British Moorlands
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FEBRUARY UPDATE on our grouse moors.

February 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

A NEW MOOR FOR 2018 now joins 7 others managed by British Moorlands in North East Scotland.  This one is in a good grouse area of Aberdeenshire.  Although not managed for many years it has some breeding stock and good potential for shooting following a planned programme of heather cutting, gritting and predator control.  This year it will provide falconry and, hopefully, some selective shooting of old birds.

A LONG WINTER of snow cover has kept us away from our usual heather burning and cutting since mid November.  However before that we got much cutting and gritting done and last winter allowed plenty of hill work so we are not worried as there is time left in Spring and a proper winter is often said to be good for grouse breeding the following Summer.  On the higher ground the grouse are in large packs for safety in numbers.

Snow cover provides useful tracking opportunities for us to learn about our predators and their movements.  Off the moor we have been busy with the pheasant season and indoor work making and renovating traps and other equipment.

GROUSE PAIR COUNTING  begins next month when the weather is suitable.  This is a vital tool for predicting how much shooting we can do when we combine it with brood count results in July.   Spring counting is a straightforward job but the July count is much harder to interpret due to warm, dry conditions impeding the dogs’ searching, and also the possibility of late hatches and hens still sitting on nests.

Owners of pointing dogs like to visit us for Spring counts which provide practice and training for grouse work.

R & D  is an important part of British Moorlands’ work for cost effective equipment and management systems.  Current projects include sheep-proof drinkers for grouse and crow traps without live decoys and associated problems of public visibility/interference and high labour requirements.   The aim is to integrate these new designs into an estate’s automatic trap checking (ATC) set-up.

NEXT MONTH  Will we have a thaw and chance to get back up on the moors for work and the Spring count ?

I will be taking a break to visit the GWCT’s North of England Grouse Seminar on March 8th   Maybe see you there ?

Dick Bartlett.   British Moorlands Ltd

Please email dick@britishmoorlands.com for comments or to request more information on the above.

 

British Moorlands