Hunting in the UK

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rg598

Native
I've been around the forum for a bunch of years, but recently I noticed that there is no hunting sub-forum on Bushcraft UK. I live in the US, and most US outdoor forums have hunting sections. Since I am not familiar with regulations in the UK, I assumed that there simply wasn't a lot of opportunity to hunt there.

However, recently, in several of the "can you thrive in the wilderness with just your underwear and a knife" threads it has been mentioned that certain species like rabbit and squirrel can be hunter year round, and that at any time during the year there is a species of deer that can be hunted. In effect, people have implied that you can easily hunt year round in the UK to feed yourself.

Is that actually the case? Is hunting easily accessible in the UK? If so, why isn't it discussed more? It seems a vital aspect of bushcraft. Or is it just that it is not a topic that is discussed here for some reason that I have failed to notice?

Any info would be appreciated. I've been trying to avoid posting any of my trips which involve hunting because I wasn't sure about the rules.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,410
883
63
Florida
From what I remember from when I was stationed there (1985-1989) and the threads on the forum, the hunting laws themselves are fairly lax (they can even legally hunt with a headlight and/or a silencer) but finding landowner permission is the tricky bit. No public hunting land like we have here.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
rg598, you are very welcome to post your hunting trip reports, but please be aware of the issues in the UK about firearms and their images not being considered suitable viewing in schools, colleges, and other shared spaces.
For that reason we put such threads (and those that show butchery, etc., ) into Fair Game.

We reckon that if a member opens them in a public place, then they're well aware that there might well be images that some folks will find if not disturbing, at best something that they will comment unfavourably upon.


There's a lot of hunting in the UK, but as said in a previous post, all land is owned by someone and if you do not have specific permission to hunt on it, then it's illegal.

There are restrictions on the rifles used for hunting animals like deer, and bows and crossbows are not permitted.

Fishing and riparian rights are another issue too, and the penalties if caught breaking the law can include confiscation not only of equipment but of the vehicle that got you to the site in the first place as well.

Poaching is generally considered one for the pot, and doesn't gain the same opprobium that it seems to attract elsewhere in the world. :dunno:

Not really my thing; I'm just the first Mod who read this thread. There's bound to be someone who's more au fait with the ins and outs of the details than I am along to give information.

cheers,
Toddy
 

Dougster

Full Member
Oct 13, 2005
5,091
68
The banks of the Deveron.
In a word, it's a nightmare.

Landowners can sell rights to stalking, and these are then sold (by stalking I mean deer).

This land is unlikely to have anything else shot on it so paying clients can bag the big deer and pay for them.

I am very very lucky in a friend I have who seems to know everyone, on Tuesday night I had a very big buck but I have to pay the friend for the carcass as he has the rights. I also bought him a case of beer as it was a good one.


I could go on and on.... but I love it.
Rabbits and squirrels are less difficult, but if there is private shooting it gets difficult.
 

Dougster

Full Member
Oct 13, 2005
5,091
68
The banks of the Deveron.
rg598, you are very welcome to post your hunting trip reports, but please be aware of the issues in the UK about firearms and their images not being considered suitable viewing in schools, colleges, and other shared spaces.
For that reason we put such threads (and those that show butchery, etc., ) into Fair Game.

We reckon that if a member opens them in a public place, then they're well aware that there might well be images that some folks will find if not disturbing, at best something that they will comment unfavourably upon.


There's a lot of hunting in the UK, but as said in a previous post, all land is owned by someone and if you do not have specific permission to hunt on it, then it's illegal.

Specific firepower is legislated for hunting animals like deer, and bows and crossbows are not permitted.

Fishing and riparian rights are another issue too, and the penalties if caught breaking the law can include confiscation not only of equipment but of the vehicle that got you to the site in the first place as well.

Poaching is generally considered one for the pot, and doesn't gain the same opprobium that it seems to attract elsewhere in the world. :dunno:

Not really my thing; I'm just the first Mod who read this thread. There's bound to be someone who's more au fait with the ins and outs of the details than I am along to give information.

cheers,
Toddy
Superb, but one for the pot is very much not the case around here Mary, they have stripped areas of deer at night with dogs and illegal low powered .22s and disappeared down the motorway.
 

Mouse040

Full Member
Apr 26, 2013
533
0
Radstock
For me I think this thread is going to reflect the narrow perception of what is sociably acceptable
I shoot but only for food and have not been lucky enough to have rights over deer as dougster said this generally for the people within the correct circles with the right weight of wallet so this said rabbits squirrels and pigeon for me don't constitute Hunting and are not interesting enough to publicly share
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
Superb, but one for the pot is very much not the case around here Mary, they have stripped areas of deer at night with dogs and illegal low powered .22s and disappeared down the motorway.
:sigh: yeah, and they just make it harder for everyone else as well as decimating populations :(
Maybe I should have said that the older attitude was one for the pot? but then, men died for that in the past; hung or sent to the colonies for taking a rabbit or a fish.

The Law is the Law is the Law, at the end of the day.

atb,
M
 

Countryman

Full Member
Jun 26, 2013
1,609
49
North Dorset
Poaching is a real problem. It is 99.9% illegal to shoot deer at night with a lamp. This is however the poachers method of choice. We too had our area stripped a few years ago and it's only just starting to recover.

