Frequently Asked Questions

4x4 Insurance

This cover is automatically provided up to certain limits.

For some vehicles the excess can be over £500. No one likes unexpected repair bills – our policy has NO EXCESS if the vehicle is damaged by debris falling on your vehicle while participating in a BASC recognised activity (as defined in the policy).

Our policy covers passengers who are injured whilst being transported in a towed trailer. This gives you peace of mind and full protection for your passengers should the worst happen.

Our policy does where many don’t.

If you have a vehicle that is made for off-road, then why not insure it for this?

You will be covered while off-road as well as on-road (subject to the vehicle being registered for on-road use).


No, Fenns and several other trap designs can still be used to trap relevant pests provided they are listed on the relevant STAO and you act in accordance with the requirements.

If you are targeting stoats, you will need to change to a stoat approved design/set-up as listed on the relevant STAO and follow the relevant general licence.

Some older models such as the Juby or Imbra have been removed from the current STAOs and therefore can no longer be used.

It is not illegal to own or sell them, but it is illegal to use them for an unlawful purpose. So, they can no longer be set.

Yes, the changes to the Wildlife and Countryside Act are solely around trapping.

Because of how the WCA is worded, it is an offence to set a trap (not listed on the stoat general licence), where it is calculated (England & Wales) or likely (Scotland) to cause injury to an animal in schedule 6 or 6ZA.

As it can be difficult to avoid stoats in some instances, given their size and agility, where they are known to be present an approved stoat trap which is also authorised for other species should be used.

In other areas where stoats are not known to be present and as such catching one is not calculated or likely, you should be able to continue trapping other species such as rats with appropriate traps.

If a stoat were to be caught in an uncertified trap (i.e. one not listed on the STAO for stoats) without it being calculated or likely, then it is unlikely that an offence would be committed.

But ultimately, it would be for the individual setting a trap to assess a given situation and potentially be prepared to justify their actions if they were to be prosecuted.

It is also important to note that it is not only if a stoat were to be caught but in situations where it is calculated or likely to cause injury that an offence would be committed.

We are seeking further clarification on this and hope to update in due course.

For further information contact the game and gundog team on 01244 573 019 or by email.

ATV Insurance

Many insurers will restrict who can drive your ATV by imposing minimum age restrictions eg. only those over 21 or 25 years of age. Some will insist that you name each and every driver that you need insurance for.

Our ATV insurance comes with “Any Authorized Driver” as standard, irrespective of their age – if they are legally able to drive the ATV, and they have the owner’s permission, they are insured.

For some ATV’s the excess can be over £300. No one likes unexpected repair bills – our policy has NO EXCESS if the ATV is damaged by debris falling on your vehicle while participating in a BASC recognised activity (as defined in the policy).

This cover is automatically provided up to certain limits.

Our policy covers passengers who are injured whilst being transported in a towed trailer. This gives you peace of mind and full protection for your passengers should the worst happen.

Premiums start from as little as £150.00 plus insurance premium tax – this is based on comprehensive cover, with any authorized driver and only a £100 excess for theft and accidental damage. A small administration fee is charged when you take out the policy and at renewal BUT no fees are charged for any mid-term changes. 

BASC Car Benefits

Any current BASC member with more than 12 months membership history at the time of delivery is eligible. This is because the car companies insist we restrict the schemes to genuine members and not those joining BASC simply to get a discount.

Our schemes are based on fleet level discounts. Before we add new makes or models, we aim to ensure that our terms are significantly better than the maximum retail discount available to the car dealers. An added bonus is that these terms are fixed in advance so there is no need to negotiate.

Most of our participating manufacturers insist that information on the exact discounts is only made available to verified BASC members. We have therefore only made these accessible via the secure membership log-in feature on the web page for each car manufacturer. We can also discuss the deals over the phone after we verify your membership.

Not always. We have to follow the rules laid down by each manufacturer and these can vary. Please visit the web page for each car manufacturer to find out how to access the deals or, if you have any queries, simply give us a call. We have tried to ensure the widest possible dealer coverage and are confident that all members, wherever they live in the UK, can access the schemes.

Yes as long as you are an owner, partner in or director of your company.

No. All payments are made to participating dealers. BASC’s role in all cases is simply to verify that the individual is eligible to access the scheme.

Possibly yes. To prevent trading, manufacturers are generally restricting members to one vehicle per year. However, this can be waived if we are satisfied that any extra vehicle is for the member’s personal, business or family use.

This is handled by the participating dealers during the quotation. BASC is not a licensed credit broker and cannot advise on finance schemes.

This is always between you, your accountant and HMRC – it’s not really our business!

No. We can currently offer superb discounts on family cars from Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Volvo and Lexus – and we hope to have more models in future.

Usually ex-VAT, so the benefit is worth even more if you can’t reclaim VAT.

No, it’s new vehicles only. Used vehicles are owned by the dealers and not subject to manufacturer support.

No, these are dealer-fitted options… but you should always try to negotiate!

If you are unsure, speak to us. However, we are confident our established dealers will apply the correct discount.

Bisley Range Day

BASC rifle club currently has no available club rifles for use on the day. You must have your own rifle.

It is recommended approximately 100 rounds of centrefire and approximately 100-150 rounds of rim fire ammunition.

Standard .22lr ammunition only for running boar. Hollow point ammunition is not permitted.

17 rim fire cartridges can only be used on the 100m zero range. The maximum permitted velocity and energy for each range is displayed on notices near the firing points.

For the running deer range, the calibre of the rifle must not exceed 8.0 mm and the cartridge case capacity must not exceed that of the .30-06 i.e. 68.0 grains plain water measure. 

Expanding/hollow point ammunition is not permitted on the running boar range. .17 rim-fire cartridges are prohibited.

The maximum permitted velocity and energy for each range is displayed on notices near the firing points.

The National Rifle Association and MoD have approved procedures that must be used on MoD ranges when civilians are shooting with firearms and where muzzle energy is greater than 4500 joules. Zeroing and practice of HME firearms on static targets will be by arrangement with the CRO only.

The calibre of .22-250 is not permitted to be used on the BSRC ranges or at Bisley.

Ear protectors must be worn while shooting is in progress. Please note, when in the vicinity of all firing points, especially covered ones, it is advisable to keep ear protectors on.

Anyone shooting on MoD ranges (including Bisley ranges) is required to possess and produce, on request, a certification card for the type of firearm they are using. This card is known as a ‘Shooter Certification Card’.

If you require a card to utilise BASC range days or Bisley range booking system and are a member of BASC with your own firearms certificate, you can sit an assessment to obtain a SCC at one of the BASC range days.

If you pass the assessment, you will be issued with a card that lasts for up to 12 months.


Yes, if you follow government coronavirus guidance around social distancing. It would also be a good idea to make arrangements for someone to provide cover for specific work areas such as trap checking should you be unable to check them.

It is good practice when working alone to put some additional safety measures in place. As a minimum you should inform someone of where you are going, and your return time. ( is a useful website to give someone an accurate location). A ‘buddy system’ of regular ‘check in’ phone calls with a family member or colleague may also be appropriate if you are working alone for extended periods. In the event that you fail to get in contact, then your contact should know the steps to take in order to locate you or if necessary raise the alarm with the emergency services.

