… is the …
…twelth, the traditional start of the grouse shooting season.
There are all sorts of reasons why the grouse shooting season might be a damp squib this year.
First, the weather may not have been perfect for Red Grouse this year and there are reports of Red Grouse numbers being low in many parts of the country. But I’ve learned to take such reports with a pinch of salt. I’ll be having a look around several grouse moors myself over the next few days and I’ll see what I think.
But what do you think of Red Grouse numbers this year? It’s about the time when ‘keepers do counts to determine the number of grouse on the ground, and that informs shooting days.
A third reason may be that the prospect of travelling to the north of England, an area governed by a bumbling government, during an easing of lockdown, may not be the most attractive prospect to many who have other ways to spend their money. Foreign visitors, even foreign owners, may be in short supply on the grouse moors of the UK this year and restrictions are still tight in Scotland, I hear. Visitors from the USA, for example, may not find the warmest welcome in remote rural areas – they may be seen as an epidemiologist’s nightmare by many lical communities.
A fourth reason is the logistical difficulty of organising beaters for shoots. Whereas cash-in-hand payment for beating is a useful source of income in many upland areas, the prospect of being crammed in a sweaty van or trailer with lots of other folk whose social distancing history is unknown to you may not be very appealing to many.
The whole prospect of the rich blasting away at birds as though nothing has changed in the world while being attended by the poor has always been part of the grouse shooting scene, but it may look a little more distateful than usual this year and is accompanied by the risk of coronavirus infection in either direction.
We won’t hear of record bags even if there are some (which I doubt) because grouse shooting is no longer a pastime of which many will boast. Don’t expect many Conservative MPs to be photographed willingly on the moors this summer and autumn. Will bumbling Boris be shooting this year?
I’d be interested to hear from any with inside information on how the propects for grouse shooting look in your area this year. Discretion guaranteed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org