The UK’s largest shooting organisation is calling for voluntary restraint to be exercised from today in the shooting of ducks, geese, wading birds (including woodcock), and coot and moorhen in Scotland. 

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) say a voluntary restraint is required due to persistent frost over much of the country in the last week or so.

BASC Scotland Director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “We are fully aware that the current coronavirus restrictions in place over all of mainland Scotland mean that very few people are actually able to shoot just now. 

“There are no visiting parties of goose shooters or wildfowlers and no inland shooting is taking place, apart from small-scale rough shooting and pest control. 

“However, it is still important that those who are shooting, whether on the foreshore or inland, recognise that frozen ground and water bodies make both feeding and roosting very difficult and birds can lose condition quickly.

“BASC is calling for restraint to be exercised in the shooting of ducks, geese and waders, including reared mallard and woodcock.  BASC also urges all countryside users to minimise disturbance of waterfowl and their habitats.”

In periods of prolonged severe weather (typically persistent freezing conditions) the relevant government ministers have the power to make protection orders suspending the shooting of wildfowl and waders in England, Wales and Scotland, under Section 2 (6) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Similar provisions apply in Northern Ireland under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (as amended 2011).

BASC normally calls for a period of voluntary restraint after 7 days of severe weather have been recorded (this was reached on the 5th January 2021 in Scotland). A statutory ban is introduced after 14 days of severe weather.  The long-term forecast for Scotland shows that milder weather is expected from the 9th January.

For more information on the scheme please visit the JNCC website.