Although our staff are currently working from home as per the government’s social distancing advice, our experts are on hand to answer questions relevant to their department. If you email in the first instance, your query will be forwarded to the relevant person and they will get on touch with you.

Yes, essential travel to work is permitted if you are unable to work from home but again whilst at work you must follow government coronavirus guidance around social distancing. You may also wish to get a letter from your employer advising of your need to travel to work to show the police, should you be stopped

Click here to read the government’s latest advice on this.

Yes, provided it is legitimate activity in accordance with BASC’s insurance policy. However, we would stress that members should operate within the Governments Covid-19 guidelines as failing to do so could leave them with no insurance cover but still liable to pay compensation to a third party.

In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales non-essential travel should not be undertaken and the above would not be following the latest government Coronavirus guidance.

Clay shooting and other recreational shooting activities are now permitted in England and there is no restriction on the distance that you can travel.

You can also carry out these activities with someone from your household or with one person who is not. BUT you must follow government guidelines around self-distancing and gatherings.


For advice on specific business support in England and an overview visit here.


For advice on specific business support in Wales visit here.

Northern Ireland

For advice on specific business support in Northern Ireland visit here.


All shops in Scotland, including gun shops, are classified as a retail business and are therefore eligible to apply for a £25,000 retail, hospitality and leisure support grant. Shooting ranges, such as clay grounds, are also eligible. Grants can be applied for via local authority websites. Other rated businesses which are not registered to premises defined as ‘shootings’, ‘deer forests’ or ‘game larders’ should apply for the small business support grant, also available via local authority websites.

For advice on specific business support in Scotland visit here.

Coronavirus - Game shooting prospects

BASC is not aware of any problems with feed supplies at present – but it makes sense to keep in close contact with your usual supplier.

Suppliers will need to plan production in order to maintain supply and delivery; therefore, it is all the more important to contact them as early as possible with the season’s requirements for a shoot.

Clearly, it is not a job that can be ‘done from home’ and so it is essential that gamekeepers continue their work as much as possible. There is a duty of care for the many species reliant on gamekeepers, which means duties such as supplementary feeding and essential trapping must continue.

Nevertheless, gamekeepers should ensure that social distancing is in place and should follow stringent hygiene routines. Click here for the latest advice.

You can also read GWCT’s advice here.  

BASC is not aware of any regulatory restrictions on the supply of eggs/ day-old chicks/ poults. While game farms have seen a reduction in orders from shoots, most are still operating and will want to supply customers.

This year, more than ever, it is important to discuss your situation and requirements with your supplier as far as possible in advance so that both parties can plan ahead.

Specific guidance has been issued to vets by government that lays out actions to take when dealing with customers and their animals if they are, for example, isolating with symptoms of Coronavirus.

It is important to note that there is no evidence of Coronavirus circulating in pets or other animals in the UK. In line with the general advice on fighting Coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals. Read the government’s advice for people with animals here.

Of course, vet practices may be short-staffed due to staff being ill or self-isolating and this may adversely affect their normal service. The best advice is to speak to your local practice in plenty of time, where possible.

Click here to read the British Veterinary Association’s advice.

BASC has spoken to many syndicate shoots in recent weeks and each one is different, so it is difficult to give a simple answer. Each will have to think through their plan and make their own decisions. Involving syndicate members in the decision planning process will be important.

For some, sourcing birds and looking after birds may be a concern; so, they should speak to suppliers as soon as possible and think about the practicalities of looking after birds once they are in the pens.

For example:

  • Is a gamekeeper on site, or will someone have to travel to the shoot?
  • Is the shoot reliant on one or two people looking after the birds, or could the job be shared between more people?
  • Remember, shoots have a legal obligation to ensure the welfare of any birds while under their control.

Shoot subs are another point of concern. Some Guns may have lost their jobs, be under financial strain or reluctant to make a commitment until the future is clearer.

Understanding the individual circumstances of members will be vital. Phasing the payment of subs may be an option, or perhaps provide a ‘slimmed down’ version of the shoot to keep costs down?

Good financial and scenario planning will be essential this year, especially if strict social distancing restrictions remain in place as we head towards the summer.

One thing is for sure, the shooting community will be looking forward to the season more than ever – whatever form it takes.

Even in a normal season there are a lot of financial and other factors to be taken into account.

This year, there will be obvious concerns around the financial implications of the current situation – will guns be reluctant to put down deposits, will there be unsold days, will cashflow and profitability be sufficient?

There are clearly uncertainties about the season ahead that increase the risks at the moment, but the right course of action will depend on the structure and finances of the shoot.

BASC suggests talking with sporting agents or Guns who have returned year-on-year previously to secure commitment. To alleviate concerns, perhaps shoots may be able to restructure payment arrangements i.e. reducing deposits or providing payment systems. It will pay in the long term to be as customer-focused as possible and to acknowledge that this is a difficult time for all involved.

It is important to ensure all booking and cancellation policies are up to date and easy to understand.

Depending on circumstances, shoots may also want to consider offering smaller days or start a little later in the season. This might reduce costs and risks in the event that the start of the season is restricted in a way we can’t predict at the moment.

Once you have birds under your care, you have a legal obligation to ensure their welfare, regardless of other financial and business considerations.

Speak to your accountants or other advisors to ensure that you are taking advantage of any government support schemes that you may be eligible for.

Finally, consider that decisions you make this year will have longer-term implications for the future of your business. Whatever you choose to do, keep in regular contact with your suppliers, customers and supporters to give them confidence for the future.

You can read Guns on Pegs’ view on the potential disruption and prospects for next season here.

There is inevitable uncertainty about what next season might look like.

Many shoots that let days rely on deposits from Guns for cashflow to buy birds, feed them, and pay wages. Without deposits from Guns, they may not be able to go ahead. However, it is understandable that Guns are cautious about paying non-refundable deposits.

Guns should speak to shoots – it will help them to know that you still want to go with them next season. Guns may be able to negotiate payment arrangements that reduce exposure to risk.

Cancellation insurance is unlikely to be available during the pandemic to cover losses arising from a shoot not being able to deliver days as planned.

Where possible, BASC is advising Guns to think seriously about committing for next season – not only will it give something to look forward to but it will make a vital contribution to the future of the shoot, its suppliers and staff, and to the wider shooting community.

Coronavirus - Gundogs

Ultimately this has to be a personal decision based upon your own specific circumstances. But, there are several specific areas to consider before breeding at this time.

For example:

Is there someone that can help you if you fall ill?

Can you keep puppies longer than expected if there are government restrictions which prevent new owners from collecting them?

Will your vet be able to assist if there are any issues?

Can you correctly socialise the puppies?

No. At present the advice is that you are not permitted to travel to collect a puppy under the current restrictions.

As vets are the only qualified professionals allowed to carry this out, you would need to speak to them to see if they will allow the appointment to go ahead.

Phoning the vets with as much notice as possible will enable you to plan how to deal with this in the current circumstances.

You would need to speak to your vet in regard to which procedures and appointments they are carrying out at this time. Due to the current guidance set by the government, some appointments may be put on hold.

You can find further help and guidance on the Kennel Club and BVA websites.  

Coronavirus - Wales

No, as this is non-essential travel you will not be allowed to leave your home to take part in a game shoot.


Yes. However, it is important to know the times of each of the classes to which you have entered and be aware of any potential clashes.

