What's the best way of getting a permission to shoot your air rifle locally?

So you’re a keen airgunner and you’ve set up a safe range at home for a spot of garden airgunning. But now you’re keen to expand your horizons. Maybe carry out a bit of pest control for a local farmer.

But how do you go about getting a formal airgun shooting permission? Would it be possible to shoot in local woods open to the public or would that be forbidden? How do you get in touch with the land owner?

Shooting Times contributor and airgunning expert Mat Manning offers some key advice.

How to get an airgun shooting permission

You need permission from the landowner or the owner of the shooting rights in order to shoot anywhere. If you want to shoot in local woods open the public this is more complicated.

You should be able to find contact information for the authority that manages the woods displayed on signage in the area. Failing that, your local council should be able to point you in the right direction.

There is a chance that you may be able to assist with pest control at times when the site is closed to the public.

However I would advise you to join an air rifle club, get in some more practice and then start approaching local farmers for shooting permission.

Invest in shooting insurance with an organisation such as BASC to show that you take your sport seriously and let farmers know you’re a responsible airgun shooter willing to assist with the control of grey squirrels, rabbits, pigeons and rats. Ensure permission is granted in writing to avoid any confusion and to have something to show anybody who asks whether you have permission.

Tips and advice

  • Once you’ve noticed an area that has a pest control problem ask around to see who owns the land. Farm workshops are usually productive.
  • If you visit a farm get there early, not late in the morning. Be polite and make sure that you communicate that you know the farmer is busy and you don’t want to waste their time.
  • Be respectful. Be specific and say something like: “I noticed that your field has a lot of corvids on it eating the seed. I wondered if I could keep them off for an hour or so at a time convenient to you?”
  • Go alone and don’t take a dog to your initial meeting
  • It’s worth having a business card made which offers pest control. Have your BASC membership card and firearms certificate ready if necessary.
  • Remember that a farmer needs to be able to trust somebody coming onto their land completely. They need to know that the shooter is safe and responsible.