Vermin control, typically fox and rabbit, is conducted legitimately at night with a lamp and yes by some bizarre rationalisation our Nanny State doesn't see a Moderator (silencer) as an assassins tool but as a valid Health and Safety device.

How this can translate to "Lax" I don't know. Our firearms laws are the most controlling in the world. It is ridiculously hard to get a gun in the UK. Pistols such as you own in the USA are totally banned, semi automatic rifles other than in .22LR are also banned. Semi Auto shotguns with a mag capacity more than 2 are classed like centrefire rifles. To own what's left available is a tough application process with the onus on the applicant to show they have the right character and good reason to possess any given gun and have secure storage in a safe for the gun with separate safe for ammunition and bolt.

So when you get your firearms certificate you get 1 gun of any given calibre you have shown good reason for. That gun, usually for the period of your 5 years first certificate at least will be restricted to land you have declared and the Police agree is suitable. You can only shoot where you have declared.

If you request a calibre that is considered suitable for Deer and want to shoot Deer then the Police like you to go and pass Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 at least which is about £300.

Guns and ammunition in the UK are at least 50-100% more than in the USA. We love any American friends coming over with "food parcels" of parts and accessories. Next time I go to the USA I'm going to take an empty suitcase!

Deer stalking for all the Stalking Rights issues posted previously is expensive. Trophy bucks and stags cost hundreds of pounds in addition to the stalking fees. Then it's more again if you want the carcass! So stalking deer is viewed by outsiders as extremely elitist.

Lamping rabbits, shooting pigeons and that sort of vermin control is a matter of who you know. Someone needs to trust you to shoot on their land.

So no Hunting in the UK is not like it is in the USA. It frankly annoys me that images of hunting trips and butchery are considered politically incorrect. Where the hell do they think food comes from?

I was part of a big fight over here last year to make WH Smiths (High Street Bookstore) repeal a ban on selling shooting publications to under 16's based on their decision these images were unsuitable.

As a shooting community we are under siege by an organised and vociferous group of Anti's who want all guns banned, largely supported by a left wing media. We do not really have a single organisation like the NRA to fight our corner.

The firearms market in the UK is smaller than the turnover of any Cabales outlet.
 
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jacko1066

Native
May 22, 2011
1,689
0
march, cambs
Poaching is a real problem. It is 99.9% illegal to shoot deer at night with a lamp. This is however the poachers method of choice. We too had our area stripped a few years ago and it's only just starting to recover.

Vermin control, typically fox and rabbit, it conducted legitimately at night with a lamp and yes by some bizarre rationalisation our Nanny State doesn't see a Moderator (silencer) as an assassins tool but as a valid Health and Safety device.

How this can translate to "Lax" I don't know. Our firearms laws are the most controlling in the world. It is ridiculously hard to get a gun in the UK. Pistols such as you own in the USA are totally banned, semi automatic rifles other than in .22LR are also banned. Semi Auto shotguns with a mag capacity more than 2 are classed like centrefire rifles. To own what's left available it a tough application process with the onus on the applicant to show they have the right character and good reason to possess a my given gun and have secure storage in a safe for the gun with separate safe for ammunition and bolt.

So when you get your firearms certificate you get 1 gun of any given calibre you have shown good reason for. That gun, usually for the period of your 5 years first certificate at least will be restricted to land you have declared and the Police agree is suitable. You can only shoot where you have declared.

If you request a calibre that is considered suitable for Deer and want to shoot Deer then the Police like you to go and pass Deer Stalking Certificate Level 1 at least which is about £300.

Guns and ammunition in the UK are at least 50-100% more than in the USA. We love any American friends coming over with "food parcels" of parts and accessories. Next time I go to the USA I'm going to take an empty suitcase!

Deer stalking for all the Stalking Rights issues posted previously is expensive. Trophy bucks and stags cost hundreds of pounds in addition to the stalking fees. Then it's more again if you want the carcass! So stalking deer is viewed by outsiders as extremely elitist.

Lamping rabbits, shooting pigeons and that sort of vermin control is a matter of who you know. Someone needs to trust you to shoot on their land.

So no Hunting in the UK is not like it is in the USA. It frankly annoys me that images of hunting trips and butchery are considered politically incorrect. Where the hell do they think food comes from?

I was part of a big fight over here last year to make WH Smiths (High Street Bookstore) repeal a ban on selling shooting publications to under 16's based on their decision these images were unsuitable.

As a shooting community we are under siege by an organised and vociferous group of Anti's who want all guns banned, largely supported by a left wing media. We do not really have a single organisation like the NRA to fight our corner.

The firearms market in the UK is smaller than the turnover of any Cabales outlet.
Great post mate!!!

And the reasons above is why I am struggling to find any land at all since I moved house!!
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,410
883
63
Florida
Countryman bear in mind when I said that I've gathered the hunting laws are lax, I was talking about just that. "Hunting laws." Not gun laws. I know they're related but not exactly the same thing.

