'Strong demand' reported for grouse shooting

Grouse shooters
Image caption Grouse shooting has been estimated to bring £30m to the rural economy

A sports lets agency has reported "particularly strong" demand for grouse shooting in Scotland, as the 2011 season begins.

CKD Galbraith said teams of grouse shooters will spend an average of £10,000 to £15,000 for a day's driven shooting.

Poor weather conditions are reported to have reduced grouse numbers.

Worst-affected have been Inverness-shire, the upper Findhorn valley and parts of Strathspey and Aberdeenshire.

But healthy grouse numbers have been recorded in the Angus glens and Lammermuirs.

Robert Rattray, a partner at CKD Galbraith, said: "Grouse shooting is a vital part of our fragile rural economy, both in terms of managing our vulnerable heather moorland and in providing a world-class venue for sportsmen.

Shooting fees

"It also provides a valuable economic benefit, with the grouse industry as a whole in Scotland valued at £30m and supporting some 950 full-time jobs."

A study by the Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde University in 2010 indicated that a rise in shooting fees had contributed to the increasing profitability of sporting estates.

It found that 42% of them were turning a profit, compared with just 2% 16 years before.

The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust has conceded this year's grouse numbers are "patchy".

Some estates, it said, will not be hosting shooting on the first day of the season.

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