Subject to the subsequent provisions of Part 1 of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act, Section 1.1 of the Act makes it an offence to kill or injure any wild bird.
Section 26 (1) (Power to grant licences) goes on to provide that Section 1 does not apply to shooting for the purposes of preventing serious damage to foodstuffs for livestock, crops and vegetables, if it is done in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.
The general licence to shoot pigeon states in paragraph 1 that the purposes for which it is granted are for preventing serious damage to foodstuffs for livestock, crops and vegetables. It is on this licence that pigeon shooters rely throughout the year.
The conditions of the general licence require the authorised person shooting pigeon under the licence to be satisfied that appropriate non-lethal methods of control, such as scaring, are ineffective or impracticable.