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Airgun shooting permission: here’s how to go about getting it

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

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Airgunning at home in the garden or at an airgun shooting range is one thing, but how do you go about getting an airgun shooting permission locally so that you can carry out some pest control with an air rifle? How should you approach a local landowner?

Getting an airgun shooting permission

You need permission from the landowner or the owner of the shooting rights in order to shoot anywhere. If you’ve noticed somewhere that could do with some pest control – maybe signs of rats, squirrels gorging on pheasant feeders or corvids picking off a newly sown field, then ask around to see who owns the land. Farm workshops are usually productive. (Read our tips on the best airgun pellets.)

Tips and advice

  • 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.

What about if you want to shoot in public woods?

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. (Read “Where can I shoot my air rifle – can I take it to a public park?”)

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.