What's the situation?

The latest national lockdown came into force in England on 6th January 2021.

However wildfowling, deer stalking and rough shooting are now permitted as exercise, provided shooters comply with the strict conditions that existing around social distancing and travel.

So what are the rules on shooting?

BASC advises that outdoor shooting for exercise is permitted once a day in England during the national lockdown, provided shooters obey the following rules.

  1. You should only travel locally to shoot which is to “stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live” as defined in government guidance.
  2. When shooting you should only meet with people you live with, your support bubble; or when on your own, with one person from another household.

If you cannot comply with these conditions, then you must not shoot as a form of exercise.

Our responsibility to our sport

However it is more important than ever that shooters consider the impact of their activity on the image and reputation of shooting. Be very aware what you post on social media and of your public behaviour and conversation. Shooters should be sensitive to the lockdown the country is in and how COVID has impacted on the health, livelihoods and finances of many.

Shooting UK spoke directly to Sam Carlisle, manager of the Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for shooting, who commented: “The Countryside Alliance welcomes the government’s recognition that recreational shooting and wildfowling can carry on in a very COVID secure manner; shooting is an essential part of the countryside and vital to many people’s physical and mental wellbeing. Of course everyone must adhere to the guidance on gatherings.”

Essential shooting work

Shooting-related essential work is permitted in England.  The National Gamekeepers Organisation advises: “This includes essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock such as the shooting and trapping of pest bird species under general licence; the management of rodents and rabbits; deer management as part of a plan agreed with and requested by the landowner. It is advised that you keep a copy of your shooting permission and a written request to undertake essential work with you so that you can present them if challenged by the authorities.

“Game management work and gamekeeping activities such as management of game birds, conducting pest/predator control and undertaking habitat management are also permitted.”