New report on grouse shooting and communities

gamekeepers in Edinburgh
Norette Ferns

A new report examines community perceptions and the social and economic impacts of grouse shooting and moorland management in Scotland.

The Grouse Shooting, Moorland Management and Local Communities report was published by Scotland's Rural College and the Universtiy of the Highlands and Islands' Centre for Mountain Studies.

The report focussed on the Angus Glens and the Monadhliaths.

  • 26 moorland estates were surveyed covering over 100,000 hectares of land and included 266 households and 18 businesses
  • The majority of these businesses benefited from spending by the estates and visiting shooting parties were viewed as a consistent and reliable source of income
  • High numbers of respondents in both areas, 70% in the Angus Glens and 53% in the Monadhliath, recognised community and personal benefits of grouse shooting in their local area

Speaking at the launch of the report in Edinburgh today, Fergus Ewing, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, said:

"The Scottish Government is committed to maximising tourism growth and to supporting field sports. Scotland offers the complete package of sport, a warm welcome, good food and drink and unrivalled landscapes and shooting makes a valuable contribution to the rural economy, including in the winter months.

"I am very pleased to be able to extend support to all of those who make a success of field sports in a professional and responsible fashion. Their efforts bring to Scotland a number of visitors who are very welcome and make a significant financial contribution to the sector."

Dr Ros Bryce, from the Centre of Mountain Studies (UHI), said:

"The research broadly demonstrated a high level of support for grouse shooting with a majority in both areas supportive of the continuation or expansion of grouse shooting.

"While awareness of estate management within local communities was generally good, a proportion of the community lacked awareness. Our report identified specific opportunities for enhancing estate-community engagement and awareness-raising around sporting land management, including estates engaging with local primary and secondary schools through school visits by gamekeepers and school visits to estates, establishing estate ‘demonstration days’, increased estate engagement with local community councils and increased emphasis on recruitment of beaters and loaders from local communities."

The Angus Glens Moorland Group have produced a short film called 'The Untold Story: Driven Grouse Shooting' to demonstrate the link between shooting and local communities and families.

Garry MacLennan, head keeper at Invermark Estate in the Angus Glens, said:

"Our group made this film because we wanted people to understand what we do and how our work is linked with the success of our communities.

"Our families live and work in these rural areas. Our kids go to the local schools. There aren’t any other large industries here to support the local people and trades. Grouse shooting is a massive part of life here. Without it, our glens and villages would suffer and people would have to look elsewhere to work and bring up their kids."

The report and film were released today as part of 'The Gift of Grouse' - a year-long campaign to highlight the wide range of benefits grouse shooting and moorland management delivers.

Iain Hepburn, head keeper for Dunmaglass Estate, added: "Most local communities also recognise all the hard work gamekeepers and estate staff put into maintaining moorlands and their habitats. Reports such as this and the gamekeepers’ film are going to help explain the huge amount of work that goes into moorland management and why it is so important that it is widely supported."

You can read the full report on the Scottish Land & Estates website.

'The Untold Story: Driven Grouse Shooting' can be viewed on the Angus Glens Moorland Group Facebook page or on YouTube at