The shooting of ducks, geese and waders is to be suspended in Scotland for the second time this year because of severe weather. From one minute past midnight on the morning of Friday 10th December it will become illegal to shoot ducks including reared mallard, geese, woodcock, snipe and golden plover. The suspension could last for up to two weeks, but will be reviewed after seven days and could be lifted if there is an improvement in conditions. The last such suspension was in January 2010.
Dr Colin Shedden, director of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) Scotland said: “The legal suspension of the shooting of wildfowl and wading birds offers extra protection when an extended period of severe weather is likely to disrupt the birds’ feeding and roosting patterns. BASC has already issued advice to people who shoot to exercise restraint over the last week.”
Following agreed criteria, Minister for Environment, Roseanna Cunningham has today signed an order under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which will bring the suspension into force. The legal suspension is introduced on the fifteenth day of severe weather, according to data collected at coastal weather stations by the Meteorological Office. Similar restrictions will come into force in Northern Ireland from Thursday morning. In England and Wales, people who shoot have been advised to exercise restraint where local conditions merit it.
When a protection order is signed, it becomes an offence to kill or take any of the following species in Scotland, whether on the coast or inland:
Ducks: mallard, teal, wigeon, pintail, tufted duck, pochard, shoveler, gadwall, goldeneye.
Geese: greylag, pink-footed, Canada. Waders: golden plover, woodcock, snipe.
Others: moorhen and coot.
Game birds are not affected, but reared duck are included.