Shooting: A sportsman’s code

Black grouse are legal quarry and may be shot in season (20 August to 10 December). But sustainable shooting is possible only where productivity is high.

Therefore, do not shoot unless...

  • Spring counts show that leks always have more than 15 males each year, and that overall there are two cocks for every 100 hectares of suitable habitat.
  • August counts with dogs show that there are more than three young per hen at the end of summer, taking an average of at least 10 broods.
  • Surveys on neighbouring ground show similar good numbers of birds.
  • There is a programme of predation control and habitat improvement in place.

If you do shoot...

  • Shoot only cocks - avoid greyhens.
  • Don’t shoot in September. Wait until October or November when cocks finish moulting.
  • Make sure all guns can identify greyhens and don’t confuse them with red grouse.
  • Never shoot more than 15% of the spring stock of cock birds.
  • Provide details of the shoot and the spring and autumn counts to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Code for bird watchers

Lekking blackcock are a natural ‘must see’ for bird watchers. But...

  • Never approach displaying birds on foot. Watch from a car parked over 100 metres away. Set up before daybreak and do not disturb them by opening doors or starting the engine.
  • When walking in areas frequented by black grouse, keep to footpaths and keep dogs on leads.

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