If your dog was docked either in the UK or in a foreign country before 6 April 2007 then it may enter Crufts. If your dog was docked either in the UK or in a foreign country on or after 6 April 2007 it will not, under the law, be permitted to be shown at Crufts (where public are admitted on a payment of a fee).

No, dogs entered in Gamekeeper classes only do not have to qualify for entry into a breed class.


When shooting any animal your first priority must be to ensure a quick and humane kill and indeed a well-placed head shot will do this. The problem is that a deer’s head is a much smaller and more mobile target so it is more difficult to hit in the first place. What is more a poorly placed head shot, such as a jaw shot, will result in a wound that will lead to a long and painful death with very little chance of finding that deer, even with a trained tracking dog.

The chest area of a deer is a much larger target allowing greater room for error and any deer shot in the body area can usually be found and dispatched humanely if required. I have seen far too many experienced stalkers “miss” head shots to think that this a humane alternative except in very specific circumstances.

Under section 7 of the Deer Act 1991, the so-called “Farmers’ Defence” can be used to control deer out of season in England and Wales.  This enables out of season culling to protect crops on cultivated land and enclosed woodland, but only for the species which have caused or are likely to cause damage to crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property on the land and the belief that any further damage is likely to be serious and that action is necessary to prevent any such damage.

Anyone carrying out the control must have written permission from the holder of the shooting rights and the control must take place where the damage is actually occurring.

Note that it is called a “defence” and seen as a last resort only as, should any out of season control be queried, you must be able to show that you have tried all other methods first, including adequate in-season control, fencing, bangers and have recent evidence of the damage being done.

The Deer Initiative Best Practice Guide covers this in more detail.

It is likely that the bucks you are seeing are young bucks that have been pushed out of the territories of the older, more dominant bucks in the area. The young bucks tend to “wander” about looking for straggling females and end up congregating in one area. I have heard this called a “coffee bar” as it’s where the youngsters hang out! The older bucks will hold the prime territories with the most females and aggressively defend this against other bucks. Which deer and how many deer you shoot should be based on a solid management plan. Depending on what you aim to achieve, you may decide to focus on culling the younger animals to let the big boys pass on their genes. Alternatively, you might decide that some of the older bucks are past their best and need to be taken. In this situation the territory he held will likely be divided into several smaller territories held by the younger bucks you are seeing.

This all comes down to your personal situations and preferences. I would always recommend fitting a moderator, if only for the benefit to your hearing. Prolonged shooting without a moderator fitted will cause irreparable damage to your inner-ears. Moderators can also reduce the felt recoil and muzzle lift of a rifle, making it easier to stay on target, observe bullet strike and make any follow-up shots quicker. Also many stalking leases, syndicates etc. will require a moderator to be fitted to your rifle before you will be allowed to shoot. However, the use of a moderator is not completely necessary. During my time as a gamekeeper in Germany (where moderators are prohibited in many places) I shot many rifles without them, albeit with ear protection. While notably louder and livelier, the handling, weight and balance of the rifles was certainly a bit better and with no moderator fitted, iron sights can be used, which can be popular for driven hunting. If you do not opt to use a moderator, I would advise that a good set of quality ear defenders are essential.

This is a fairly common occurrence in the wild. As we know, antlers drop off deer every year. Once on the floor they are fair game for any number of critters to gnaw away on! Squirrels, mice and other rodents tend to use them to clean and sharpen their teeth, as well as an easy source of nutrients. Of these, calcium and phosphorous are particularly abundant and desirable. Calcium is beneficial for bone and tooth strength and milk production, while phosphorous helps produce protein for growth and repair and also assists with proper organ function and energy storage. This is one of the reasons that antlers are so popular as dog chews (plus they tend to keep them occupied for a good while!). In addition to rodents I have also seen foxes and rabbits chewing antlers and in the Highlands, red deer are known to chew their own cast antlers to get the much needed minerals.

Muntjac are widely known to be spreading across the country. Unlike the other deer species in the country, they are prolific breeders and can have multiple young every year. Not only does this lead to a natural expansion in search of food and habitat, but the deer are largely territorial and stay in family units. This means that shortly before the does drop their new fawns, the young from the previous birth are chased out of said group and look to move on. It could be that the deer you saw was a youngster looking to set up its own territory. That being said deer of any species will move from one area to another if they are overly pressured or if the food and cover levels for them get too low. Muntjac have also been known to spread through illegal releases, the general thinking being this is to provide unlawful sport to unscrupulous characters. If you’ve seen one, keep your eyes open as there’s likely to be more.

The season for roe does in England and Wales was extended by a month to the end of March in 2007 and there has been debate amongst stalkers ever since as to whether they would shoot them or not, due to the risk of shooting heavily pregnant animals.

It really boils down to your own preference and many stalkers simply do not like to do so, while others argue that a doe is pregnant in November: the foetus is just more developed in March so shooting her then is no different from shooting her in November.

Of course, the ideal is to meet your doe cull before March and, that way, you are not faced with the dilemma but we all know that it is not always that easy, particularly if game shooting on the land has perhaps limited your ability to get in to stalk from November to the end of January or bad winter weather has prevented your getting there.

Personally, if I still have some left to shoot to meet my target, I shoot them in March but, with pregnant females of all species, I choose not to examine the foetuses and leave the uterus intact.

Deer cannot be shot at night. Night is legally defined as one hour after sunset until one hour before sunrise. Any shooting of deer within of these hours can only be conducted under a specific licence.

In England and Wales there is no specific legislation prohibiting the use of any optics. So, an image intensifying (night vision or thermal) scope can legally be used to shoot deer in daylight.

The law in Scotland is different. It states that the use of light-intensifying, heat sensitive or other special sighting devices is not permitted under Section 5 of the Deer (Firearms etc.) (Scotland) Order 1985. This refers to both day and night-time usage of such optics.

Feathered Game

They will not be accepting lead shot game as from the 1st July 2022.

You can supply lead shot game this year although it is a good time to start the move over to non-lead shot game.

You should contact your game dealer to discuss their requirements for the coming seasons.

They will only be picking up lead free game as from 1st July 2022 you should contact your game dealers to discuss their requirements for the 2021 season.

The best way is to provide the non-lead cartridges for your guns.

You will have to discuss this with individual game dealers but those outside of the National Game Dealers Association have not stated they are not taking lead shot game. This is likely to change over time so please talk to your game dealer.

You are free to change game dealers, but you must make sure you have arrangements for your game before the season.

Fur Game

They will not be accepting lead shot game as from the 1st July 2022 although it should be noted that some game dealers have already announced they will not take lead shot deer from 1st August 2021.

You can supply lead shot game this year although it is a good time to start the move over to non-lead shot game. Please note that some game dealers have already stated they will not accept venison shot with lead from 1st August 2021 so please contact them to discuss their position. 

You should contact your game dealer to discuss their requirements for the coming seasons.

Unfortunately, this will not be an excuse you may need to purchase a new gun. Talk to your gunsmith. 

You will have to discuss this with individual game dealers but those outside of the National Game Dealers Association have not stated they are not taking lead shot game. This is likely to change over time so please talk to your game dealer.

You are free to change game dealers, but you must make sure you have adequate arrangements for your game before the season.

