The British game season is nearly here, as is one of the great shooting traditions unique to rural Britain–The Glorious Twelfth marks the start of the game shooting season, declaring the Red Grouse as fair game.
To celebrate this Great British staple The Sporting Lodge has pulled together the 12 facts everyone needs to know about The Glorious Twelfth.
- The tradition of grouse shooting can be traced back over 160 years and gained popularity after the introduction of railways allowed easier access to the moors.
- It is illegal to shoot grouse on a Sunday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Even though not illegal the custom has been adopted in Scotland and is strictly adhered to. In cases where the Glorious Twelfth falls on a Sunday (like this year) it will be moved to the thirteenth of August.
- The Game Act of 1831 specifies the red grouse shooting season must run from the 12thAugust to 10th
- Red Grouse are not artificially reared for shooting, they are wild birds–gamekeepers manage the moorlands to maximise the number of available birds and conserve the biodiversity of the grouse moors.
- Red grouse is a native bird to the United Kingdom and are not found anywhere else in the world.
- A typical grouse can eat up to 50g of heather in a day, as well as berries and seeds. They eat the young green heather shoots and shelter in the older heather.
- There are around 459 grouse moors in the UK which is 75% of what is left worldwide.
- Red grouse can fly at speeds of up to 80mph, often low and can change direction at a second’s notice–a perfect challenge for skilled guns.
- Grouse shooters opt for dark colours, so they blend in with their surroundings and are not spotted by the birds. And traditional styles and fabrics such as tweed, checked shirts, breeks, moleskin and flat caps.
- Red grouse have a distinctive call that sounds like ‘Go back! Go back! Go Back!’ as they fly over the heather.
- By early evening on the Glorious Twelfth the red grouse shot that day will be on the menu at some of the finest restaurants in the UK.
- Grouse shooting generates around £150 million for the economy every year and supports approximately 2,500 jobs from gamekeepers and beaters to people within the tourism and hospitality industry.
Make sure you are ready for the season ahead with the extensive range of shooting clothing and accessories from The Sporting Lodge including Beretta, James Purdey, Dubarry, Fjallraven, Alan Paine and many more, shop here.