and safe in these uncertain times.
A bit of different news from the generic doom and gloom of the dreaded Coronavirus please see below our Spring Grouse Report 2020.
After another average year in 2019 across most of the Moors in the UK we experienced one of the busiest booking periods to date for the forthcoming season. Grouse days were sold mostly before Christmas with the small remainder of days getting snapped up by the end of January.
By the time Coronavirus hit the UK most of our clients had paid their deposits and agreed on the days, so Dalesport quickly set up favourable terms with the Estates and agreed that deposits would be either returned or rolled over to next season if they were unable to attend the shoot due to Coronavirus. Given the economic circumstances we have had a small number of clients cancel their days so we do have some availability throughout August/September for the coming season, but most seem up beat, positive and desperate to get out on the Moor!
With that aside our Game Keepers have been hard at work with favourable burning/cutting conditions over the past month or so and they managed to get a lot of much needed heather management done. Which leads me nicely on to HEATHER CONDITION…
As you are all aware the Heather Beetle has played a significant roll in the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of well managed heather across the UK over the past two years. With the heather being stressed and dry due to the lack of rain throughout 2017/18 it became more susceptible to the Heather Beetle. We have had a huge increase in rain over the past 7 months, although the weather has not been as cold as we would have liked the water has certainly helped the health of the heather including some of the less badly Beetle damaged areas.
We really hope that this year the Heather Beetle will not be as destructive as it has been over the past few years.
Having said this the grouse we are seeing have fared well over what has been a mild winter. They seem in good nick as they move into their prime nesting period. We have started to see good amounts of cotton grass at the right time of year this year, cotton grass is a staple diet for the hen Grouse and is very high in protein which of course helps with the hen Grouse condition as they move onto the nest.
Spring Counts certainly from our Managed Moors in the Pennines, Dales and North York Moors seem positive… Most of our Managed Moors shot lightly last year given the circumstances and this seems to have paid off with good pair counts across most areas. I am gathering from speaking to others that it seems similar across the board… Although we mustn’t get too carried away by this news as we know it’s all so dependent on the weather over the next 5 months that plays such a key role in the season ahead.
As things stand it is not looking too bad on the Moors but like every year we have to cross our fingers for favourable weather conditions (no more snow, draught or flooding) and pray that come August we are all allowed out on a Grouse Moor to enjoy a days Driven Grouse Shooting with friends and family.
Keep safe and we look forward to updating you on everything Grouse over the next 6 months!
Adrian & Edd
The Team at Dalesport Sporting Agency