Gamebird release on and around European Protected Sites in England - FAQ

The Government are amending the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 by a statutory instrument which will make it illegal to release common pheasants and red legged partridges on or within 500m of European Protected Sites in England, for a fixed time period. However, alongside this prohibition there will be a licensing regime including a general licence which will allow their release in accordance with its conditions.

It is not all protected sites, just those which were designated of European importance (this criterion remains post Brexit). They are called Special Protection Areas (SPAs), which are for birds, and Special Areas for Conservation (SACs), which cover habitats and other animals. They cover around 5% of England.

The general licence contains relevant information such as the legal basis and who can or cannot use it. There are also specific rules and conditions. These include limits on the number of birds which can be released and a reporting function for any release of more than 50 birds along with details of any consents (required for the protected site itself) within one month of the release taking place. The system of reporting will be in place by 31st May 2021.

There is also additional advice which is intended to help people comply with the conditions. However, it is advice, and it is not a requirement that it must be complied with unlike the conditions which must be complied with fully.

There is advice on the BASC website here which includes an updated mapping tool so you can easily find specific sites and designations. You can also find a map of these sites from a link on the general licence itself.

On European Protected Sites the release of common pheasants is set at no more than 700 birds per hectare of release pen. Red-legged partridges are set at no more than 700 birds per hectare of land they inhabit. In both cases, if the figure set by any SSSI consent is lower, then you need to adhere to this lower limit.

Additionally, for red-legged partridge, release pens must be sited in cover crops, on arable land or on improved grassland and not in semi-natural or unimproved habitats.

In the buffer zone the release figures are a maximum of 1,000 pheasants per hectare of release pen and maximum for red-legged partridges of no more than 1,000 birds per hectare of land they inhabit. There is also a condition that ‘Any activity in the buffer zone must not encourage the released birds to inhabit or occupy an adjacent European site…’.

Further in relation to both the European sites and buffer zones there are requirements that any release including single, or trickle releases does not exceed these limits. There is also wording stating that when birds are ‘…shot or killed, you must not release further birds where this would exceed the allowed limit’.

This does not mean that the Government are encouraging individuals to release additional birds once some have been shot (or topping up as it is sometimes called), it is to clarify the maximum number which can be released under the general licence. BASC and other organisations are absolutely opposed to any such activity and it is one of the five golden rules in the Code of Good Shooting Practice  that ‘Birds must never be released to replenish or replace any birds already released and shot in that season’.

Where an individual needs to undertake activity outside of that authorised by the general licence, then they can apply to Natural England for an individual licence. This individual licence application cannot be completed until the necessary legislative process is passed and comes into force on 31st May 2021.

Natural England have developed a pre-application service to check if you may need an individual licence.

The figures for pheasants are based on GWCT’s research and recommendations included in their sustainable gamebird releasing guidelines and referenced in the Code of Good Shooting Practice. Figures for red legged partridges, which are released in different ways to pheasants, mirror this figure along with additional wording based on that in the Code of Good Shooting Practice.

The issue of consents is one which owners and occupiers of land where there is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) will be familiar with.

In practice all European Protected Sites (EPS) also have national designation as well, so are also designated as SSSIs. However, the reverse is not correct i.e. not all SSSI are EPS.

Each SSSI has a specific designation, and these can require owners and occupiers to gain consent from Natural England to carry out activities which would otherwise be legal. This could include aspects such as driving a vehicle, cutting vegetation or in the case of shooting the release of gamebirds or even putting out feed.

Where necessary anyone relying upon a licence to release gamebirds on such a SSSI, must also have the necessary consent in place. These consents can vary in how they are worded but if anyone is uncertain on this aspect, they should contact Natural England or members can contact BASC for advice.

It is important to remember consent is not needed for activity in the buffer zones. And that the licensing regime applies to all European Protected Sites but not all SSSIs.

The relevant legislation and licence requirement will come into effect on 31st May 2021.

The reason the license is only interim is because of lobbying by BASC and others. The primary reason for a licence is because many of the EPSs have not been assessed. The licence covers the government whilst the assessments are taking place. Setting a sunset clause on the legislation means the government have ben set a deadline.

Therefore, this legislation will cease to exist in 4 years’ time on 30th May 2025.

There is a further requirement that before 30th May 2024, the Secretary of State must carry out a review on the progress, and in line with Defra’s approach the general licence itself will be renewed annually.

Release outside of these sites is not affected by this new legislation although it is important to note that you must comply with other applicable legal requirements such as completing the poultry register, and caring for the gamebirds in line with welfare legislation and SSSI rules.

It is also important that as well as complying with the law both in relation to this interim licensing regime and wider, we should also comply with established best practice to ensure sustainable shooting as laid out in the Code of Good Shooting Practice and the relevant sector codes of practice.

Additional advice is available for any BASC member, who should initially contact their regional centre for assistance. Alternatively anyone with a query can also contact which is Natural England’s single point of contact for all gamebird-related queries.

General Licences - England​ - FAQ


General Licences are issued by government agencies to provide a legal basis for people to carry out a range of activities relating to wildlife.

By definition you do not need to apply for General Licences but you are required by law to abide by their terms and conditions.


Defra’s General Licences allow preventative action to be taken so you do not need to wait until damage has occurred.


The general licences require that, before and alongside their use, reasonable endeavours are made to achieve the purpose in question using lawful methods not covered by the licences, unless such endeavours would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances.

Defra advises users to keep a record of problems and their use of other lawful methods, but you do not need to submit those records to Defra or Natural England. 

Click here for more detailed advice from Defra.


Defra’s General Licences allow preventative action to be taken and there is no restriction on using decoys, shooting on stubbles, roost shooting etc.


Defra’s General Licences allow the use of Larsen traps and other cage traps to trap pest birds.

Defra General Licences GL34GL35 and GL36 did not authorise the killing or taking of pest birds in European Protected Sites (Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation or Ramsar sites) or within 300m of these sites.

The current Defra General Licences (GL40, 41 and GL42) allow for the control on these sites from 1 January 2021. 

As per the previous General Licences that were revoked by Natural England, if you are carrying out bird pest control under a general licence on a SSSI, you also need Natural England consent.

Contact your local Natural England office if you do not have consent or are unsure.

Click here for more information from Defra on bird pest control on SSSIs.

If you are a BASC member and need further advice on General Licences, please contact our game and gamekeeping team on 01244 573 019 or email

You need to apply to Natural England for an individual licence using application form A08. These need to be completed by 15 March 2020 although applications after this date may be considered.

Click here to apply for an individual licence for bird pest control of lesser black-backed gulls and herring gulls.

Further information is available:

If you have a specific need to control a species not listed on the relevant General Licence, you will need to apply for a specific individual licence from Natural England. 

Green Shoots Mapping

Green Shoots Mapping is hosted on a secure website that you access by logging in with your BASC membership number and password. Only you and BASC can see the information you enter.

From the custom map area of the website you can download maps as PDF files for emailing or printing to share with others. The custom map area shows the boundaries of land that you have added and then allows you to customise them by adding labelling pins, lines and shapes to indicate features useful to you. You can make as many maps as you like.

No, it is for any land to which members have access for any type of shooting. Every piece of land entered and wildlife species recorded creates more information that BASC can use to protect and promote the sport.

