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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 196
Sidelock
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Current expectations are mixed at best for this season; despite a relatively benign winter, the vast amounts of rain in April-June has impacted breeding success on some moors quite heavily. The last few seasons have indeed been very positive - I have had the honour of doing some walked up grouse days over pointers in 2009 and 2011 and both times were incredible experiences and enhanced my respect for the red grouse yet further.

Re the comment by the OP about Euston, the Caledonian Express train does still allow you to get up to the moors for the 12th/13th but there are very few doing it. I have done it twice and it was a superb method of travel - but given that I was told that I was only the second person to highlight my travelling up for this reason (when gaining formal permission/authorisation to take firearms on the train), there won't be any return to the pre-war days!

Re rearing of birds, and as other posters have mentioned, the red grouse is an entirely wild bird. The few attempts made to rear them (some in Southern England) have generally failed badly and quickly. Wild grey partridge can occasionally be reared, but again with mixed success and the very few estates which do have a harvestable surplus of wild grey partridges make very significant efforts at habitat and predator control vs rearing. Those in Southern/Eastern England which I know have a real passion for this and their efforts over many years have been rewarded.

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Sidelock
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I think grouse prospects are better in Scotland than England. We have had a cold wet period when the grouse chicks hatched whereas Scotland had it fairly dry and mild. Speaking to my Keeper friend who looks after a north Derbyshire moor he says prospects are poor but then all grouse keepers are natural pessimists. Our first shoot on that moor is on for the 18th. September and I will be there working my two dogs as I have for the last 40 years so time will tell. The so called Glorious Twelth is there mainly just to get the anti shooters and press excited as most moors do not shoot until the birds are more strongly on the wing.

A grouse moor with shooting but in lower right side:



A grouse butt over which the birds are driven:



My old Chesapeake making sure no-one touches the bag!


Joined: Feb 2010
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Joined: Feb 2010
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Beautiful photo's Michael,thank's for passing them along...out of curiosity what's the eating quality of the black and red grouse ?

Good luck on the moors !

Joined: Sep 2007
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Diane and I were lucky enough, a few years ago, to spectate a shoot in Scotland. Having been told stories by both Grandpas, and reading about it since childhood, I have to say it was evreything I expected. A grand experience...And the eating was good....

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Sidelock
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Newf, there is currently a self imposed; that is by hunters, ban on shooting black grouse until numbers get up a bit. Can't say I'ver eaten one. As for red grouse I have had plenty. Young birds are better than old ones but both are fine. Their main diet is heather shoots (the purple flowering plants in the photo) and bilberrys. A rough sort of diet to survive on.

These two paintings; Going North from King's Cross Station and Ging South from Perth Station hang in the National Railway museum in York. They are about 7 foot by 4 foot and packed with detail showing the preparations for the grouse shooting season and the return. You may find larger illustrations with a bit of searching. http://sciencemuseumdiscovery.com/blogs/collections/coming-south/ Lagopus.....

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"A Shooting Man's Creed" by Sir Joseph Nickerson is an excellent book which I very much enjoyed reading.

It has been a couple of years since I last reread it. I think there is some confusion on pen raised grouse as I believe all attempts to do so (and there were many) failed. I am not sure if pen raised gray partridge is all that successful but I maybe wrong.

I believe for pen raising in the UK the pheasant has proven most successful. I defer to our posters from across the water.


Michael Dittamo
Topeka, KS
Joined: Aug 2006
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Sidelock
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Cool!
Good hunting all that keep the jungle moor law! smile

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Grey partridge are about 50/50 wild and reared. Red Leg Partridge are mostly pen reared but do breed in the wild and about the same for pheasant. Attempts have been made with grouse but without any real success as they like to hold territories and resent intrusion from other birds and even humans sometimes. Lagopus.....

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Lagopus, are you sure that's a Chessie and not a Grizzly Bear with a dog collar? Those birds are safe with him for sure. Gil

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Pleased to hear that you can still travel to Scotland by train from Euston.Back in The years following the end of W.W.2 ;prior to the start of grouse season,the goods van on trains leaving Euston for Scotland were filled with cased guns,thrown into the van and then stacked by the porters/guard. In retrospect Oak and leather cases were likely a must to stand up to this rough treatment.
For those interested in a well illustrated and enjoyable book that traces the history of grouse shooting in the U.K.,"Going to the Moors,by Ronald Eden," is a must read.
On the rough shoot that I enjoyed prior to leaving the U.K. for Canada,both the Red leg [or French partridge as we called them] and the Hungarian partridge were present and were true wild birds.


Roy Hebbes
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