GROUSE shooting was a strong presence in Scotland last year despite volatility caused by bad weather during the breeding season.
Updates issued yesterday on behalf of the Gift of Grouse initiative said the number of occupancy rates and shooting days booked held firm in most parts of the country despite many estates experiencing a “disappointing” season and having to make programme cancellations because of the weather.
Robert Rattray, head of leading sporting agency, CKD Galbraith’s Sporting Lets, said: “The industry endured a wide range of challenges in areas that cater for grouse shooting last year where some estates did remarkably well whilst many suffered at the mercy of the Scottish weather.
“However, having looked at all evidence on the number of shooting days taken and the cancellations across the industry as a whole, it was clear the industry was more resilient than had been expected. Bookings remained healthy, which impacted positively on accommodation providers and local businesses.”
Mr Rattray said the international appeal of Scottish grouse shooting “remained undiminished,” adding: “We witnessed an increase in groups coming from America who regard Scottish grouse shooting as an unrivalled world-class sport.
“Groups not only consist of shooters but their partners and children, typically of around 16 – 18 in number and staying for two to three nights, where additional money is spent in local community providers, and thus offering a lifeline at a time when business may well be very slow. Looking ahead, we are already witnessing some positive signs of a good season that will deliver once again for businesses and jobs in rural Scotland.”
The grouse industry supports 2,640 full-time jobs and provides £30.1 million in wages.