Sharing information on wildlife is a powerful mechanism to protect and promote shooting sports. Wildlife data is the lifeblood of conservation; anyone able to provide information on which species are thriving and which are in decline is valued by conservation partners and governments. Shooters have access to two-thirds of the rural land area of the UK, much of it effectively inaccessible to wildlife agencies, and the knowledge they can provide is of exceptionally high value.

Full details are given in the terms and conditions of the website but to make wildlife records useful we need to share what species are found, when they have been seen and the location (to the nearest one-kilometre square on our grid). We will not share any personal details about you or any land boundaries.

There is a UK Species list and a local species list. The UK list is primarily quarry species; knowing the status of quarry species is essential. The other species on the UK list are among the Government’s farmland bird indicator species which are used for gauging the health of the countryside. The local lists are different for each BASC country or region and each has been drawn up in consultation with conservation bodies. Getting information on these species will underline the value of shooting at the country or regional scale.

  1. You have not requested a password from BASC. Use the link on the login page to do this. If you have any difficulty getting a password please telephone our membership hotline on 01244 573030 for assistance.
  2. Your membership has lapsed. The website is available to any current BASC member. Re-join BASC and your login will work again and all your information will be there.
  3. If none of the above applies, please call us on 01244 573024 for assistance.

Your first port of call is the BASC regional or country team that covers your area. You can also contact the conservation team at head office on 01244 573024. We are only too happy to help and listen to new ideas for what the website could do.

Home Office Statutory Guidance

No. This guidance was produced as the result of a report in 2015 by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the desire for more consistency in the application of firearms licensing policy and procedures between different police forces.

Yes. BASC worked with other organisations, particularly the British Shooting Sports Council, to modify areas of the guidance that were felt to be disproportionate or detrimental to the continuation of shooting sports in the UK.

Every firearm certificate application will now require a medical declaration by the applicant. This will need to be verified by either the applicant’s GP, or by another medical practitioner reviewing the applicant’s notes.

There are also a series of additional background checks that may be used. These are only recommended where there are clear concerns that an applicant could pose a threat to public safety if they possess a firearm. These include looking at social media accounts.

No. BASC runs a medical panel of members who are registered medical practitioners. With your permission, they can obtain your notes from your GP and verify your medical declaration. There is a cost for this, but it is less than £60. Your GP cannot refuse to release your notes and has to release them within 30 days.

Yes. Some GPs do not charge and some charge a nominal sum. If you consider the cost to be excessive, you can use the BASC medical panel doctors as outlined in Q4.

Yes. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years there have been several homicides and suicides that have been carried out by licensed firearms holders who have been suffering with mental health conditions. As well as being potentially avoidable tragedies, any such incident involving legally held firearms can be damaging to shooting. Therefore, any proportionate methods for reducing the risk are to be welcomed. The risk, however, can only ever be reduced, never eliminated.

BASC feels that without a marker system, medical verification is simply a snapshot of an applicant’s health. A marker would enable continuous monitoring of a certificate holder’s relevant health issues. BASC has long campaigned for a ten-year certificate and these ‘markers’ are integral to the delivery of that goal.

No. The decision of granting certificates lies entirely with the Chief Constable of each police force. It should be noted that the police have always consulted with the medical profession where there are potential medical issues; the new guidance simply details additional medical reviews that can be conducted by a force if issues are contested.

In absolute terms, yes. But GPs and all healthcare staff are bound by data protection laws. However, owning a smartphone, going on the internet, driving a car with a sat-nav, having a bank account and many other aspects of modern life potentially compromise security, because you leave an electronic record of your activities and locations. Other than living ‘off-grid’, there is no way of avoiding this.

A number of forces have been using GP verification for some time. For those that haven’t, there are likely to be some initial issues as the system beds in. But it would be hoped that these are teething issues and will not cause long-term problems. For members experiencing problems, BASC staff are there to assist.

The police will not be consulting your neighbours. This was in the original draft of the guidance but was removed after strong representation by BASC and other organisations.

There is provision for further background checks to be conducted if standard checks raise concerns. As covered in Q3, this covers social media accounts. But it should be noted that all the additional checks listed in the new guidance are already available to police forces and many already carry out such checks.

There have always been a small number of refusals when people apply for either a shotgun or firearms certificate. It may be expected that people with certain mental health conditions would be refused a certificate. This is to be expected, but many mental health conditions are transitory or can be successfully treated, and under these circumstances, a certificate could be successfully applied for at a future date.

Yes. Because it is statutory, a Chief Constable must justify on an individual case-by-case basis if they depart from the guidance. There are also timeline requirements for things such as suitability reviews that were not in place previously.

BASC exists to serve the interests of their members. To this end, BASC will always try and work with police forces to achieve the best outcome for its members. This is best achieved by working collaboratively with licensing departments and, as stated in Q13, the new guidance should help achieve a more consistent application of firearms licensing law. It is also in the interests of BASC’s membership that we lobby for the shooting community with all organisations that impact on shooting, including at the highest levels of government.

The main tightening comes from the improved level of consistency provided by the licensing departments. The majority of licence holders have already experienced medical verification – the new guidelines simply align the process for all applicants across all police force areas. Through BASC’s medical panel we are ready to deal with those applicants who have GPs who refuse to participate.

No. It does not apply to Northern Ireland – as firearms legislation is devolved. It applies to England, Wales and Scotland, with the exception of airgun licensing in Scotland.


There is limited cover if you lend your gun to another member and they damage it. However full cover for your guns and related equipment is available, and there is more information on the members offers section of the BASC web site

If your dog causes a loss, or injury or damage to a third party while you are working or training them, then this liability is covered, but the BASC membership insurance does not cover vet bills if your dog becomes ill or injured. However, you can arrange insurance cover for working dogs and there is more information on the members offers section of the BASC web site

No, but separate cover is available for shooting professionals, see the BASC member offers section of the BASC web site

Yes. From 1st July 2016 all full BASC members are covered under their membership insurance for Humane Dispatch under the Liability policy. We can provide you with a confirmation letter if required by emailing

Yes. Indemnity under the BASC members’ policy includes the activities of members engaging in recreational shooting activities who make a commercial gain from the sale of meat or other small income derived from such recreational shooting activities, provided this is not their primary source of income

Yes, if you are a UK resident you are covered for up to 90 days worldwide except for North America and Canada

All recreational shooting and conservation activities, as well as fishing, falconry and flying hawks, gundog working and training

  • Up to £10 million public liability, product liability and employer liability insurance Up to £50,000 personal accident cover

Kennel cough

The most obvious is a hacking cough that can sound as if your dog has something stuck in its throat. This can result in the production of white froth or mucus.

Other than the cough, generally healthy dogs may not be too ill; they may have a mild temperature and be a little off their food.

However, in very young/old or dogs which have an existing illness, kennel cough can be more severe and develop into pneumonia. There are also different strains of the infection which can be more severe than others.

Kennel Cough will spread rapidly in the air or by direct contact with a group of dogs in the right conditions. Such as:

  • Close contact with other dogs; for instance, in kennels or backs of trucks
  • Exercise, excitement and exposure to cold air stimulates the cough and spreads the viruses and bacteria
  • High levels of humidity such as foggy mornings, warm and poorly ventilated kennels
  • Stressful situations such as boarding kennels or lots of barking
  • Mixing with dogs of uncertain or no vaccination history

Firstly, avoid mixing with other dogs which aren’t your own. Unfortunately, by the time the cough is evident, all of your dogs are likely to have been exposed.

