RECORD numbers of game birds mean the start of the grouse shooting season looks set to boost the rural economy in North Yorkshire.

Matthew Watson, a surveyor at Savills in York, which looks after rural estates, said: “The prospects are good for the coming season. Many moors are reporting strong grouse numbers, some are comparable to last year, some even better.

“There are inevitable variances to this; however, several moors broke their all-time records for numbers last year. For 2012, the good news is that moors are mainly reporting increases in numbers.

“This will mean that bag records will most likely be broken again.”

The season starts on August 12, also known as the Glorious Twelfth.