It might be all quiet on the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ itself, but a leading moorland figure is cautiously optimistic for this year’s grouse-shooting season.
Edward Bromet, chairman of the Moorland Association, is predicting a continued improvement for the season, which starts on Thursday, after a couple of difficult years.
And although he does not anticipate any shoots across Rombalds Moor – between Ilkley, Bingley and Keighley – on the opening day, he is hopeful of better prospects than in recent years, thanks to the birds enjoying a successful nesting year.
“There’s certainly no shooting there on the 12th,” he said.
“We’ve had a kind hatching and fledgling year so the prospects are quite good.
“The number of days shooting we have are limited in comparison to the year-round management that’s done there, and I think all the area is looking forward to quite a good season.
“Two years ago there was no shooting, it was a bit better last year and we hope for another building year this time.
“I think we had an extremely hard winter and people are talking about the worst since 1963 but the grouse are an upland bird and a very hardy bird and despite much concern they seem to have come through it very well.
“All the year-round endeavours of the management look as though they’ll see a good year this time.”
Bradford Council’s countryside and wildlife manager, Danny Jackson, said the prospects of shoots on the Council-owned Ilkley Moor were also good after little action in recent times.
“It’s likely there are going to be some shoots this year,” he said.
“The Bingley Moor Partnership has given an indication they are going to be on there at some point as part of shoots across several moors.”
Meanwhile, the Moorland Association and grouse moor managers have been praised for their work ahead of the season.
According to a survey, association members spend more than £50 million on grouse moors across England and Wales and brought back heather to 89 square miles of English upland.
“Despite the recession, association members have not curbed their spending on conservation and grouse moor management,” said Mr Bromet.
“Employment of gamekeepers is up 25 per cent from 2000, ploughing money into the rural economy, regenerating rare habitat and boosting wildlife.”