Always consult a vet when you suspect your dog of having kennel cough. In most cases the vet will give the dog something to suppress the cough which reduces further damage to the airway.

Do not take your dog to meet others until it has completely stopped coughing which can be anywhere from five days to a month.

Some of the viruses which cause Kennel Cough are contained in the basic vaccinations required by puppies and the subsequent “boosters”.

However, Bordetella bronchiseptica is not included but can be given as a separate vaccination which is often given nasally. It is this vaccine which is required by many boarding kennels before a dog can stay with them.


Recent technological developments have made non-lead shot more effective, more widely available and more affordable. Equally, biodegradable wads are now a possibility. These advances are continuing at pace and it is now time for the wider live quarry shooting community to join the wildfowlers, who have used non-lead alternatives successfully for the last twenty years.

In addition, there are over-burdening legislative changes coming down the line as a result of work being undertaken by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Despite Brexit, we are expecting that these regulations will be implemented in the UK either due to a requirement to sell lead free game into Europe, or by UK legislation.

Collectively, we are calling for a phased transition away from the use of lead shot in shotgun shooting for all live quarry.

We are also calling for the end of single-use plastics in all shotgun ammunition.

We feel that both goals are achievable within a five-year time frame, allowing suitable time for the industry to respond with new product development and ensure adequate supply.

Concerns around the use of lead shot limit the current market for game products, and retailers are increasingly asking for game that has been shot with non-lead alternatives. Additionally, lead has been progressively removed from other substances, such as petrol and paint.

There is growing concern about the damage lead shot causes to wildlife away from wetlands. The fact that non-lead alternatives of suitable quality are increasingly available means that we should transition towards them.

Research includes:

Lead shot killing wildlife

Poisoning from lead gunshot: still a threat to wild waterbirds, 2013 – European Journal of Wildlife Research stating, “Our results indicate that lead poisoning has continued to affect a wide range of British waterbirds long after legal restrictions were introduced.”

Economic assessment of wild bird mortality induced by the use of lead gunshot in European Wetlands, 2018 – Science of the Total Environment stating, “Our results suggest that the benefits of a restriction on the use of lead gunshot over wetlands could exceed the cost of adapting to non-lead ammunition.”

Lead shot v steel shot

Non-toxic shot – Danish experiences by Niels Kanstrup stating, “Research by the Hunters Association also demonstrated that steel shot was just as effective as lead shot for killing birds.”

Switch to non-toxic shot in the Camargue, France: effect on waterbird contamination and hunter effectiveness stating, “After 11 years of hunting with non-toxic shot, there was unexpectedly no clear pattern in trends of individual effectiveness among hunters [using different shot types]. Hunter effectiveness was instead positively influenced by game abundance and hunter assiduity and negatively influenced by wind and number of shots”

A comparison of lead and steel shot loads for harvesting mourning doves stating, “Field analyses detected no difference in doves bagged per shot, wounded per shot, bagged per hit, or wounded per hit among the 3 ammunition types [Pb 7½ 32 g, Fe 7 28g and Fe 6 28 g] ”

Lead in hunting

Lead in Hunting Ammunition: Persistent Problems and Solutions

Alternatives include steel, bismuth and tungsten-based shots. These are available in a variety of shot sizes and calibres.

No. Each metal behaves differently and those that shoot need to be aware of the differences. Simple patterning tests and practice on clays will help ensure that Guns identify which is best suited to their guns and their intended quarry.

This is a rumour from the very early days of steel shot development. Field trials comparing lead and steel shot have found no differences in a number of measures, including lethality and effectiveness at practical shooting ranges [1].

[1] An 11-year study at the Camargue, in France, found that: “After 11 years of hunting with non-toxic shot, there was unexpectedly no clear pattern in trends of individual effectiveness among hunters.” (

Steel shot is classified as either standard or high performance. If your gun is nitro-proofed (i.e. it can fire modern lead loads) then it will be safe to fire standard performance steel. This is generally steel of size 4 or smaller.

High performance steel must be marked as such on the box, and should only be fired through guns bearing the fleur-de-lys proofmark, and usually with the words “STEEL SHOT” stamped on the barrel. If you have any doubt about your gun, seek the advice of an expert gunsmith.

Tests have found that standard performance 24g steel loads did not cause any damage in thin-walled game guns, even after a thousand shots [1]. However, if you are unable to use steel then your main alternative is bismuth, which is suitable for both muzzle-loading and Damascus-barrelled guns.

Bismuth does cost more than both lead and steel but, ultimately, this is all about choices and securing the future of sustainable shooting.

[1] The Assessment of the Tolerance of Shotgun Chokes to Steel Shot – An Initial Study: Dr DF Allsop, Royal Military College of Science (1991).

Recent developments in soft steel shotgun cartridges should provide alternatives to lead suitable for all normal game-shooting ranges. Such ammunition is safe in the modern guns that are generally used for high bird shooting.

All shot can ricochet. This is most likely to occur off rocks or other hard surfaces and, to a lesser extent, water and trees.

There is evidence that steel ricochets slightly more than lead, but this is in a more predictable path [1]. The fact remains that an unsafe shot with lead is an unsafe shot with steel.

[1] Ricochet & Bounce Back Studies Using Steel & Lead Shot: Dr DF Allsop, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Cranfield University (2009).

Caution should be taken when eating game, because any type of shot can damage teeth, including lead and bismuth. There is a chance of damage if you were to accidentally bite steel shot, but dentists in countries that have already phased out lead have not seen an increase in tooth damage due to biting shot since the transition.

They are. Gun and cartridge manufactures must test to agreed standards. The USA standard allows for higher and faster loads than Europe.

A CIP (the European organisation responsible for the safety testing of firearms and ammunition) working group, with UK representation, is studying the possibility of raising velocity and shot weight limits for steel to those set by SAAMI (the US equivalent to CIP), to increase performance. We are collectively lobbying to ensure priority for such changes.

Yes. We anticipate that, as interest and demand for non-lead shot grows, further developments in cartridge manufacture will rapidly meet any remaining needs. We are working closely with manufacturers, and lobbying for technical development grants from the government, to ensure that these advances continue apace.

Advances in steel shot cartridges have resulted in viable lead shot alternatives for larger wildfowl such as geese. However, adult foxes may require greater shot pellet density for effective penetration, energy transfer and humane despatch.

There are a number of excellent non-lead alternatives in use for coyote and fox shooting in the USA, said by many to work even better than lead. During the transition period, we will be working with cartridge manufacturers and importers to ensure these alternatives become available in the UK.

If you have checked with a gunsmith, and are confident that your gun is suitable, we suggest using steel shot going forward. Ask for shot two sizes larger than you currently use in lead (e.g. size 4 steel if you currently use size 6 in lead) and insist on biodegradable wads.

Yes. Denmark, the Netherlands and the Flemish region of Belgium.

They have not reported any problems with the effectiveness. Indeed, in many cases steel shot has been found to pattern more successfully than lead and to have superior levels of penetration.

In 2014, Norway reintroduced lead shot for live quarry hunting outside wetlands after a lengthy campaign by the Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers. Their argument at the time described the lack of risk, away from wetlands, associated with the predominantly low-density type of shooting that takes place in Norway.

