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When the season opens on Monday (the traditional 12th falls on a Sunday, when game shooting is not allowed), that experience will be shared by the fortunate few who can either afford it, or have friends who can.And you do need those sort of friends or a loving relationship with your bank manager.None of this fazes those born to the purple moors, men such as the van Cutsems, Sir Edward Dashwood and the Dukes of Norfolk and Northumberland.Their thoroughbred performance, expending just one and a half cartridges for every grouse killed, makes most of us look like donkeys.But professional conservationists, including the RSPB, appreciate the importance of their work. "If it weren't for intensive land management for grouse shooting, large areas of the British uplands would be much the poorer for birds - for example, grouse moors are good for golden plovers and curlew.And grouse moors have protected large areas from conifer plantations and excessive grazing by sheep," he says.To shoot two grouse (a brace) costs about £120, so a normal day of 100 brace will leave a team of eight guns writing a cheque for £12,000.
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I stop when it gets dark, except during the winter when we lamp for rabbits and foxes.
In this game, predator control is vital - it's what the job's all about." That commitment is shared by David Beaumont, 49, who left his job as a steelworker to work on the moors.
A lowland gamekeeper, raising partridges and pheasants, has many problems but if there's a real disaster and he loses 1,000 birds to disease or heavy rain, he can probably resupply from a game farmer. His charges are truly wild, and if the heather is poor (it gives grouse both food and shelter) or the predators are rampant, then there's no shooting - and no income to help pay his wages.
Lindsay Waddell, 56, is the headkeeper at the Raby Estate, owned by Lord Barnard.
"The Forestry Commission rangers used to control their foxes, but not any more.