A statutory suspension of waterfowl shooting in Northern Ireland is to be lifted after the recent thaw. Restrictions are to remain in force in Scotland but the possibility of a statutory suspension of the shooting of ducks, geese and waders in England and Wales has been avoided.
Severe weather restrictions on shooting ducks, geese and waders are brought in when their habitat is affected by prolonged periods of ice or snow, measured by the number of consecutive days of frozen conditions recorded at weather stations around the UK.
The legal suspension of waterfowl shooting in Northern Ireland will end at 23:59h on Friday 31st December, allowing shooting from the morning of Saturday 1st January. Tommy Mayne, Northern Ireland director for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), said: “The Environment Minister has reviewed the situation and decided that conditions have improved sufficiently for shooting to resume. Our advice was that the thaw has been rapid and birds are quickly regaining condition.”
In Scotland an existing suspension of waterfowl shooting will remain in place until 23.59h on Thursday 6th January. Restrictions have been in force in Scotland since Friday 10th December. Dr. Colin Shedden, BASC director for Scotland, said: “Scotland has just seen some very harsh conditions. The thaw is slower here and birds are still facing difficulties with frozen habitat. The Minister for Environment has reviewed the measures in place. BASC supports the decision to allow more time for birds to recover and regain lost condition by letting the suspension run its full course.”
In England and Wales the thaw has removed the possibility of a statutory suspension of waterfowl shooting. Before Christmas BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, issued a call for shooters to exercise restraint wherever it was needed to allow waterfowl to see out the cold snap. As conditions vary greatly throughout England and Wales, shooters are still asked to take local conditions into account before deciding to shoot ducks, geese or waders.