ESTATE Owners and gamekeepers are hoping the new grouse season will be better than last years after extreme weather affected breeding.
Grousemoors help provide jobs, tourism and wildlife conservation in remote areas of Scotland.
Industry experts are forecasting a more positive outlook for the season after last year’s cancellations, with some regions still curtailing shooting but others planning a programme of driven and walked up days.
The grouse season in Scotland, which runs for 16 weeks from August 12 until December 10, is estimated to be worth £32m during a good season, part of the £155m overall value of country sports to Scotland.
Shooting sports support the equivalent of 8,800 full time jobs in Scotland, of which 2,640 are in the grouse sector.
That income will help to sustain the vital conservation work undertaken by estates such as Rottal which is accredited by best practice initiative Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES)and hosts more than 100 different species of bird.
Dee Ward, owner of Rottal Estate, said: “It is impossible to underplay the value of grouse moor management to remote areas such as the Angus Glens.
“The income we receive also flows down and supports local businesses such as garages, shops and hotels and the employment that provides. We are hoping for a positive season for the area, and there is no other use of this land which can deliver the economic and biodiversity benefits that grouse moor management does.”
A survey of 45 grouse estates across Scotland, conducted by Scotland’s seven regional moorland groups in 2017, found that over £23 million flows directly into local businesses in trade generated by estate activity.
That sum, which does not take into account wages paid to gamekeepers or other staff, means downstream businesses, from local garages to building firms, benefit from business worth, on average, £514,886 from each estate.
Lesley McArthur, partner at the Glen Clova Hotel, said: “Our local grouse moors provide a rich seam of business to us which extends through the autumn and winter seasons.
It is difficult to imagine a scenario where the tourism – and therefore revenue – provided by visitors coming to the Angus Glens to shoot could be provided by any other means.
“Grouse shooting has a reputation as a rich person’s sport but it is a lifeline for the livelihoods of remote communities such as ours and we are hoping for a good season ahead which will provide a boost to the area.”