Shooters in England and Wales will no longer need to endure the annual ritual of trying to find a Licence to Kill Game from the vanishing rural post office network. As of 1 August this year, both the game licence and the gamedealers? licence are to be scrapped, following the presentation to the House of Commons of the draft 2007 Regulatory Reform (Game) Order, scheduled to take place before Easter.

?This is fantastic news for everyone who shoots or deals in game. Gameshooting has changed dramatically since the Game Laws were first enacted in the 19th century, so it is only right that the laws are updated for the 21st century,? commented BASC?s head of gamekeeping, Stewart Scull.

The abolition of the gamedealers? licence is expected to provide an enormous stimulus to the already burgeoning game meat industry, as it will scrap current restrictions on year-round sales of venison and game. The restrictions date back to the earliest Game Laws of the 19th century, before the advent of modern refrigeration. The removal of the restriction will also put domestic gamedealers on a level footing with gamedealers in other countries. Currently, while it is illegal to sell domestic game out of season, foreign imports can be sold all year round. A new offence would be created of selling game if it has been unlawfully killed or taken and the person concerned knew or had reason to believe that this was so.

Shooters north of the Border and in Northern Ireland will still have to make the trip to their local post office, however. Regulatory Reform Orders from Westminster are not available to change legislation affecting Scotland, so any reworking of the law there would require the introduction of primary legislation. In Northern Ireland a review of game licensing legislation is expected to take place this year.