By Claire Marshall
BBC Environment Correspondent
12 August 2016
More than 80,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a ban on grouse shooting as the season starts.
Critics argue that the sport is directly contributing to a rapid fall in the number of hen harriers, an endangered species of raptors.
The birds prey on red grouse chicks as part of their diet.
Animal rights activists argue that gamekeepers who manage the moors where the birds are reared kill hen harriers to preserve their grouse stocks.
It's thought that there are only three breeding pairs of hen harriers left in England.
Countryside groups and the government say that grouse shooting is a legitimate activity that brings significant benefits to the rural economy.
They also argue that gamekeeper management helps other moorland bird species.
They say that by keeping fox numbers down, other species of birds such as lapwings, curlews and golden plovers are allowed to flourish.