During the summer I’m out on my permission on a regular basis trying to mop up the vermin causing a menace to the farmers. Earlier this summer I was out and about on the estate where I do most of my shooting, doing a typical reconnaissance mission when I bumped into the estate’s shepherd. He was happy to see me because he was being plagued by large numbers of gulls and crows that were really going to town on his sheep feeders. After a chat and a brief, I headed down to the fields in question to investigate further.
As a rule of thumb, only shoot a gull when you can see its eye to ensure it’s in range.
Weapon of choice
As some of the readers will be aware, I’m a big believer in tight chokes and heavy cartridges when shooting vermin. This is also the case when shooting long-range gulls. This particular day I decided to venture out with the Remington 3200 trap gun. It has a 30inch split barrels with full and full choke. I teamed the 3200 with Victory Starlight 32g 5s, which gave me enough stopping power for even the most cautious gulls.
The Remington’s ejectors and barrel selector also came in handy as typically when you shoot one gull the rest will come swarming in, almost out of know where.
Lesser black-backed gulls and the law
You must follow the letter of the law when shooting. Shooting gulls can be a confusing subject for a lot of shooters because people aren’t aware of the law.
The gulls shot on this particular day were lesser black-backed. These gulls can still be shot under the general licence if there is a valid reason to shoot them. I was covered under the general licence because the lesser black-backs were doing agricultural damage by eating the sheep feed.
Another very important thing to remember is that there are numerous species of gulls in the UK but you can now only shoot the lesser black-backed. It is essential to ensure that your quarry identification is accurate as many gulls look similar. If in doubt, DON’T SHOOT. If you are unaware of the law and how it affects your shooting situation, visit the BASC website.
Read more about Tom Sykes’ advice on how to get rid of seagulls in the September issue of Sporting Gun, out on Monday 1 August.