A keen airgunner asks the question

A: I am new to airgun shooting and want to know whether I’m allowed to shoot in local woods that are open to the public. If I need formal airgun shooting permission, how should I go about contacting the owner?

Q: You need permission from the landowner or the owner of the shooting rights in order to shoot anywhere, and the fact that your local woods are open to the public 
is likely to complicate matters.

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, but my feeling is that you would be better off joining a club and 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.

Pigeon shooting

Q: Do I need permission to shoot pigeons in the countryside?

A: You most certainly do, for two reasons.

Firstly if you enter someone else’s land without their permission you are a trespasser and if you have a gun with you, you are an armed trespasser.

This is a criminal offence for which there are serious penalties.

Secondly pigeon may only be shot by authorised persons under the terms of general licences issued by the various central or devolved governments that now run this country.

An authorised person is somebody who is the owner or occupier of the land in question or who has the permission of the owner or occupier.

The terms of the general licences are different in each of the four countries that constitute the United Kingdom and you must read them before you shoot – so as to ensure you are within the law.