Lockdown regulations apply throughout England from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December inclusive. This means that we expect shooting in groups, including organised game shooting, to be able to resume from Thursday 3 December subject to local and regional restrictions.
What is not permitted during the lockdown period
Driven game and other types of group shooting cannot take place from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December inclusive, as the new coronavirus regulations prevent gatherings of more than two people. England will return to a local and regional approach on 3 December and driven game shooting is expected to resume from that date subject to local and regional restrictions.
Leisure and sports facilities, including target shooting ranges and clay grounds are required to close up to and including 2 December.
What is permitted
Under the new coronavirus regulations, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.
Exceptions where a person may leave their home include:
- Undertaking paid work, or to provide voluntary services
- Animal welfare
- Open air recreation
Essential bird and mammalian pest control to protect crops, livestock or conservation may continue during the lockdown period. Pest bird shooting must comply with relevant general or individual licences as applicable. Pest control services requested by a landowner or agent can be construed either as work (whether paid or unpaid) or voluntary service. The regulations do not impose any limits on how far you can travel.
Deer stalking as part of a management plan agreed with the landowner can similarly be considered as work or voluntary service. There are no legal restrictions on how far you can travel.
Game management and gamekeeping activities may continue during the lockdown period. Ensuring that birds under your care are adequately provided with food and water is important.
Recreational shooting activity such as informal rough shooting, wildfowling and recreational deer stalking may continue as ‘open air recreation’ but subject to strict legal limits on numbers. You may only participate in shooting activity with people you live with, your support bubble (if you are living alone), or one person from another household.
Government guidance advises that you should only make short journeys for the purposes of exercise and recreation – it does not define what distance they mean by this. You may not stay away from your home overnight to partake in recreational activity.
Non-essential retailers such as gun shops are allowed to trade remotely (online, mail order) and to provide “click and collect” services but customers are not allowed to enter the premises.
When shooting during lockdown, we would advise taking a copy of your shotgun or firearm certificate with you and paperwork for your permission to shoot on the land you are on.
During lockdown local sensitivities can be high – be aware of how your recreation may appear to others. Although it is not a legal requirement you may want to log your trip in advance with Police on 101.
Everyone shooting during lockdown must consider the impact of their actions on the image and reputation of the sport. We all have a responsibility to comply with the letter and spirit of the regulations and guidance.
Government guidance can be found here with the regulations (legal text) here.