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2014 Grouse Preview

Shooting

Article written by 06 March 2014

One should always beware of salesmen encouraging people to buy early, but we have never experienced such demand for the next season’s grouse shooting as early as we have this year. Often Guns who have shot on a Moor the previous season express interest in taking a day or days for the following one. This year we took a significant number of bookings for August and September 2014, well before the 2013 season had finished.

Many people like to organise their shooting trips well in advance and although it is possible to buy grouse shooting cheaper by waiting and then buying at the last minute, by doing so you are very much relying on there being a suitable size day, on a suitable Moor, which meet your requirements and has in effect birds ‘left over’. One has to question as to why on some Moors there quite often seems to be last-minute availability. Compare that with other Moors, where we are already two-thirds booked for the 2014 season. Our recommendation therefore (and it is not just the sales pitch!) is that, if you are thinking of booking grouse shooting in  August or September 2014, try and line up your required dates with availability as soon as possible.  There genuinely does seem to be much more demand for the coming season than there has been for the last five or six years, and whilst it seems likely that grouse numbers could again be good for the coming season, nothing is certain until the grouse have hatched and even then, late disappointments may occur!

Overall, there is a good to very good stock on most Moors, to include for the first time in many years, on quite a number of Scottish Moors. Those Scottish Moors that have historically not done the job very well and didn’t shoot much in 2013 are unlikely to have great prospects for the coming season, but otherwise at the time of going to print, we are optimistic about prospects generally.  Again overall, worm burdens do not seem to be as high as we would have felt they should be, perhaps as everyone thinks due to modern medicated grit. However, there are instances where the worm rate does seem to be building and the present wet mild weather is ideal for an increase in worms. This might test medicated grit to its limit!

We are expecting prices for good quality driven shooting in 2014 to remain between £140 to £160 per brace for early season grouse, probably dropping to perhaps £120 to £135 a brace once you get into late September and then depending on supply and demand, there may be some less expensive grouse available for late October and November.  However, often what looks like inexpensive late grouse shooting, can turn out to be very dear indeed if there is little likelihood of anticipated bags being obtained.

We are very lucky in being Managers of some of the most prestigious and productive Moors as well as handling their lettings.  This should give any tenant confidence that the Letting Agent really knows the shoot and has a considerable relationship with the Keepers.  All of this makes for a much better day and significantly less risk of disappointment to the Tenant.

 

Mark Osborne - FRICS, FAAV, MBAE

Mark Osborne is founder and Managing Director of JM Osborne & Co. and has been a qualified Chartered Surveyor and Land Agent for over 30 years. He trained on two large traditional landed estates (Chatsworth and Castle Ashby), before s.. Read more.

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