Glorious Twelfth Date in the current year: August 12, 2024

Glorious Twelfth August 12 is an important day for hunters in the United Kingdom. Widely referred to as the Glorious Twelfth, it marks the beginning of the shooting season for red grouse in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

To protect game birds, the British Parliament passed the Game Act 1831. According to the Act, each species of game birds has a close season when they cannot be shot and an open season when they may be legally taken:

  • Red grouse (and to a lesser extent rock ptarmigan): August 12 – December 10
  • Black grouse: August 20 – December 10
  • Pheasant and woodcock: October 1 – February 1
  • Partridge: September 1 – February 1

During the open season, game may not be taken on Sundays or Christmas Day. That’s why the Glorious Twelfth is sometimes postponed to the following day if it falls on a Sunday, which actually makes it the Glorious Thirteenth.

The Glorious Twelfth is one of the busiest days in the shooting season, with copious amounts of red grouse being shot. However, the population of grouse fluctuates naturally from year to year, and so does the amount of game being killed. In recent yeast, the start of the shooting season has also been hit by bad weather, flooding, disease outbreaks, low numbers of grouse, and hunt saboteurs.

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Glorious Twelfth, shooting season, red grouse, Game Act 1831