As a result of the improved weather conditions the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has now lifted a call for restraint in the shooting of waterfowl in England and Wales.
However, people who shoot are being asked to continue with restraint and responsible behaviour wherever ducks, geese and wading birds are still having trouble feeding or roosting because of snow or ice.
Dr John Harradine, BASC’s director of research, said: “As a result of the improved weather conditions over the last few days, the national call for voluntary restraint on the shooting of wildfowl and waders on 6th December has been lifted. However, the forecast is for a return of severe weather later this week. Please take this into account in your own decision-making.”
"Shooters should continue to be on the look-out for unusual movements or behaviour of waterfowl which may be caused by the conditions. The decision to show restraint in shooting should be made by individuals and be based on local observations of the condition of the birds and their habitats."
BASC also calls on other countryside users, such as dog-walkers, ramblers, fishermen and bird-watchers to take care not to cause unnecessary disturbance to birds which may be struggling in difficult conditions.
In Northern Ireland and Scotland statutory suspensions of waterfowl shooting are in place and could last until 22 & 23 December respectively.
Restraint is usually called for after seven days of continuous freezing weather, which is defined by agreed procedures. Legal suspensions of shooting are brought in by the relevant governments, usually after 14 days of continuous severe weather.
BASC’s website www.basc.org.uk contains detailed information on severe weather procedures, voluntary restraint and a daily update on the situation in all parts of the UK.