Changing perceptions of the shoot

There are attempts to make grouse shooting more accessible. Picture:  John Giles/PA Wire
There are attempts to make grouse shooting more accessible. Picture: John Giles/PA Wire
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The grouse shooting season has opened with a vow to make it more accessible and move away from the perception that it is “just a sport for the very rich”.

The season traditionally starts in mid-August on the day known as the Glorious Twelfth.

Amid Scottish Government plans for land reform, calls for licensing of grouse moors and general opposition to the activity, industry bodies have launched a campaign to highlight the contribution it makes to the economy.

The Scottish Moorland Group claims tourism, employment and conservation all directly benefit from grouse shooting – an industry that supports more than 2,500 jobs in rural areas.

The group also hopes to change perceptions around the sport which is often viewed as a hobby only for the wealthy.

Leaders of the group want to reach out to “urban Scotland”, and said the cost of a day on a moor is similar to a round of golf in some places.

Tim Baynes, director of the Scottish Moorland Group, said: “We want to make it more accessible, this is not just a sport for the very rich, it can be done at all levels from driven to walked up shooting and available to a whole range of people.

“And an increasing range of people are doing it, men and women, old and young.

“There’s something for everyone.

“At the top end of grouse shooting it is expensive and it’s something that’s done by people from all over the world and that tends to be what is seen, but beneath that there is a whole range of different grouse shooting days that people can take part in.

“It’s no longer the preserve of rich men.”

Robert Rattray, a partner at CDK Galbraith sporting lets, said: “You could have a day for £400 depending on how many grouse you shoot, each brace costing about £100.

“It can be a family day and the expense isn’t far off a round of golf in some places.

“Some of the bags can be small but it doesn’t detract from the day and going for a walk in wonderful countryside with dogs and a good group.”