A Few Thoughts About The 12 August Grouse Shooting Season A Sad Day

Red Grouse on the rocks

Each year the 12th of August see the start of the Red Grouse shooting season that lasts into December. I find it a very sad day indeed not only because many birds will die for fun but because many other species of wildlife will have died to produce the large numbers of grouse to slaughter.

It is particularly sad that many “protected” birds of prey will have been killed illegally and this goes on and on. Since 2018 over forty, yes you read that correctly over 40, Hen Harriers have been shot, poisoned or vanished in suspicious circumstances on or very near Driven Grouse Moors. This is a scandal that needs addressing urgently these birds are killed by criminals. But it is not just Hen Harriers sadly magnificent Golden Eagles are also destroyed on Driven Grouse Moors this should make you very angry. Then there are the Peregrine Falcons, Goshawk, White-tailed Eagles and Common Buzzards all slaughtered so more Red Grouse can be gunned down for fun.

Red Grouse

Driven Grouse Shooting is a very strange “sport” indeed as the birds are chased towards a line of gunmen hiding in “grouse butts” waiting to blast the birds out of the sky as they fly past. How is that a sport? The birds have no chance at all they are chased into the killing zone the gunmen just wait knowing that the birds will be chased close enough to kill.

Red Grouse are very different to Pheasants which are also shot on mass, Red Grouse are a native species and are not “farmed” in the way Pheasants are. The grouse moors are managed by burning or cutting the heather to allow lots of new growth thus allowing a much higher population of Red Grouse than on an unmanaged moor. All predators are killed to avoid losses to the artificially high grouse population. This includes mammals as well as the birds of prey and crows, so foxes, weasels, stoats, wild cats, pine martens the list goes on and on are all killed.

Arctic Hare June 2017 3

Mountain hare slaughtred so more Red Grouse can be slaughtered for fun.

But there is more, as if any more were needed, mountain hares are slaughtered on Driven Grouse Moors to stop them giving ticks to Red Grouse and of course with the huge numbers of grouse present ticks are passed on quickly. Then because of the high population diseases are common so the grouse are fed “medicated grit” and of course this is passed into the food chain.

Red Grouse also differ from Pheasants in that they don’t taste as nice! And yes I have tried one once to see what it tastes like my personal opinion was that it was way over-priced for the flavour! Pheasant tastes so much better and chicken better still. These days I very rarely eat meat at all but certainly would not recommend Red Grouse to anyone it is just not nice. So, if you find yourself in a restaurant that has Red Grouse on the menu please pause before you order and think of all the wildlife that died to bring that small rather unpalatable bird to your plate. It would also be rather wonderful to ask to see the manager and express your distaste in the killing of wildlife; some of it protected wildlife, to supply the restaurant.

But let’s not forget the purpose of Driven Grouse Shooting is not to provide food but for fun - the “pleasure” of killing wild native birds on mass. How this is pleasure I really will ever never understand. The majority of the hapless birds chased across the moor into a hail of lead shot will be buried, wasted, dumped, thrown away so a tiny number of people, paying a lot of money, can have some fun killing wildlife.

It sends chills down the spine that this Victorian “sport” still continues in 2020.

It is time to end Driven Grouse Shooting and the associated wildlife crime that goes hand in hand with it. Tell people about it, write to your MP about it, write to Government leaders wherever you are in the UK and ask them to ban Driven Grouse Shooting, please do it today. This is not a sport it is slaughter of our wildlife. It must end.

We are so lucky to have so many species and habitats within easy reach here in North Wales, and once the world returns to normal, we would love you to join us for one of our Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trips days out. We expect to enjoy a lot of birds during these relaxed pace tours and we can tailor make the day to suit you.

We would love you to join us on our Birdwatching Trips in the future just drop us a line to arrange a custom tour and please see our tours pages for set departure trips. If you have any questions at all please fire away here….


We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds in beautiful places with you soon!

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