6th August 2020
I have been involved in Moorland Management and the shooting of driven Grouse for over 30 years and I have never in all my time experienced a set of circumstances so dire for Grouse shooting generally.
The predominant reason for this, is the complete loss of any food for the Grouse to eat, as a result of the Heather Beetle pandemic. This has affected almost all the productive moors on the eastern half of the Yorkshire Dales and the whole of the North York Moors.
Some moors have so little heather left, the old and young Grouse are still dying due to lack of food. Therefore, unfortunately the prospects for driven Grouse shooting in the North of England for 2020 are almost completely written off and the prospects for 2021 season are not good too, unless the heather is miraculously able to recover.
We have one moor on the very western side of the Pennines which was affected very badly by the Heather Beetle two years ago, the heather is now starting to recover and Grouse are returning slowly.
There are small pockets of Grouse throughout the North of England where the heather is ok and if you have the opportunity to take a Gun or a day on any of these moors then jump at it, because there will be no late season shooting this year.
With the backdrop of Covid-19 it at least saves the Managers all the headaches of trying to run a socially distanced shoot although if the current interest in staycations in the UK continue, at least the pubs, hotels and private houses should be still available next year if there are some Grouse to shoot.