Grouse shooting is anything but glorious this year, the extremes of weather at crucial breeding times resulting in too few birds.
Lammermuir shoots have postponed bookings and the Lammermuirs Moorland Group has conducted a survey across five local sporting estates, leading them to conclude that 550 man-days of employement will be lost over a two month period.
“For young people in this area, shoot days can be a first introduction to the workplace. It is the chance to earn a bit of extra money over the season, develop team skills and confidence and meet a wide array of people from all backgrounds,” said Helen Savage, coordinator of the Lammermuirs Moorland Group, which conducted the poll.
Last year 63 local youngsters were employed as beaters or for picking up shot game for the larder, and 23 international workers spent a day on the hills, including 13 migrant workers.
Although each estate adopts its own payment structure, an average shoot day can see someone pocket between £50 – £100 for a few hours’ work, with tax paid by the estate and lunch and transport often provided.
Despite local estates having to pick up the costs of lost shooting income this year, the grouse sector still plays a major role in propping up the rural economy in the area. A survey of 45 grouse estates in 2017, undertaken by Scotland’s regional moorland groups, showed that the area around the Lammermuirs benefitted from trade with estates worth £466,274. Scotland-wide, the overall trade generated by grouse shoots was £23m, before a grouse was shot.
“It will be disappointing not to see the same number of visitors this year but people have to think about future stocks and sustainability,” added Helen Savage.