The Glorious Grouse Season

Posted on 2nd Jul 2019 Categories: Shooting

Monday 12th August 2019. A date for the diary. The excitement is almost palpable. Sprawling heather moorlands, bustling country estates and gundogs at the ready. The Glorious Twelfth is almost upon us.

The date marks the start of red grouse season and is one of the most anticipated dates in the countryside calendar. Native to the UK, they are an extremely sought-after bird and people flock to British moors (and pay very large sums of money) to shoot them.

Grouse, often referred to as the “king” of game birds, are not artificially reared unlike pheasants and partridge therefore the gamekeepers who manage the moorlands play an integral part in the sport. Many practices are carried out during the year to ensure perfect breeding grounds in order to maximise the number of available birds. Year on year, numbers fluctuate due to conditions out with the keeper’s control.

The start of a fresh season means guns are eager to get out on the hill, gundogs await their first command and beaters are ready to stir the birds. Reaching speeds of up to 80mph, red grouse aren’t the easiest of targets! They have a habit of flying low and changing direction quickly making for an exciting, challenging and often frustrating experience. A real test of shot!

But it’s not just the shooting enthusiasts who look forward to the Glorious Twelfth – the season generates around £150 million for the UK economy and supports thousands of jobs within the country sports, tourism and hospitality sectors. Revered by chefs due to the herby, earthy flavour and its exclusivity, many of the country’s Michelin Star restaurants compete to serve the first fresh grouse of the season.

As with all hunting, grouse is a dish rooted in controversy. As supporters of grouse shooting, we believe it creates tourism and jobs in rural areas and the work carried out by gamekeepers (particularly the burning of heather) encourages regeneration and helps to protect the moorlands. We, as a nation, are becoming more interested in what we eat and where our food comes from. Meat doesn’t get more free range than game and death doesn’t come much quicker than a good shot.

This date may not hold great significance for many however, for those of us who live and breathe all things game, it marks the start of one of the most riveting times of the year.

Wishing everyone a safe and successful season. 41 days and counting…