The pheasant, partridge and grouse shooting seasons are now open and it's not long until the season opens for some deer in Scotland. Find out when the seasons open with this guide to game shooting seasons

For some quarry, there is no such thing as a game shooting season; they can be shot legally throughout the year (wood pigeon and rabbit, for example). But for some, there is a close season when it’s illegal to shoot them. This is essential for game populations to flourish, as the close game shooting season allows them to breed and move between breeding and wintering grounds.

Please see below for a list of open seasons or click the game below to head straight to the information:
Red Grouse
Common Snipe
Black Grouse
Grey Partridge
Red-Legged Partridge
Duck & Goose
Golden Plover
Coot & Moorhen
Pheasant
Woodcock
Deer stalking

Red Grouse open season

England and Wales: Aug 12- Dec 10
Scotland: Aug 12- Dec 10
Northern Ireland: Aug 12- Nov 30

Common Snipe open season

England and Wales: Aug 12- Jan 31
Scotland: Aug 12- Jan 31
Northern Ireland: Sep 1 – Jan 31

Black Grouse open season

England and Wales: Aug 20- Dec 10 (Somerset, Devon and New Forest: Sep 1 – Dec 10)
Scotland: Aug 20- Dec 10

Grey Partridge open season

England and Wales: Sep 1 – Feb 1
Scotland: Sep 1 – Feb 1
Northern Ireland: Sep 1 – Jan 31

Red-legged Partridge

England and Wales: Sep 1 – Feb 1
Scotland: Sep 1 – Feb 1
Northern Ireland: Sep 1 – Jan 31

Duck & Goose open season

England and Wales inland: Sep 1 – Jan 31
England and Wales below high water mark: Sep 1 – Feb 20
Scotland inland: Sep 1 – Jan 31
Scotland below high water mark: Sep 1 – Feb 20
Northern Ireland inland: Sep 1 – Jan 31
Northern Ireland below high water mark: Sep 1 – Jan 31

Golden Plover open season

England and Wales: Sep 1 – Jan 31
Scotland: Sep 1 – Jan 31
Northern Ireland: Sep 1 – Jan 31

Coot/Moorhen open season

England and Wales: Sep 1 – Jan 31
Scotland: Sep 1 – Jan 31
Northern Ireland: Protected

Pheasant open season

England and Wales: Oct 1 – Feb 1
Scotland: Oct 1 – Feb 1
Northern Ireland: Oct 1 – Jan 31
Isle of Man: Oct 1 – Jan 31

Woodcock open season

England and Wales: Oct 1 – Jan 31
Scotland: Oct 1 – Jan 31
Northern Ireland: Oct 1 – Jan 31

Did you know?

  • Curlew and Jack Snipe are protected in England, Scotland and Wales but can be shot in Northern Ireland Sep 1 – Jan 31
  • Hare cannot be sold from March to Juy in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland the Hare open season runs Aug 12 – Jan 31
  • No game may be killed or taken in any county in England and Wales on Sunday or Christmas Day. This applies to pheasant, partridge, red grouse, black grouse and hare.
  • Orders prohibiting the shooting of wildfoul on Sundays still exist in almost 20 counties in England and Wales

Deer Stalking open seasons

England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Red stags: Aug 1 – April 30
Red hinds: Nov 1 – Feb 28/29

Fallow bucks: Aug 1 – April 30
Fallow does: Nov 1 – Feb 28/29

Sika stags: Aug 1 – April 30
Sika hinds: Nov 1 – March 31

Red/Sika Hybrids
Stags: Aug 1 – April 30
Hinds: Nov 1 – Feb 28/29

England and Wales
Roe bucks: April 1 – Oct 31
Roe does: Nov 1 – Feb 28/29

Chinese Water Deer: no statutory close season
Muntjac: no statutory close season

Scotland
Red stags: July 1 – Oct 20
Red hinds: Oct 21 – Feb 15

Fallow bucks: Aug 1 – April 30
Fallow does: Oct 21 – Feb 15

Sika stags: July 1 – Oct 20
Sika hinds: Oct 21 – Feb 15

Roe bucks: April 1 – Oct 20
Roe does: Oct 21 – Mar 31

  • Paul

    Hi,

    As I see it, you have incorrect information on the Open Season for red, fallow and sika hinds in Northern Ireland. This should be to the end of March – and not the end of February in the three cases as you have it – see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1985/171/schedule/10 and the revision http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2011/15/section/28/prospective

  • AttackRabbit

    My garden/paddock is currently infested with bottle nosed porpoise? Is it illegal to shoot these upside the head without a licence? Thanks

  • anon

    You disgust me. I have people shooting outside my house at innocent animals and all I can hear is laughter from the shooters. It is sick.

  • waheed husain

    PLEASE COULD YOU TELL ME WHERE I CAN APPLY TO GET A LICENECE FOR PHEASANT AND PARTRIDGE SHOOTING

    KIND REGARDS

    WAHEED HUSSAIN

  • ray woods

    im over run with feral pigeons am i allowed to shoot them all year round .

  • Tristan Perry

    Is it llegal to shoot a female deer (i think it was a roe) in england??? 13/9/10

  • chris

    As of 1st september 2010 it is no longer legal to kill curlew in Northern Ireland.

  • jack

    hi just wondering if its legal to shoot targets in your back garden with a pellet gun eny time of the day also what are the age reqierments to use a pellet gun in your garden. ?

  • William Patterson

    Can anyone tell if shooting is allowed 24 hours per day, eg is shooting allowed in the early hours of the the morning (6:00 AM) in close vicinity to dwelling house ?

  • Peter Prior

    Just to settle a argument i had with a freind on the first of feb. Is it legal to shoot hen pheasants on the first of feb. Thanks

  • cameron julian

    hi
    i was wondering if you are allowed to shoot black backed, lesser black backed and herring gulls.