The development of non-lead cartridges has been rapid and ongoing. However, there are still improvements to be made in availability and choice, especially for smaller-gauge guns. We are therefore phasing the transition over a five-year period to enable manufacturers to bring the products that are currently in development to market.

No. There is now a huge market for recycled plastic and we are encouraging guns to support manufacturers’ efforts to produce plastic cartridges from recycled, rather than new, plastic. We are calling for an end to non-biodegradable plastic wads in shotgun cartridges, which are not routinely or effectively collected during live quarry shooting.

Viable alternatives are being researched. Where lead ammunition is used in a contained environment, such as a range, or there is an absence of reasonable alternatives, we feel lead should continue to be used.

Leaving a legacy

Many people make false assumptions about what will happen to their estate if they do not have a will. Not leaving a will could result in lengthy and expensive complications for your family to sort out.

The sooner the better! If you already have a will you should review it regularly, particularly when your personal circumstances change for example, if you get married or divorced, if you have new children or grandchildren, or you move house.

There are free sites to write your will. However, one tiny error can invalidate the entire will, so we recommend that you employ a solicitor to do the work.

Who should I speak to?

When you decide to make a will, or update it, contact a professional adviser. This be a solicitor or financial adviser. Who will be able to advise you on the correct wording if you decide to leave BASC a legacy in your will.

The following wording can be used to gift a share of your estate to BASC:

I give to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, of Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0HL (hereinafter called BASC) the residue (or percent share of the residue) of my estate absolutely and I direct that (i) the proceeds may be used for the general purposes of the BASC and (ii) a receipt signed by a person for the time being authorised by BASC’s council shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my executors. *

A fixed sum, or pecuniary legacy, can be left using the following suggested wording:

I give to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, of Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0HL (hereinafter called BASC) the sum of £_______ and I direct that (i) the proceeds may be used for the general purposes of BASC and (ii) a receipt signed by a person for the time being authorised by BASC’s council shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my executors.*

If you want to leave special belongings to BASC such as a firearm, furniture, a painting or even the contents of your house, BASC would be pleased to discuss this with you. Items would then be retained or sold with the proceeds used in accordance with your wishes. We appreciate that personal belongings are very special and any such transactions would be handled with great care and sensitivity.

As with any property we would ask that you get in touch with BASC first to discuss your intentions.

Many people prefer to see donations made to BASC in lieu of floral tributes. If this is stated in your will, the executors can make sure that your wishes are known. The following wording will ensure that your wishes are met:

I request my executor to ensure that instead of flowers at my funeral donations are made to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, of Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0HL.

As the British Association for Shooting and Conservation Limited is not a registered charity your executors will, if your estate exceeds the threshold for inheritance tax have to pay the due proportion of that tax on the gift. If the gift is not expressed to be free of tax the amount paid to BASC will be reduced by the inheritance tax payable. However, it is possible for you to specify that the full amount of the gift should be paid free of tax itself so that the amount paid to BASC is not reduced and the inheritance tax on the gift (if any) is paid from the residue of your estate.

If you have any concerns about your inheritance tax position you can discuss these with an independent financial adviser. They may be able to make recommendations to mitigate the problem.


The microchip itself will only contain a unique code. This code when entered into a microchip database will bring up details of the owner. Some databases will also allow the owner to store any medical information relating to the dog.

It is important that any change of information (e.g. address of owner) are given to the microchipping database.

No. Dogs can be microchipped by other qualified technicians. Some organisations that offer microchipping are The Dogs Trust and Battersea Dogs Trust.

The microchip is injected under the skin and is no more painful than a typical injection. It can be carried out during a routine vet appointment.

Yes. The microchip itself only contains the unique code which links to the details stored on a database.

It is a good idea to always follow up and check with the database to make sure the chip has been registered correctly.

UK Microchip Databases

The microchip number will be on the confirmation letter or email sent by the microchipping database you chose to register with.

However, if these have been misplaced then the easiest way of recovering your details is to contact the vet or company who carried out the procedure as they should have a record of the microchip number. The other option is to take your dog into the vets or an animal shelter and have the microchip scanned.

Databases usually charge a premium cost that will cover any change to the microchip details over the lifetime of your dog (while in your care) but you should check with the database operator.

When a pet is found, the animal professional (e.g. vet or a dog warden) will scan for a microchip. The unique code will be read, and contact will be made with the database the pet is registered with. The staff at the database will perform security checks before releasing any contact details.

Any adverse effects such as microchip failure, microchip migration or reactions to implantation should be reported to Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Microchip Adverse Event Reporting Scheme. The microchip should then be replaced.

The law states that “microchipping doesn’t have to happen as long as a veterinary surgeon certifies, on a form approved by the secretary of state, that the dog shouldn’t be microchipped for reasons of the animal’s health”.

This means that a dog needs to be checked by a vet to determine whether it is fit enough to be microchipped or not and is entirely at the vets’ discretion. Its age will not automatically disqualify it from the microchipping scheme.

No. A dog could be tattooed alongside the microchip but the microchip still has to be present.

No. In accordance to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, if a certified working dog has qualified for tail docking then the owner needs to ensure that it is microchipped before it is three months old rather than the eight-week period for other dogs.

No. The microchip is aligned to a specific database. It is important you research the databases available and check with the implanter (e.g. vet) as to which chips they use and which database they are aligned to.

The Dogs Trust website holds a range of information on the new microchipping rules and how to find centres offering free microchipping.

The British Veterinary Association has a range of information on microchipping and your responsibilities.

It is a small, electronic chip in a glass cylinder approximately the size of a grain of rice. When activated by a scanner, the chip will transmit a unique identification number.

National Game Dealers Association announcement

This announcement only affects those who are members of the NGDA at this time.

  • Willo
  • Hampshire Game
  • Mc Kelly
  • Lincolnshire Game
  • Highland Game
  • Ben Rigby Game
  • Peterborough Game
  • Braehead Foods
  • Celtic Fish and Game
  • Hadrians Game
  • L and A Dent
  • Ox Close Traditional Fine Foods
  • Medstead Meats
  • CH and EI Bambridge and Sons
  • Chantonbury Game
  • Eveleigh Farm Shop
  • DH Game

Although the industry is working towards a 5-year transition to move away from lead shot, huge pressure has been put on game dealers to supply non lead shot game to supermarkets. They have taken this decision to protect their market share. 

Pet Insurance

Agria, the providers of BASC Dog Insurance, is happy to provide cover for working dogs and most importantly, cover while they are at shoots and events.

BASC chose the Agria policy specifically with members in mind, congenital and hereditary problems are included as long as they hadn’t been diagnosed or weren’t showing signs before the policy started.

Most policies in the market don’t cover breeding risks at all. BASC Dog Insurance has an optional benefit that can be added when you decide whether you will breed from a bitch. It covers gestation, whelping, puppies’ vet fees pre-sale and even includes Caesarean sections for the vast majority of breeds.

As with most things, you get what you pay for and the cheaper the policy the less it’s likely  to cover. Your BASC policy offers lifetime vet’s fees cover ensuring that chronic, on-going conditions can be covered for the life of your dog.

Many policies in the market will only pay for an illness for 12 months from when it starts or is diagnosed, after which the condition is excluded and further claims will not be paid. Even if you change to a different policy that condition will be treated as pre-existing on the new policy and excluded. The BASC Dog Insurance policy offers on-going cover for on-going conditions – as long as the policy is renewed each year premiums are kept up to date.

