As we enter the back end of June, all eyes are on the Grouse moors. This is a vital time in the chicks development period, so whilst the presence of the recent storm clouds may have been a blessing for many farmers and lowland keepers alike, they have not been well received on the moors. It is not yet clear as to how much damage has been done to broods - only time will tell - however it will have certainly knocked off a few of the weaker or younger chicks. It serves as a reminder of the precarious nature of these truly fascinating wild birds: the gift of Grouse.

The rain has not been all bad - as cover crops were much in need of it, and with things due to warm up, at least we should have a good spell of growth, which will be most welcomed by the lowland keepers. Having spoken to some of them, with temperatures being low along with the rain, the rearing of pheasant and partridge has been quite challenging, and gas consumption has been much higher than in a normal season.

Whether the rain has been a blessing or a curse, there is no doubt at all that the arrival of the vastly improved General Licenses was a welcome reprieve for all in the shooting world. The new licenses certainly address many of the issues that were raised by many groups and individuals over the past few months. I think it is fair to say that the shooting industry response was, on the whole, very measured and controlled. We certainly won’t dwell on the reports of various indefensible actions carried out by a small minority against opposition pressure groups: I shall say no more. The new licenses issued by the Government certainly prove to us that we as an industry do indeed play a vital role in conservation efforts across the UK and that this view is, importantly, clearly shared by the Government – common sense prevailed in the end. Before shooting, do your homework using the BASC or GWCT websites, research the new licenses, get to know the rules and regulations so that you are not caught cold.

Bookings are still rolling in for the coming season, but lots of good shooting is still available out there. So get in touch to book your day or come and see us at the RB to sharpen up before the season kicks off.

For those looking for a way to shoot just as a pair, without having to book their own whole day, we have 8 pegs left across our Roving days, so do get in touch if you would like to shoot at Steventon, Prescombe or Hexton Manor later this year.


Ben Smith