For specific enquiries related to Covid-19, please email covid-19@basc.org.uk

For urgent advice only over the weekend please telephone the relevant regional number from the list below:

Wales – Saturday & Sunday
Steve Griffiths – 07771 921 500

Scotland – Saturday & Sunday
Colin Shedden – 07770 990 222

Northern Ireland – Saturday & Sunday
Tommy Mayne – 07775 400 531

England – Saturday
Matt Dutton – 07585 967 452
Sam Walker – 07977 549 304
David Gervers – 07733 123 333

England – Sunday
Lewis Thornley – 07825 547 195
Innis Finlay – 07825 401 148

Post-lockdown advice

Advice on the Tiered System that will replace the National Lockdown in England

The following is an interpretation of the government guidance published on 23 November. We will update our advice should it be necessary to do so once the implementing legislation has been published and scrutinised by Parliament.

When does the lockdown end?

Government guidance states that the new Tiered system will now come into effect from the beginning of 2 December. That means from the 2 December, subject to following strict Covid-19 guidelines, organised outdoor physical activity, including shooting, will be permitted.

Government regulations previously stated that the current national lockdown in England would last up to and including 2 December with the new Tiered system coming into effect on 3 December.

Where will the different tiers apply?

Government has said the new Tiers will be applied ‘locally’ or ‘regionally’. The Tier area boundaries will be published on Thursday 26 November and there will be a Tier Checker on the gov.uk website where people can enter a postcode and find out which Tier it is going to be in.

Outdoor shooting activity

In all Tier areas, organised outdoor sport and physical activity (including shooting) can continue. Government guidance does not suggest that such activity will be subject to gathering limits (the ‘rule of six’). 

The legal requirements for shooting in groups are expected to remain as they were before the second lockdown. This means that the organiser or a participant must hold a valid shotgun or firearm certificate, conduct a risk assessment, and ensure all reasonable measures to limit the transmission of the coronavirus, but the legislation has yet to be published.

Those at work or providing voluntary services are exempt from gathering limits (e.g. gamekeepers, beaters and pickers-up).

Outdoor leisure and sports venues (including shooting venues) will be permitted to open.

Indoor shooting activity

Organised indoor sport (such as target shooting) can take place in accordance with the ‘rule of six’ in Tier 1 areas. In Tier 2 areas, organised indoor sport can take place if separate households can be prevented from mixing. Organised indoor sport cannot take place in Tier 3 areas. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s.

Shoot meals and accommodation

Shoots operating as a business and providing food and drink or accommodation must follow the relevant Tier guidance for the hospitality sector. Guest accommodation in Tier 3 areas must close.

Shoots not operating as a business and providing food and drink must conform to the indoor and outdoor gathering limits for the relevant Tier in force in their area. The exemption of outdoor physical activity from the gathering limits does not apply to associated social activity

Travel and overnight stays

When travelling into or staying in a higher Tier area you should follow the rules for that area. When travelling into or staying in a lower Tier area, people should follow the rules for the Tier of your home area.

Government advice is that you should avoid travel to Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Similarly, government advice is that people should avoid travel out of a Tier 3 area other than where necessary.

Overnight stays for driven game shooting in Tier 3 areas are not permitted as guest accommodation must close and mixing of separate households indoors is not permitted.

Gun shops

Non-essential retail, including gun shops will be permitted to open.

Click here for the latest post-lockdown government guidance

Lockdown advice

Lockdown regulations apply throughout England from Thursday 5 November until Tuesday 1 December inclusive.

What is not permitted during the lockdown period

Driven game and other types of group shooting cannot take place from Thursday 5 November to Tuesday 1 December inclusive, as the current coronavirus regulations prevent gatherings of more than two people. 

Leisure and sports facilities, including target shooting ranges and clay grounds are required to close up to and including Tuesday 1 December.

What is permitted during the lockdown period

Under the current coronavirus regulations, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

Exceptions where a person may leave their home include:

  • Undertaking paid work, or to provide voluntary services
  • Animal welfare
  • Open air recreation

Essential bird and mammalian pest control to protect crops, livestock or conservation may continue during the lockdown period. Pest bird shooting must comply with relevant general or individual licences as applicable. Pest control services requested by a landowner or agent can be construed either as work (whether paid or unpaid) or voluntary service. The regulations do not impose any limits on how far you can travel.

