From 9am today (January 5) it will be illegal to shoot ducks (including reared mallard), geese, woodcock, snipe and golden plover.

Director of BASC Scotland, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “The legal suspension of the shooting of wildfowl and wading birds is applied in order to offer extra protection when an extended period of severe weather is likely to disrupt the birds’ feeding and roosting patterns.

“Hunters in Scotland have been under advice to exercise extra restraint in shooting these birds since Boxing Day.”

The suspension could last for up to two weeks but should be reviewed after seven days if there is an improvement in conditions.