With the Glorious Twelfth only a few weeks away, reports from the north are very mixed...
It seems that even with the immense effort by grouse 'keepers and modern management techniques, Mother Nature still has a huge influence on the breeding season for that truly remarkable game bird, the grouse.
Many who live in the south will have enjoyed a reasonably good spring and even a balmy summer thus far, but the story in the north could not be more different. The Spring particularly, was atrocious, with very low temperatures, rain, wind and in places, snow - not ideal conditions for grouse to successfully rear a brood of chicks. With expectations high from the success of the last five years it seems that some moors have had to cut back on their programmes, some have cancelled entirely and some hope to still have enough grouse to complete their season. A couple of weeks ago a 'keeper said it was going to be a strange season as he reckoned some of this year’s grouse were fit to shoot but that he still had hens sitting with very young broods.
It must be hugely disappointing for the gamekeepers who work so tirelessly to have their efforts scuppered by the weather. Many only see the efforts of the 'keeper when they are driving the grouse when, in reality, all of the hard work has been done by this stage in the year.
The start of the season for the low ground shoots is also not far away and 'keepers are busy ensuring the best start for their partridges and pheasants as they go to wood. The demand for quality driven partridge and pheasant shooting seems to be good for the coming season; if you have not had the opportunity to take a day or are looking perhaps to do some shooting in southern Europe, please see our availability pages here.
We don’t think we could say that the 2018-19 season was a classic! It’s been well documented that the detrimental effects that the ‘Beast from the East’ and the dry summer had on grouse numbers although early concerns about cover crops not growing due to the dry weather, were unfounded.
Whilst the early pheasant days were a success, many shoots struggled to hold onto their birds due to the mild and bright weather and an abundance of wild food...