Deer stalking as part of a management plan agreed with the landowner can similarly be considered as work or voluntary service. There are no legal restrictions on how far you can travel.

Game management and gamekeeping activities may continue during the lockdown period.  Ensuring that birds under your care are adequately provided with food and water is important.

Recreational shooting activity such as informal rough shooting, wildfowling and recreational deer stalking may continue as ‘open air recreation’ but subject to strict legal limits on numbers. You may only participate in shooting activity with people you live with, your support bubble (if you are living alone), or one person from another household.

Government guidance advises that you should only make short journeys for the purposes of exercise and recreation – it does not define what distance they mean by this. You may not stay away from your home overnight to partake in recreational activity.

Non-essential retailers such as gun shops are allowed to trade remotely (online, mail order) and to provide “click and collect” services but customers are not allowed to enter the premises.

Other advice

When shooting during lockdown, we would advise taking a copy of your shotgun or firearm certificate with you and paperwork for your permission to shoot on the land you are on.

During lockdown local sensitivities can be high – be aware of how your recreation may appear to others.  Although it is not a legal requirement you may want to log your trip in advance with Police on 101.

Everyone shooting during lockdown must consider the impact of their actions on the image and reputation of the sport.  We all have a responsibility to comply with the letter and spirit of the regulations and guidance.

Due to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, the Northern Ireland Executive announced new restrictions on 14 October.

These came into force on Friday 16 October for the whole of Northern Ireland and are expected to last for a minimum of four weeks.

Retail businesses including gun shops are allowed to open, however mitigating measures as identified by a risk assessment must be in place.

Outdoor recreational activities, including shooting, can also take place however the Executive has advised against any unnecessary travel.

You should use your own judgement when deciding whether or not to travel to take part in shooting activities, depending on your particular circumstances.

Gatherings of more than 15 people are not permitted, except for allowed outdoor sporting events where the relevant number will continue to apply.

Click here to download the latest Covid-19 guidance for game shoots in Northern Ireland.

Click here for more on the regulations.

Click here for updates on localised restrictions.

Scotland has adopted a 5 tier approach to Coronavirus restrictions. Tiers have been assigned by local authority area and range from 0 – 4.

New restrictions, particularly on travel, are in force from 6pm on 20 November until 6pm on 11 December.

People living in Tier 3 or Tier 4 areas must not travel out of their local authority area, except for certain essential purposes. Also, people living elsewhere in Scotland must not travel into Tier 3 or Tier 4 areas, except for essential purposes. And there must be no non-essential travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK. Breaching these travel rules will be a criminal offence.

Recreational shooting activities are not an essential purpose to travel. Please do not travel to take part in recreational shooting activities such as target shooting, game shooting, deer stalking or wildfowling.

Shooting related work is considered an essential purpose to travel. This could include beating and picking up on shoot days; essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock such as the shooting and trapping of pest bird species under general licence; the management of rodents and rabbits; deer management as part of a plan agreed with and requested by the landowner; and game management or gamekeeping activities such as looking after game birds, pest/predator control and habitat management.

Shooting is no longer exempt from socialising restrictions in Tier 4 areas. This means that shooting activities may only take place with up to a maximum of 6 people from no more than 2 households.

The restrictions pertaining to each tier are signposted in the table below:

ScotlandTier 0Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3Tier 4
Socialising indoorsMax eight people from three households indoors.Max six people from two households indoors.No in-home socialising. Max six people from two households in indoor public settings (such as hospitality venues).Same as Tier 2.No in-home socialising. Max six people from two households in public settings.
Socialising outdoors

Max fifteen people from five households outdoors.

As an outdoor sport with Scottish Government endorsed guidance, shooting is exempt from socialising restrictions.

Max eight people from three households outdoors.

As an outdoor sport with Scottish Government endorsed guidance, shooting is exempt from socialising restrictions.

Max six people from two households outdoors.

As an outdoor sport with Scottish Government endorsed guidance, shooting is exempt from socialising restrictions.

