Reports of 2017 grouse shooting season distorted by PR bluster

We’ve been reading some reports of the 2017 grouse shooting season and it’s pretty clear that the industry is engaging in a public relations offensive to try and portray an image of huge success with significant support from local communities.

For example, there’s this article in today’s edition of The Northern Echo, headlined ‘Grouse Moors of North Yorkshire report successful shooting year’, with commentary from the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Association

And then there was this article in last week’s Darlington & Stockton Times, headlined ‘Successful grouse shooting season in Nidderdale helps boost local economy’, with commentary from the Nidderdale Moorland Group.

There’s nothing wrong with reporting on business success, of course, but these articles lose credibility when you notice the similarity between them. For example, there is a quote in the first article from Tina Brough of the North Yorkshire Moors Moorland Association:

The grouse industry is a life line for many in our rural community offering employment opportunities and supporting many local businesses, with shooting-related tourism bolstering trade during the winter off-season“.

There’s also a quote in the second article from Roy Burrows of the Nidderdale Moorland Group:

The grouse industry is a life line for many in our rural community offering employment opportunities and supporting many local businesses, with shooting-related tourism bolstering trade during the winter off-season“.

Oh dear. Two identical ‘quotes’, word for word, supposedly from two individuals in different parts of the country? It’s pretty obvious that ‘somebody’, or more likely ‘some organisation’ has concocted a general press release designed to impress on the public how successful and important grouse shooting is (to the local economy), and then asked the moorland groups to adapt it to their particular areas.

The second article also includes a quote attributed to a couple of local hoteliers who talk about how important game shooting is to their annual revenue. Again, nothing wrong with that, but don’t be fooled by thinking that ALL local businesses benefit from, and support, the grouse shooting industry. The article failed to include the news that several local business owners in Nidderdale are so fed up with the continued illegal persecution of raptors on Nidderdale grouse moors that they’ve contributed thousands of pounds towards a reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved (see here). There’s been a similar outcry from local traders in the neighbouring Yorkshire Dales National Park, who have reportedly complained to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority that the Park’s (deserved) reputation as a raptor persecution hotspot may damage their businesses (see here).

And just sticking with Nidderdale for a moment, the second article opens with this line:

The grouse shooting season proved a runaway success in the Nidderdale Moorland Group area with most estates enjoying a full shooting programme‘.

That’s an interesting claim, because according to a review of the grouse shooting season by sporting agency Dalesport (here), it wasn’t quite as successful a season as the Nidderdale Moorland Group is claiming:

There were Moors in Nidderdale and Coverdale that did not shoot and, yet some Nidderdale Moors had a real bumper seasons. What was very interesting about Nidderdale and Coverdale is that Bulgy Eye was present on most of the moors throughout the season and whether this was something to do with a lack of stock on a number of the moors is a separate question in itself‘.

It’s worth bearing in mind, when reading these reviews, who actually wrote them. All of the above articles included commentary from those with a vested interest in portraying the grouse shooting industry as a favourable and lucrative business. It’s not in their interests to say anything different, no matter how distorted the story they present to the media.

As a final aside, do take the time to read sporting agency Dalesport’s review of the 2017 grouse shooting season. Again, bear in mind that this sporting agency has a commercial interest in demonstrating to potential new clients how the agency can help them find ‘good’ shooting days so the review cannot be described as objective, but it does provide an insight to what is considered ‘good’ shooting – it’s still all about how many red grouse are available to shoot.

When will the grouse shooting industry wake up and realise that this continued reliance on the intensification of grouse moor management, just to get big bags, is going to be their downfall?


7 Responses to “Reports of 2017 grouse shooting season distorted by PR bluster”

  1. 1 Dylanben
    January 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Does anyone know what ‘shooting-related tourism’ might be? To my mind it’s a cobbled together phrase, intended to create a false impression of a wider interest in shooting matters than actually exists.

    • 2 Dougoutcanoe
      January 12, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      A worrying phrase, ‘shooting-related tourism’. My wife and I are related (through our wedded state) and we may be classed as tourists.

      Does the phrase mean, we are likely to be shot?????

      We will not be visiting these areas. Although I may snoop around in the hope that I can capture the criminals in the act.


  2. 3 Andrew Middleton
    January 12, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    As an ex resident of Nidderdale in my childhood I looked forward to visiting some old haunts in my retirement. I hired a cottage in Upper Nidderdale, near Lofthouse, for a week last year. I enjoyed immensely birdwatching around Gouthwaite reservoir where I first became interested in birdwatching many, many years ago.
    However when I ventured onto the moorland around the area it was a different story. Trays of medicated grit in abundance, shooting butts with shotgun detritus and a feeling of trespassing, I didn’t feel welcome.
    Of course there were no raptors, though I did flush a Black Grouse hoping against hope that any shooters would know the difference between a Red and a Black Grouse.
    I hired a cottage through Yorkshire Cottages and when they asked me for feedback I informed them I would not be visiting that area of Yorkshire again. My reasons being that the area was being trashed by large scale commercial grouse shooting; namely heather burning, drainage ditches and raptor persecution. They said they would take note of my comments. I hope they were amongst the commercial concerns who reported that Grouse shooting was damaging their business.

  3. 4 Jess Witham
    January 12, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    As a resident in a rural community in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park I can assure you that there is no benefit to any of the businesses or the wider community from the local grouse & pheasant shoots, in fact the beaters drive into the village each shoot day – no locals participate.

  4. 5 Jimmy
    January 12, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    These people will write or publish any old cr*p to justify their victorian nonsense

  5. 6 Nimby
    January 13, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Worrying but not particularly surprising perhaps that newspapers do not check press releases or undertake a bit of simple research to test the veracity of offered material especially quotes? If press are genuine they will at least try to get a countra quote, so appearing to offer balanced article?

  6. 7 Doric Dom
    January 13, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    There’s a 3 page article in “Press & Journal” newspapers magazine today extolling the virtues of the Gift of Grouse and of all places around Tomatin.

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