Legal

DAVID FROST says: You need to take a look at the open general licences in question, which can be viewed at DEFRA.

In the main Canada geese can be shot either to preserve public health, prevent the spread of disease or to prevent damage to crops, although there are some other reasons given in the licence. You have to satisfy yourself that non-lethal methods such as scaring are either ineffective or impractical.

Whereas you can shoot Canada geese anywhere and for any reason during the open season, you may only shoot them under the terms of the licence out of season. The open licence system is for pest control, not for sporting shooting.

You need to bear this in mind when deciding whether or not to shoot. For example goose droppings are a potential threat to public health and if the geese are using golf courses, playing fields and the like, it is reasonable to shoot them. At the other extreme if they’re only feeding on set-aside you might have difficulty in convincing yourself that you are operating within the terms of the licence.

The Canada goose is the only species that has both a sporting season and a pest designation.

Got a question? Contact: sportinggun@ipcmedia.com or Sporting Gun, PO Box 157, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 9FU