crow shooting

Shooting UK will keep you updated with the latest developments with articles, which are all listed below. All include links to forms and information.

changes to general licences on bird species

Significant changes to general licences

The general licences allow the control of a range of bird species which would otherwise be protected; these include species such as wood pigeons and carrion crows. They were widely seen as uncontroversial and effective and were used by farmers, shoots and conservation bodies. However their legality was challenged by…

changes to general licences on bird species

Consultation on general licences in Northern Ireland has been dropped

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) abandoned the consultation process after it came under fire for bias. The consultation had looked at proposals to remove herring gulls, both species of black-backed gull and rooks from 2021/22 general licences for Northern Ireland. However, countryside groups pointed out fundamental…

Releasing gamebird

The new GL43 general licence – here’s what you need to know

Defra has published its new and long-awaited general licence (GL43), to cover the releasing of gamebirds on European protected sites. These protected sites are Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Areas (SPA), Ramsar wetlands and potential SPAs and SACs or proposed Ramsar wetlands. The potential or proposed sites are…


Why has Natural England introduced new controls for corvids?

Things had calmed down after Natural England helped stoke anger over the general licences two years ago, but it has heaped coal back on the fire. Back then it was Wild Justice that threw a spanner in the works, helping to strip vital protection from endangered curlew, lapwing and other…

Brown hare

Ban on brown hare shooting looms

Senior Government sources have told The Telegraph that a close season is to be introduced for brown hares. A complete ban on shooting mountain hares is also to be introduced in England. News of the forthcoming ban has sparked anger amongst fieldsports bodies, who argue that hare poaching is the…

pigeon shooting

What you need to know about the new 2021 general licences for England

The new 2021 general licences for England came into effect from 1 January and are valid for this calendar year. They were announced by Defra in November after the withdrawal and subsequent reinstatement following a challenge by Wild Justice. New 2021 general licences in detail GL40 Conservation of endangered wild…

lesser black backed gull

Natural England adds ‘screening’ to general licence applications

Natural England’s latest move will mean it takes longer to get permission to control birds not covered by the general licences, such as lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls. The government body advises: “To apply for a licence to control wild birds for conservation or health and safety purposes that…

Carrion crow, Corvus corone

High Court rules Welsh general licences lawful

Essential pest control in Wales will be allowed to continue after Judge Jarman QC rejected the claims of Wild Justice on 18 January 2021. Wild Justice had asserted that general licences GL001, GL002 and GL004 were not lawful but in the High Court judgement all three of these claims were…

Ring-necked parakeet

Surrey Police state killing any wild bird is “an offence”

It has come to our attention that wild birds are being attacked and killed using catapults.Under Section 1 of the… Posted by Surrey Police on Saturday, September 26, 2020 Shooters in the Surrey area were shocked to see their county police force announce that shooting parakeets, crows and pigeons was illegal. …

crow shooting

General licence extension by DEFRA

General licence holders needing to control wild birds will be relieved to learn that DEFRA has reissued the current permits from 1 August to 31 December 2020. The department has confirmed that no action is required by the licence users beyond the ‘ongoing requirement to act in accordance with the licence…

Canada geese

Defra reissues temporary general licences ahead of deadline

Defra has reissued six general licences on a temporary basis for the control of wild birds. The temporary general licences in question  (GL26, GL28, GL31, GL34, GL35 and GL36) will be reissued from 1 March to 31 July 2020.  Licence users do not need to take further action, other than…

Crows with sheep

Is trouble with general licences brewing again?

New general licences expire soon Are general licences going to become unworkable again? Last year the three main general licences for the shooting and trapping of pest birds (GL34, GL35 and GL36) were temporarily revoked after a legal challenge. After delay and discussion they were reissued by Defra with validity…

Wood Pigeon

Why the wood pigeon is so successful

About wood pigeon The main wood pigeon breeding season is much later than most people realise. You may see lots of wing-clapping display flights and hear lots of their distinctive “don’t scold so, Susie” cooing in March and April, but the vast majority of pigeon will struggle to raise a…

changes to general licences on bird species

Our guide to the bird species on general licences in England

The changes to general licences in the last year resulted in a lot of confusion. To make matters simpler, we thought we would provide a visual reference to bird species on general licences in England that can be culled. Remember that the law is different in Wales. Mike Swan, Head of…


How civil servants affect our protected bird numbers

Despite what some may think it gives me little pleasure to once more take our civil servants to task for their decisions. However, as long as they continue to make glaring errors that is what will happen. You may recall in a previous piece I noted that anyone who manages…

hen harrier female

General licences restricted on Leadhills Estate following wildlife crime

In the past week Scottish Natural Heritage has announced that it is restricting the use of general licences on the Leadhills Estate in South Lanarkshire after evidence of wildlife crime against birds was provided by Police Scotland. Nick Halfhide, SNH’s Director of Sustainable Growth, explained: “There is clear evidence that…

land management of grouse moor

Land management is hampered by officials with little knowledge

When a senior member 
of Natural England asks 
a grouse keeper how many birds he releases and it’s not 1 April, you have a right 
to worry. It is not the only example 
of government employees showing 
a serious lack of working knowledge. The licensing debacle has left the management…

Canada geese in flight

Changes to general licences in Wales from 7 October

What you need to know about the changes to general licences in Wales which come into effect from 7 October 2019, Changes to GL001, GL002 and GL004 GL001 – Issued for preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables or fruit or to prevent the spread of disease…


Have your say in new Government survey on general licences

Environment secretary Theresa Villers has launched a 12 week public survey as part of a planned review of general licences to manage wild birds in England. What is the purpose of the general licence review? Defra says the aim of the review: ” … is to ensure the licensing system…