Many is the time that I have been startled by red grouse when rambling on heather-clad moors. The birds rise up making their familiar cackling sound. They are understandably wary of human beings. After all, instead of cherishing this splendid bird, there is a segment of our society who apparently find pleasure in blasting them out of the sky with their rifles. They call it "sport". The segment to which I refer is 99% male and wealthy. Most grouse killers were educated in private schools and have reactionary political views. Most of them don't even eat the grouse after they have "bagged" them. It is estimated that they kill half a million grouse each shooting season (August 12th to December 10th)
Grouse shooting has a big impact on the ecology of natural moorland. Huge swathes of our moors are burnt each year in order to stimulate new heather growth. Fresh heather shoots form the staple diet for young grouse. The burning of heather adds tremendously to Britain's carbon footprint and negatively affects the ability of spongy moors to retain water.
Yesterday, as I walked from Glossop up onto the wild moors to the south of the town, I spotted not one but a pair of grouse sitting on a drystone wall. I pulled out my camera and tried to photograph them but the sun was shining brightly behind them. The resulting images were little more than backlit silhouettes. Disappointing.
However, twenty yards further up the track I looked to my right and saw another red grouse sitting on a drystone wall. This time the sun was in my favour and I was no more than five metres away. Furtively, I pulled out my camera again and managed to take ten pictures of the bird before he or she flew away. I have chosen three of those pictures to illustrate this blogpost.
It was a magical minute. In my considered opinion, the only shooting of red grouse that should be allowed is indeed with a camera. No guns. Grouse shooting belongs in history books - not in modern times. Grouse should be appreciated as the beautiful creatures they are - not as private targets for privileged dimwits.
SAVE THE GROUSE! LET THE MOORS BE WILD AGAIN!
I see there are no Covoid restrictions for the Grouse shooters? Super photos.ReplyDelete
Has Dominic Cummings been out grouse shooting again? Perhaps near Barnard Castle? I am very pleased with these pictures of a living grouse. Why would I want to shoot it with a gun and not a camera?Delete
What a passionate and learned post! Such a pleasure to read. Your "shoot" has done the bird proud. Will send link to the Angel (won't take long - his office is next door). As far as I am aware he hasn't yet walked any of the Moors. So, forewarned by your account, he won't find himself "startled" by the sudden appearance of a grouse. I take it there are no cows on the Moors. Don't answer that.ReplyDelete
Husband of my sister-in-law (deepest Cumbria countryside) used to shoot the occasional wild bird - not as a "sport" or to impress, solitary, his bounty lovingly plucked, hung, cooked and eaten. Incidentally his surname was Hunter; he also kept a ferret or two. Man of few words. Great guy. RIP.
Mr Hunter killed birds the right way and he killed them to eat not to brag about to his chums. Thanks for calling by again Ursula.Delete
P.S. The only cows I spotted yesterday were far away. Honest.
A handsome-looking bird. Thank you for those lovely photos. I agree - no animal should be killed for sport or for its coat.ReplyDelete
I bet that that is what male shoppers thought when they saw you in the supermarket before COVID... "A handsome looking bird"!Delete
What a terrible waste, to kill all those birds for no good reason. I don't have a problem with hunters who eat what they kill, but to kill for pleasure and "sport" makes me sick. Lovely shots of the grouse, Neil. Pun intended.ReplyDelete
Hunting to eat is in the DNA of human beings. But hunting for "fun" and counting your killings is revolting in my opinion.Delete
I don't have too much of a problem with people hunting, as long as they eat what they kill but killing as sport is despicable and I'm sure says something about the shooters manhood, in a very negative way.ReplyDelete
I'm so sick and tired of entitled people. Join the human race and think about someone other than yourself.
The grouse shooting fraternity think that they are superior and as you suggest "entitled" to engage in their dubious "sport" on open moorland.Delete
You shouldn't feel self-conscious when grouse rise up making their familiar cackling sound when they see you. Probably, it is because they see you haven't got a gun, not anything else they might find amusing.ReplyDelete
I don't understand why people want to go shooting at all, even clay pigeons which (in unrestricted times) disturbs the peace for miles around us every Sunday morning. Why don't they go for a nice walk instead? What kind of image of themselves does it give them?
They are probably cackling about my ugliness. I can't help it. I was born this way. Maybe this is why some other walkers I pass won't say "hello".Delete
That sweet bird looks to me like a cross between a hen and perhaps a quail. Doesn't seem like a huge challenge to me to go shoot them when the hired help has already done all of the work of maintaining them. I suppose that this ridiculous practice does provide people with employment.ReplyDelete
That's one of the defences that is regularly rolled out. I guess they used to say the same about tiger hunting in India or rhino hunts in Africa.Delete
No doubt. It is the default defense for almost any evil endeavors.Delete
I agree wholeheartedly with your grouse about grouse shooting. Every year groups of people with guns arrive at our Perthshire village hotel, simply to spend a week murdering birds. It puzzles and saddens me.ReplyDelete
I wish we could supply the grouse with automatic weapons so that they could fight back against The Hooray Henrys. Thanks for calling by Andrew.Delete
I agree with you absolutely and unequivocally. I used the second adverb purely so that you could see that I can occasionally spell words correctly. I'm rather envious of your photos, by the way.ReplyDelete
I am surprised that you didn't also add "emphatically" and "categorically". Do they shoot grouse on Lewis?Delete
No they don't. In fact they haven't even been culling the deer recently which is causing pretty big problems.Delete
I remember my brother always chided me when we were both at home as I was all for save the whales etc and hated killing of any animals, I still do and it sickens me to read or hear of it.ReplyDelete
What kind of mentality do you have to have to shoot an innocent animal or bird.
I only tried fishing once and felt so sorry for the fish I have never been since.
Maybe I'm just a silly softie. lol
No. You are not a silly softie. In your heart you knew that it was simply wrong.Delete
No compromises with your hunters. No wisdom from your politicians. Money is the root of all evil.ReplyDelete
There is unpleasantness everywhere. Thankfully, there is also goodness.Delete
Oh, Mr. Pudding. I am so thankful to you for going on that particular walk so that we could all enjoy these marvelous, magical photos of grouse. Amazing!ReplyDelete
When I first saw that last picture on my computer - after downloading from my camera - I uttered a "Wow!" to myself. As you know, I take many pictures and it's rare for me to say "Wow!" Thank you Donna.Delete
I agree with you completely! I do not believe in hunting unless it is necessary for food for survival. Those are such beautiful birds and they should be preserved and not killed for sport. Thank you for taking and sharing these beautiful pictures.ReplyDelete
You are very welcome Bonnie. Thank you for your kind support.Delete
Well entitlement by those dozy killers is being questioned. We once stopped up on the moors as about 10 baby grouse scuttled across the lane, it was a wonderful moment. The 'managed' nature of the moors just for killing needs strong government interference. Watching some 'hurrah Henry' say that the moors are private property so get off to a local reporter makes my blood boil.ReplyDelete
How can anybody "own" wild moors? After all, historically speaking, they have never been lived upon. The Kinder Trespass was a big step forward but that particular walk is not yet finished.Delete
Bravo! I am definitely with you on that. There's far too much environmental damage done in the name of grouse hunting. (Great pics!)ReplyDelete
I think the last one is one of the best pictures I have ever taken and it was good to send out an anti-grouse shooting message to the blogosphere.Delete