Same as Tier 2.Same as Tier 2.
TransportAvoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.
TravelNo non-essential travel to/from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in rest of UK. This restriction is enshrined in law, meaning it is illegal to break this restriction.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.No non-essential travel into or out of the level 3 area. This restriction is enshrined in law, meaning it is illegal to break this restriction.No non-essential travel into or out of the level 4 area. This restriction is enshrined in law, meaning it is illegal to break this restriction.
Shooting SportsAll outdoor shooting sports are permitted.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.Shooting sports are permitted but are constrained by outdoor socialising restrictions. No more than six guns from two households. Beaters and pickers up are exempt as they are classed as employees.
Essential Pest ControlEssential pest control (including deer management) is permitted and is classed as an essential activity – meaning you can travel between local authority areas to conduct this activity.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.Same as Tier 0.
AccommodationOpen – socialising rules apply.Same as Tier 0.Open – socialising and hospitality rules apply.Open – socialising and hospitality rules apply. Guidance encourages non-essential (leisure/tourism) use only by locals. Essential work-related use can continue.Essential only, e.g. work-related (no tourism).

From 9 November, the local lockdown measures that were in place before the firebreak have been replaced with a new set of national rules.

Under the new rules, recreational shooting activities such as target shooting, deer stalking, wildfowling, rough shooting and driven game shooting may resume.

Up to 15 people will be able to take part in organised indoor activities and up to 30 people in organised outdoor activities, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other Covid-19 safety measures are followed.

Businesses may re-open and new rules have been introduced for hospitality. 

There are no travel restrictions for Welsh residents travelling within Wales.

Wales and England cross-border travel restrictions

During the lockdown in England (5 November to 2 December inclusive) it will be unlawful for people to travel between Wales and England (and vice versa) without a ‘reasonable excuse’. No person living in England may enter or remain in Wales without a ‘reasonable excuse’. Likewise, no person living in Wales may enter or remain in England without a ‘reasonable excuse’. 

For these purposes, a person may have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to travel between Wales and England (and vice versa) for reasons such as work. Work reasons could include beating and picking up on shoot days; essential bird and mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock such as the shooting and trapping of pest bird species under general licence; the management of rodents and rabbits; deer management as part of a plan agreed with and requested by the landowner; and game management or gamekeeping activities such as looking after game birds, pest/predator control and habitat management.

It would not be a ‘reasonable excuse’ to travel between England and Wales (and vice versa) to participate in a shoot or attend shooting related events. 

The Welsh Government will monitor and update its travel restrictions near the end of the England lockdown.

Everyone shooting and travelling to shoot during this new phase of restrictions should consider the impact of their actions on the reputation of shooting.

Click here for more information from the Welsh Government.

Click here for updates on the latest national rules.

Click here to download the latest Covid-19 guidance for game shoots in Wales.

Wales FAQs

Q. I live in Wales – can I now go shooting in Wales?

A. Yes, under the new rules recreational shooting activities such as target shooting, game shooting and wildfowling may resume.


Q. Can I travel to another country in the UK to shoot?

A. No, the guidance is quite clear that only essential travel is allowed.


Q. Can I leave England to go beating or picking up in Wales?

A. Yes, you may travel to Wales to beat and pick up on a shoot as this will be classed as work.


Q. Can I enter England to carry out pest and vermin control?

A. Yes. As pest and vermin control are classed as work, you are permitted to travel to carry out control where necessary.


Q. Can I travel to England to maintain the welfare of birds on my shoot?

A. We suggest first asking people who live in the shoot country to help. However, you are permitted to travel to maintain bird welfare.

We suggest the person who lives closest to the shoot maintains the welfare of the birds during the English lockdown, as this will then prevent passing Covid-19 to other shoot members.


Q. Can I travel from Wales to continue with my deer management in England during the lockdown?

A. Yes, as this is classed as essential work you will be able to continue managing deer. However, if your name is not on the written permission, you will not be allowed to go.


Q. If I do not abide by the guidelines, could my certificate be at risk?

A. Yes, this is a possibility. Each case will be individually considered based on its merits and interaction with police or enforcement officers.

So far BASC’s Covid-19 guidance visits have achieved…

400

visits to date with another 

30

booked in.

Issued

4,000

items of PPE with another order in place.

We have pulled together a number of resources to help pass the time.

From fun activities for children to how to prepare your dog for the season, we have something for everyone.

Covid-19 guidance visits for game shoots

It has been a year like no other and the coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for shoots up and down the country. As restrictions begin to ease, the prospect of a shooting season is improving, but we need to stay safe. BASC is launching Covid-19 guidance visits to help ease this transition and secure opportunities for shooting this year.

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