POOR WEATHER at the start of the year has led to a shortage of red grouse this season as chicks failed to survive the wet, cold spring conditions.
According to the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, game dealers are still managing to match orders, but with shoots shooting less in order to conserve birds for next season, they are recommending that chefs order early to guarantee supply for their menus.
Prices are being affected, with birds typically retailing at 50p to £1 more in 2015 than in 2014.
The grouse season officially opens on August 12th, and ends December 10th, but it is likely to end earlier this year for conservation reasons. The reduced number of birds is expected to effect rural communities who are impacted by the grouse industry, such as beaters and hoteliers who host people visiting for shoots.
Annette Cole, Taste of Game development manager at the BASC, said. “An alternative for those who want local, seasonal game is partridge, whose season starts on the 1st September, and pheasant, whose season start on the 1st October, as there are lots of these birds available.”