Ultimate Guide to Shooting Seasons in the UK

It’s August 12th today – the day the shooting season for grouse begins. One cookery writer (I forget who now) describes eating just one grouse each year –  stuffed with two raspberries and a knob of butter, and  served on a piece of fried bread.

There are also sorts of other game treats, aside from grouse, in store as the shooting season draws on:


And then there’s rabbit, pigeon…. the list goes on.

For a truly excellent, and visually gorgeous, book on game cooking try Andrew Pern’s Loose Birds and Game.

Most game is now available throughout the year, thanks to the freezer and also to the fact that some is actually farmed, but wild game is always better in season – so what are the principal game seasons in the UK?


Game Region Start date Finish date
Duck and Goose UK 1 Sept 31 Jan (extended to February below the high tide line
Red grouse UK 12 Aug 19 Dec (in Northern Ireland they stop at the end of Nov)
Hare UK except Northern Ireland 1 Aug 29 Feb
Partridge UK 1 Sept 1 Feb
Pheasant UK 1 Oct 1 Feb
Pigeon UK All year  
Rabbit UK All year  
Venison UK Varies  


If you’re interested in learning more about game, we have an episode all about it on our podcast Serving Up Sustainability! You can listen below. 

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