An introduction to Grouse Shooting

Driven grouse shooting is pretty much unique to the United Kingdom.  Red grouse are imported from European ‘farms’ transported UK by sea and road and put out onto upland moors - known as grouse moors where they will be shot for pleasure!

The grouse shooting season extends from 12 August, often called the “Glorious Twelfth” by shooters to 10 December each year.

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Grouse Moor Subsidies and why they must be stopped

The EU CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) has long been a contentious issue with farmers, landowners and the public and not without good reason. When you take a look at a satellite map of the UK compared to our European neighbours there is undoubtedly something very different about the UK.

In Europe, the lowlands are clearly used for agriculture and food production whilst the uplands are wooded. In the UK, the lowlands, whilst used for agriculture are relatively bare and the uplands are barren. Apart from areas of plantation forest, the UK has no trees in the uplands above around 200 metres.

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The Real Price of Grouse - Traps

Gamekeepers on Grouse moors use a large array of devices to capture native wildlife - considered as predators to grouse. Farmed grouse that are reared to be shot for human pleasure! Some of these traps are legal in the UK, others have very specific references for their use. All are ‘deadly killing devices’ that inflict a long and painful death on animal wild or domestic animal they catch.

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The season for red grouse shooting starts today. Tens of thousands of red grouse will be shot over the next two months covering the Moors of Britain in rivers of blood.

The shooting estates claim that grouse shooting is a traditional field sport but that isn’t true. The claim is similar to that made by the Countryside Alliance to defend fox hunting, but grouse shooting has a terrible impact on the environment and other wildlife to the cost of every taxpayer and 70% of the nation’s homes.

Save Me’s investigation has revealed that all shooting estates practice driven grouse shooting, where a line of beaters ‘drive’ the grouse towards lines of ‘static’ guns. They claim this is ‘sport’ but this is farcical - ‘guns’ need very little skill to hit a dense cloud of low flying birds with a repeat loader gun. The shooters claim grouse shooting is traditional but that isn’t true. It has, around 150 years of history only becoming popular in Britain when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought the Balmoral Estate and the development of repeat firing guns.

The estates claim shooting is good for the economy in an argument remarkably similar to Hunts - but this does not stand up to scrutiny. What is true is that big money is made by estate owners who can charge up to £30,000 a day for a 6 to 8 gun shooting party.

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The season for red grouse shooting starts today. Tens of thousands of red grouse will be shot over the next two months covering the Moors of Britain in rivers of blood.

The shooting estates claim that grouse shooting is a traditional field sport but that isn’t true. The claim is similar to that made by the Countryside Alliance to defend fox hunting, but grouse shooting has a terrible impact on the environment and other wildlife to the cost of every taxpayer and 70% of the nation’s homes.

Save Me’s investigation has revealed that all shooting estates practice driven grouse shooting, where a line of beaters ‘drive’ the grouse towards lines of ‘static’ guns. They claim this is ‘sport’ but this is farcical - ‘guns’ need very little skill to hit a dense cloud of low flying birds with a repeat loader gun. The shooters claim grouse shooting is traditional but that isn’t true. It has, around 150 years of history only becoming popular in Britain when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought the Balmoral Estate and the development of repeat firing guns.

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In the North of England and Scotland, the shooting of game birds and mammals is widespread. Habitat and 'predator management' are undertaken to increase game abundance and hunting bags and thus profits.

The Grouse moor managers and Gamekeepers claim major conservation benefits as a result of traditional and 'sympathetic' moorland management. They say if the control of generalist predators by gamekeepers ceased, lapwing and golden plover numbers would drop by 81% and curlew by 47% within 10 years.

So what is really happening?

Red Grouse

Red Grouse is a subspecies of Willow Ptarmigan, a species with low breeding densities (0.1 to 10 pairs per km2) across northern Europe, northern Eurasia and North America.  However, in the UK - where intensive habitat management, predator control and routine medication are used on Grouse Moors - there is an exceptionally high population of 150 to 500 birds per km2 (post-breeding densities).

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