IIRC you have no closed seasons, no bag limits, etc. (and largely no hunting license required IIRC for most small game) And as stated you can at night (even if it is rabbit and fox)

Even I, a newcomer, found a place to hunt rabbits while there, and I found it the first year I was there, simply by asking one of the women who did our intro briefings when I arrived. Granted, it was with my shotgun for rabbits but it was possible

Granted we can hunt a few animals at night (fox is among them as is raccoon) but those hunts are restricted to chasing them with dogs and killing them is restricted to a single shot 22 pistol loaded only when the prey is treed; IF!!! IF!!!! a firearm is used at all. More often somebody has to climb the tree and chase the coon out for the dogs on the ground.
 
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Countryman

Full Member
Jun 26, 2013
1,609
49
North Dorset
Ah hunting with hounds! Nope illegal.

Don't need bag limits when access to land is so controlled and access to firearms is limited. Only expanding ammunition is legal to shoot animals and that's further restricted.

A recent scientific survey indicated we need to cull half our deer population every year to keep it healthy. We just don't have the Stalkers to carry that out.

Rabbit populations haven't faired well over this last 3 years but were not so long ago in such overpopulation that they introduced myxamotosis.

Shooting bunnies with shot. Spit, spit. Ding! :) but as I say even that is a matter of who you know, the introductions you get and no small measure of luck.
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,410
883
63
Florida
Ah hunting with hounds! Nope illegal.

Don't need bag limits when access to land is so controlled and access to firearms is limited. Only expanding ammunition is legal to shoot animals and that's further restricted.
Only expanding ammunition? Kinda hard to find that for a shotgun isn't it? That's what I used to hunt rabbits with at RAF Fairford. Also what everyone uses for hunting birds IIRC. Also IIRC, a shotgun certificate is relatively easy to get (it certainly was when I got mine, but then again, that was over 20 years ago) as is an airgun; both extremely capable on almost all small game and if the threads here are any indication, air rifles are probably the most often used on such.
 
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Countryman

Full Member
Jun 26, 2013
1,609
49
North Dorset
Shotguns as defined by our laws (restricted by length, barrel length and magazine capacity )are subject to a certificate too.

Define "easy"? You get to walk into Wallmart and buy shotguns on a whim! My mate bought 3000 rounds of .22LR and only got carded for the 6 pack of brewskis he put on top!

Only Slug ammunition is restricted in the UK. You can shoot any other type of shell you can find here, subject to having access to land and not causing a nuisance and being away from a road. If after wildfowl you now cannot use lead. The alternatives are very expensive and arguably not as effective. A complete lead ban is in the offing here.

Last year a pigeon shooter near Stonehenge prevoked armed response units being called along with 6 other units and a Police Helicopter! His only sin was being seen shooting by the public. Perhaps he should have tried to do it at night!
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,410
883
63
Florida
Shotguns as defined by our laws ( restricted by length, barrel length and magazine capacity )are subject to a certificate too.
I know. As I said, I had one while there.

As for restrictions by length, capacity, etc. Those restrictions likewise apply here:
-Minimum barrel length is at least 18 inches (federal)
-Minimum overall length is at least 26 inches (federal)
-Maximum magazine capacity (in most states) is no more than 2 for upland game and more for big game (I know, you can't hunt big game with a shotgun)

There are a few on this forum from the UK that have posted about owning shotguns with extended magazines (7 shot capacity or more)
 

Countryman

Full Member
Jun 26, 2013
1,609
49
North Dorset
Yes you can own higher magazine capacity shotguns in the UK but they fall under a Firearms Certificate not Shotgun Certificate. They are far more strictly controlled and cannot legally be used on Game at all, only on vermin.

Air guns in the UK as long as they produce less than 12 foot pounds of energy are not currently licensed though Scotland plans to introduce such a licence this year.

Which State do you live in?
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,410
883
63
Florida
Yes you can own higher magazine capacity shotguns in the UK but they fall under a Firearms Certificate not Shotgun Certificate. They are far more strictly controlled and cannot legally be used on Game at all, only on vermin.

Which State do you live in?
Fair enough. Up to a point. I say that because there's probably a cultural difference in what we call "game." The general tone on the forum (not just this thread) seems to not consider rabbits, fox, and maybe even doves, as game. They're problem animals here as well; but most of us do consider them small game the same as squirrels, et al.

Back in line with the OP, that in itself might be an interesting comment; can anybody shed light on what animals are regulated as game, and what animals are pretty much considered pests?
 
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mereside

Forager
Aug 21, 2010
237
0
hornsea
hunting over here like othr posters is fairly difficult to get into but if you put the time in you get the results in the end ,I have not met a farmer yet who doesnt need pest species shot ie fox rabbits pigeons so you just have to do door knocking till you get a foot in and build from there.
after some time you get to know people and then the door opens into deer it can be very expensive but also it can be done on the cheap and leagally the trouble is people want it straight away and in the deer stalking world its about trust as you can loose your ground easily to the wrong person
our laws mean we have to have good reason to posses a firearm and if that good reason is met you get granted if you meet all requirements, i am just heading out to dumfries for the weekend away stalking and hanging in the new wbbb so will do a report in the other section.atb wayne