Shooters are being warned they may struggle to find grouse because the heat wave has sent the birds searching
Hot weather may have sent the birds looking for water
The "Glorious Twelfth" on Tuesday marked the start of the traditional shooting season across many parts of North Yorkshire, northern England and Scotland.
The warm weather has ensured there were a large number of grouse on the hills
and moorland across the country.
But one expert says that the continued dry spell may scupper
some hunters' chances of finding their prey.
Adam Smith of Game Conservancy said that while some parts of the country
may have their best season in years, others may suffer due to the heat.
He said: "I would have been more bullish a few weeks ago.
"Some areas, such as the north east of Scotland, are talking about having
"But there are other areas where the lovely weather might have been too good,
the hills are becoming very dry and they are beginning to run out of water.
"Even if it doesn't reduce the number of grouse, it will make them harder to
Shooters may find their quarry elusive
"It should be a good year - if the guys can find where the birds have
Phillip Pugh, the northern regional director of the British Association for Shooting
and Conservation, agreed that the recent weather may have been "too dry" for
the birds - but predicted it could be the best season in a decade.
He said: "It may be a short-term problem, but over the long-term prospects are very good for the season."
And he added that visitors and shooters out on the moorland should remain "extremely cautious" about smoking materials and litter.
"One accidental fire could wipe out a lifetime's conservation work on heather habitat."