As a result of pressure from the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Scottish government made changes to its General Licences on 20th March.

The new licences came into force on 1st April.

The NGO’s Charles Nodder said the late changes had resulted in confusion and chaos: “I was contacted by the Scottish government and told the concerns I had expressed that morning over the ability to shoot with a double-barreled shotgun and the need to place food in catching compartments had been signed off and put on its website that day.”

“I was told other points I had raised – why a Larsen trap in Scotland now needs a police phone number and a user identification tag and has to be removed when not in use – ‘could not be addressed today but we might be able to look again at those next year’.”

“While the worst problems were dealt with at the eleventh hour, it is not good enough that the law is being changed at a week’s notice and that our organisation’s official input on the final drafts was never sought.”

Mr Nodder continued: “The recent history of General Licences has been characterised by last-minute rushes and retractions. It is time officials realise these licences constitute a serious part of the law and that if people make mistakes, which they have every chance of doing when the conditions are being changed each year, they can end up in prison.”

The rest of this article appears in 3rd April issue of Shooting Times.

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