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The 2024 grouse season, will it be a good one?

It's near impossible to tell at this stage but here's how it looks so far...

For a multitude of reasons, trying to forecast a grouse season is incredibly difficult and certainly not an exact science. Especially this far out!

However, as lots reading this will be aware, in Spring many of the upland Estates are busy completing their spring Grouse pair counts in the hope of gathering some insight into how well their stock has survived the winter. With these counts now complete and having had some time to compare with previous years records, we have some insight that we wish to share with you.

There is always great variation across the country, but this is perhaps not overly surprising, given the distance from the Peak District to the highlands of Scotland. However, as you might expect there is usually a strong correlation and consistency between moors closer together. Interestingly, this does not seem so obvious this season, with some significant variation even within small geographic areas.

Starting in the south, the Peak District was not blessed with significant quantities of grouse last season and the recent counts are suggesting it’s unlikely to be a huge 2024 season. However, for the more productive and better managed moors in this area, a reasonable season should be achievable with all going well between now and the 12th of August. 

We are pleased to see, and indeed hear that the North Yorkshire Moors, have had encouraging counts, as have the Trough of Bowland and West Yorkshire. These appear to be “up” on this time last year which is rarely a bad sign.

Last season, the Pennines enjoyed “the best of it” with a number of moors shooting more than respectable season bags and even with a few struggling to “catch-up with them” resulting in wintering more grouse than they might have wished. This created some worm burden concerns which sadly were justified on some of the moors with a higher than average winter mortality. With fewer breeding pairs, we will likely see fewer grouse on these moors when compared to last season. However, it is worth noting that there are also some moors in this area with a chance of showing an exciting number of grouse.

Sadly, for much of Scotland, it looks as though this coming season will follow the trend of the last few with many of the moors struggling. There are however still a few brighter prospects north of the border. We have seen some wonderful counts from one Moor in southern Scotland and impressively low worm counts on another. The worm counts were a pleasant surprise given that the Moor had a lovely lot of Grouse last season, and this is clearly contrary to what the Pennines have seen over the winter months. This is undoubtedly due to several factors but the harder Scottish weather has likely played a part.

Referring back to the start, it is near impossible to offer anything more than a punt at this stage but we expect that the 2024 season will show a nice shootable surplus on many moors south of the border and a small handful north. It is important to remain optimistic at this time and keep everything crossed for favourable weather over the next few months.

If you might be at all interested in some possible grouse shooting this coming season, we would be more than delighted to discuss this with you and would welcome a conversation so please do be in touch.

Ollie Severn, William Powell Sporting


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