Generally, the use of shotguns is neither permitted nor recommended for deer control.
However, they may be used under specific circumstances by specific persons in order to prevent serious damage to crops etc.
Those persons are:
• The occupier of the land on which the action is to be taken
• A resident member of the occupier’s household, authorised by him in writing
• An employee of the occupier, authorised by him in writing
• A person having the right to kill or take deer on the land (ie. the shooting or stalking tenant) or any other person acting with his written authority
Such action may only be taken where the damage is actually being done, and not in an adjoining field or woodland (Traill v. Buckingham 1972).
In England and Wales, if a shotgun is used it must be at least 12-bore and loaded with either a non-spherical bullet of at least 350 grains weight or with AAA shot – which means only AAA, not anything larger or smaller.
The same restrictions as to authorised persons also apply to the use of a rifle if it becomes necessary to shoot deer out of season.