GROUSE shoots are predicting a good season as they prepare for the Glorious Twelfth this Monday.

The late spring meant birds nested later than usual but game managers remain hopeful that numbers will be plentiful on the region’s moors.

British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BACS) said that following the late cold snap in 2013, conditions have been largely good for breeding grouse.

BACS northern regional director Alasdair Mitchell said: “It looks like it will be a good year on the North-Eastern moors but we have had some unusual weather this spring.

“Although many places are reporting that the grouse have done well in spite of the cold, we will only know for certain once the season is under way.”

James Scott-Harden, manager of Newbiggin Estate on the Durham and Northumberland border and a spokesman for the Moorland Association (MA), added: “Luckily, conditions for wild red grouse have been good in most areas over the two previous breeding seasons.

“This season may not be too bad, but the late spring has meant that grouse have nested much later than usual. Hopefully, we will have sufficient stocks to help recoup costs.”

Mr Scott-Harden said that despite numbers of many bird species dwindling in recent years, some of the most threatened were doing well on grouse moors.

“(The RSPB) State of Nature report painted a gloomy picture, but we are delighted to be bucking national trends with some notable successes.

“We have 75 per cent of the world’s remaining heather moorland here in the UK. Endangered lapwing, curlew, golden plover, ring ouzel, merlin, black grouse and grey partridge all fare far better on moorland with gamekeepers.”

He said MA members spent £52.5m a year managing grouse moors, resulting in around 700 full-time jobs and a further 800-plus directly linked to the industry.

“Shooting usually stops well before the official end of the season, but every day is a bonus for the local economy.

“Despite the success of any breeding season, only a handful of those letting days on a commercial basis will break even due to the great costs involved in managing the moor.”

The grouse season runs from August 12 to December.