Highlands & Islands

Rise in women taking up grouse shooting

Women on a grouse shoot Image copyright Scottish Moorland Group/The Gift of Grouse

There was a "major upturn" in the number of women grouse shooting this year, according to sporting estates.

The latest grouse season saw more women joining shoots and also a rise in female-only shooting parties, it has been claimed.

Leys Estate and Castle Fraser Farms in Aberdeenshire were among those tailoring shoots for women.

Ladies' club Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags has also filled 386 positions at events since it was set up in 2014.

The Gift of Grouse campaign and Scottish Moorland Group have reported the major upturn in women's participation in grouse shooting, or taking it up for the first time.

Image copyright Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags
Image caption Mhairi Morris runs Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags' events for women

In a joint statement, they said: "The remarkable story from this year's shooting season is the increasing demand from female shooters and all-women shooting clubs which have continued to grow in popularity.

"Estates have reported a significant increase in the number of female shooting parties and women joining mixed shoots."

Mhairi Morriss, who runs Glad Rags and Cartridge Bags, said there were a number of reasons for this high demand.

She said: "Primarily it's because we've created a community in the Scottish sporting scene where women feel accepted and encouraged to join in.

"The women's shooting events being organised all over the country provide an accessible platform for newcomers to the sport or those daunted by the thought of joining a mixed shoot."

'A rarity'

Cara Richardson, who has been shooting for more than 20 years and is a co-founder of the Scottish Ladies Shooting Club, said changes to outdoor clothing had also been a factor.

She said: "When I first began shooting in the 90s, it was quite a rarity to find a female gun in the shooting line. These days, it is becoming quite the norm and that's fantastic to see.

"More girls are not only appearing in the gun line, an increasing number are now involved in beating and picking-up.

"Also, most outdoor apparel manufacturers now provide shooting kit specifically in a ladies' cut which for many brands is a relatively new idea and an obvious recognition of demand."

Image copyright Scottish Moorland Group/The Gift of Grouse
Image caption Women have been taking up various roles on shoots, according sporting estates organisations

Andrew Grainger, of the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group, added: "There has been a huge increase in the number of women participating in shooting, testament to the efforts made by the industry to increase awareness amongst the general public."

Following what was described as a "bumper season" in 2014, cold and wet weather in May and June resulted in lower grouse numbers this year.

However, some estates had higher numbers of birds because of a late second brood of chicks.

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