If you’re looking to get out in the fresh air and enjoy a quintessentially British sporting activity, look no further than grouse shooting. The Glorious 12 August sees the start of the grouse shooting season in the UK, and it’s an excellent opportunity to experience this unique pastime. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of what grouse shooting is all about, as well as some tips on how to get started.
What are Grouse
Grouse are a family of birds that includes ptarmigans and fowls. There are about 20 different species of grouse, which are found in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Grouse tend to be stocky birds with short legs, and many species have colourful plumage. The males of some species also have an elaborate courtship display, which involves strutting and making loud noises.
The most well-known grouse species is the red grouse, found in parts of the UK and Ireland. Grouse are hunted for sport in many parts of the world and are also popular as a game bird for shooting.
What is grouse shooting, and why is it so popular in the UK?
Grouse shooting is a popular sport in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. What could be more exhilarating than taking down a fast-flying bird with a well-placed shot? Add in the stunning scenery of the UK countryside, and it’s no wonder that grouse shooting is such a popular pastime.
Of course, grouse shooting isn’t just about the thrill of the hunt. It’s also an important economic activity, supporting the rural economy and providing employment for many people. In addition, grouse shooting helps to maintain healthy populations of game birds, which are an important part of the ecosystem.
Why is Grouse Hunting considered a traditional sport in the UK?
Grouse hunting has been a traditional sport in the UK for centuries. The red grouse is the only bird native to the UK and is an important part of British culture. Hunting grouse helps to control their population and prevent them from damaging crops and property. It also provides a valuable food source and income for many rural families.
In addition, grouse hunting is an integral part of the UK economy, with millions of pounds being spent on equipment, lodging, and other associated costs each year. This money goes a long way to supporting the local economy and helps to sustain many jobs in rural areas. For all these reasons, grouse hunting is an important tradition that should be protected and supported.
There is a wonderful download from Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust if you want to understand more about the conservation aspect.
Download THE GWCT essential FREE 6-page guide on conservation and grouse moors, extracted from the pages of their bestselling book The Moorland Balance.
How do you get started with grouse shooting, and what are the basics you need to know?
If you’re new to grouse shooting, starting out can be daunting. There are many things to consider – from firearms and equipment to safety and etiquette. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll run through some of the basics of grouse shooting so that you can confidently hit the moors.
Firstly, let’s talk about firearms. If you’re going to be doing any shooting, you’ll need to have a gun that is fit for purpose. When it comes to grouse shooting, shotguns are generally the weapon of choice. But it’s important to make sure that your shotgun is suitable for the job. For example, if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, you might want to consider a lighter gun. Alternatively, if you’re going to be shooting over longer distances, you might want to look at something with more power. Whichever route you go down, make sure that you get expert advice so that you end up with a gun that is right for you.
Secondly, let’s talk about equipment. In addition to a firearm, there are a few other things that you’ll need before heading out onto the moors. Firstly, you’ll need ammunition. This will depend on what type of gun you’re using – but make sure you have enough to last the day. Secondly, you’ll need some form of hearing protection. Shooting can be very loud, and your hearing could be at risk without proper protection. Thirdly, you might want to invest in a good pair of walking boots. Grouse shooting often involves a lot of walking over rugged terrain, so ensure your feet are well-protected.
Lastly, let’s talk about safety and etiquette. Firstly, always make sure that your firearm is unloaded when not in use – and never point it at anything that you don’t intend to shoot. Secondly, always be aware of where your fellow shooters are – and make sure that you don’t put them in any danger. Lastly, remember that grouse shooting is often seen as a traditional sport – so try to act accordingly. Finally, be respectful of both the game and your fellow shooters, and remember that safety should always come first.
What are the best times of year to go grouse shooting, and where are the best places to do it in the UK?
Grouse shooting season in the UK typically runs from 12 August to 10 December. Many factors will affect when and where you can shoot grouse, such as the weather, the availability of Shoot days, and the popularity of game birds. The best time to shoot grouse is often early in the season when fewer people are around and the birds are less wary. Late summer and autumn are also good times to go, as the leaves on the trees provide good camouflage.
The best places to shoot grouse in the UK are usually in upland areas such as Scotland, Wales and the North of England. These areas offer a variety of terrain and vegetation, which can provide good cover for grouse. In addition, these areas usually have a higher density of grouse, making it more likely that you will encounter a shooting opportunity.
Places You Will Find Red Grouse Across the UK
Red grouse can be found in lots of places as their UK Conservation Status is currently Green with approximately 265,000 breeding pairs. These are areas you can find ( though not necessarily shoot) them.
- Montgomeryshire Glaslyn Nature Reserve
- Cumbria, Drumburgh Moss
- Denbighshire, Gors Maen Llwyd
- Derbyshire, Ladybower Wood
- Highlands, Handa Island
- Highlands, Rahoy Hills
- Highlands, Isle of Eigg
- Lothians, Red Moss of Balerno
- Northumberland and Cumbria, Butterburn Flow
- Northumberland, Harbottle Crags
- Perthshire, Balnaguard Glen
- Staffordshire, The Roaches
- Yorkshire, Fen Bog
What kind of clothing do you need for grouse shooting, and what should you wear on a typical outing?
When it comes to grouse shooting, there are a few key things to keep in mind in terms of clothing. First and foremost, you need to dress for the weather. This means layering up in colder months and wearing lighter clothing in warmer months. It’s also important to wear clothing that won’t stand out too much against the natural surroundings. Muted colours like dark green, brown, and grey are ideal. Finally, you need to make sure your clothing is comfortable and unrestrictive so you can move freely and without restriction.
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best clothing choices for grouse shooting in the UK. A thick woollen sweater over a collared shirt is an excellent option in colder months. Pair this with a comfortable pair of breeches and boots or Wellies, and you’ll be set. For warmer months, a tailored shirt with a lightweight jacket is ideal. Khaki trousers or chinos paired with walking boots will complete the look while keeping you comfortable.
Watch Sorrell Millers’ course on What To Wear When Working Your Dog for other ideas on clothing options.
What can you expect when you’re out there in the field?
When you’re out in the field, be patient and stay alert. Grouse are notoriously elusive, so it takes a lot of persistence to bag one. In addition, grouse tend to stick to cover and move only short distances, so if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss them. But if you’re patient and keep your eyes open, you’ll eventually get your chance.
What recipes can be cooked with grouse?
The grouse is a versatile game bird that can be cooked in various ways. One popular method is to roast the bird whole. This allows the skin to crisp up while the meat remains moist and juicy.
Grouse can also be braised, grilled, or even made into a stew. It is important to cook it slowly and at a low temperature so that the meat does not dry out.
When it comes to recipes, the sky is the limit with grouse. Just about anything can be adapted to accommodate this delicious bird. So get creative and enjoy! Wonderful grouse recipes can be found here.
You may also want to read: Why is the Twelfth so glorious?