Your BASC policy will include vets’ fees cover, help to find a lost dog, essential third party liability cover and travel and expenses if your vet refers your dog to a specialist. All the other benefits such as death or loss cover, breeding risks, boarding fees, holiday cancellation and overseas travel are optional, allowing you to choose the protection you need without paying for cover you don’t want.

Some policies in the market charge more if you are unlucky and your dog is ill or injured. BASC Dog Insurance does not penalise members who need to make claims – however large those claims may be.

Out of preference and with agreement from your vet we will pay the practice directly by bank transfer. Alternatively, if you prefer, we can pay you and payment by cheque is also an option.

The cost of drugs purchased over the Internet can be claimed provided your vet has prescribed the drug to treat your dog.

Yes our policies are designed to include cats as well and when you insure your second and successive animals they will enjoy an on-going multi-pet discount.


Simply turn to the last page, you’ll find contact details to our editor and get in touch, preferably via email. We can’t promise all articles submitted will be used, but we will definitely let you know if your idea has potential.

We do our best to ensure no mistakes get through the proofing system, however, we’re all human and some sneaky errors do creep in from time to time. We always appreciate you letting us know about them. All you need to do is contact one of the members of the team (details on last page of each issue).

Of course! We always look for new images to add to our photo library. Email an example of your work to us and we will let you know whether it would be suitable for us to use.

Get in touch with the membership or publication team and we will be able to update your records. Have your membership number handy to speed up the process.

Our books are published by Quiller and a full list of titles is available on the BASC Bookshop:

You can either go through online archives ( or give us a ring and we will do our best to send you a copy of the issue you’re looking for.

We would me more than happy to forward your questions to the author – just send them over to a member of the publications team. We can’t share his contact details with you, but if you provide an email or phone number, the author might be willing to get in touch with you.

Shooting Professional Insurance

AIM Risk Services are proud to be a trusted insurance partner to BASC for many years, providing a range of insurance products for members outside of the insurance cover included as part of your BASC membership. A specialist insurance broker, Aim Risk services provide insurance solutions to a range of businesses and individuals. Working closely with select partners, we get to fully understand their needs to develop solutions that are not only right for the here and now but can also be adapted as their requirements change.

The cover set out below provides protection from recreational activities only of; wildfowling, rabbit, pigeon, game, deer, vermin and target shooting, air-gunning, conservation, hawking, archery, angling and ferreting.

● Public and products liability of up to £10 million each and every loss (and in the aggregate for products liability)

● Employers Liability of up to £10 million each and every loss and in the aggregate

● Personal Accident of up to £50,000 resulting in the loss of sight, hearing, or limbs

The cover included within your BASC membership provides protection from recreational activities. It also includes where members make a small commercial gain from the sale of meat or other small income derived from such recreational shooting activities, providing this is not their primary source of income.

If you hire yourself out as a loader, coach, pest controller, stalker/deer manager etc. you are not insured under the BASC insurance policy and you will need to make your own arrangements. Our shooting coaches and professionals policy covers a wide range of activities as standard and can be extended to include additional activities if required.

No. As part of the application process we will ask if you have any of the following recognised qualifications:

● Accredited BASC Shotgun Coach

● Accredited BASC Airgun Coach

● Trainee BASC Shotgun Coach

● Trainee BASC Airgun Coach

● DSC1 Certificate Holder

● DSC2 Certificate older

● BASC Gamekeeper Member

If none of these apply, please provide details of your experience in the activities that cover is required for.

Yes. The public liability insurance is designed to dovetail with the insurance that is included within your BASC membership.

We provide:

● Public and products liability – Limit of Indemnity £10m each and every loss and in the

aggregate in respect of products liability

● Professional Indemnity – Limit of indemnity £1m each and every loss ad in the aggregate

● Personal Accident – death and capital benefits up to £25,000

Cover can be extended to include employers liability and equipment if required.

The following are automatically included: Clay Shooting, Target Rifle and Full Bore shooting, Game shooting, Rough shooting, Stalking, Wildfowling, Air Weapons including FAC, Pest Control, Picking up, Beating, Loading, Dog training, Classroom training (Courses) & Game keeping.

Yes. Many of our clients have requested additional activities including archery, axe throwing, bush craft, teambuilding activities, and slacklining.

No. As part of the application process we ask for the annual turnover for the activities you require cover for.

Yes. The cover can be extended to include employers liability, a legal requirement within the UK. Employers liability is required whether the people helping are formal employees or assisting on an informal, unpaid basis – the question is “Are they under your control and direction?”

We have access to over 150 insurers including Lloyd’s Syndicates. We only use financially rated insurers. The Shooting Professionals and Coaches policy is underwritten by Allianz Global and Specialty and Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s.

The process could not be simpler. Please visit our website.

Complete the “Get a Quote” form and we will come back to you. Alternatively, please call a member of our team on 0333 577 8232 for a non-obligatory chat on how we can help you.

To speak to a member of our friendly team: 0333 577 8232

To email:

To find out more, visit our website.

Training and education

Your confirmation letter will give you the start time of your course but the majority of courses start at 9.30 a.m. Refreshments are usually available from 9 a.m. 

All courses must be paid for in full when making your booking.

In the case of shotguns, you must hold a valid shotgun certificate. You may attend with a shotgun loaned to you by another certificate holder under the 72 hour rule.

In respect of rifles, you must hold a valid firearm certificate authorising the possession of the rifle. The conditions on the certificate must authorise the use of the rifle at the training venue for the purpose of the course (either target shooting or live quarry and zeroing – dependent upon the course). If your certificate restricts where you can use your rifle, (the closed condition) you will not be able use it on a course.

Please contact the training and education department on 01244 573 018 giving as much notice as possible. 

Please refer to our course cancellation policy regarding any refund which may be due. You may be given the option to transfer to another date/venue, subject to availability.

If your course is attendance only you should receive your certificate within two weeks of the course date. If your course involves assessments and/or examinations, please allow four weeks from the date of the course.

Wild Boar

Wild boar used to be native, but they became extinct about 300 years ago due to habitat loss and overhunting.

No. Most of the animals have escaped from animal parks or wild boar farms. These animals have now bred and the population is increasing.

No. Wild boar have no predators in the UK except man.

Currently there are no specific provisions giving formal legal protection to wild boar or controlling their management and culling. However animals caught in traps are protected against unnecessary suffering by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Wild boar living freely in the wild are protected against specific acts of cruelty by the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.

Wild boar or their hybrid offspring can only be kept under a licence issued in accordance with the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Premises where they are kept are subject to inspection to see that they are secure and that the animals are properly cared for. Licences are obtainable from the relevant local authority. The keeping of wild boar for exhibition to the public in wildlife and farm parks is covered by the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

The release of wild animals including non-native species is controlled by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Part 1 section 14 of the act makes it an offence to release, or allow to escape in to the wild, any animal of a kind which is “not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state”.

Section 27 then defines a number of terms used in part 1, but strangely does not give any definition of “ordinarily resident”. There is now a need for guidance on whether wild boar having existed in a feral state for many years could be considered as ordinarily resident.

Neither the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 nor the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (Modification) Order 1984 makes any provision to require a licensee to take any action to recover escaped animals.

Under Section 6 of the act, local authorities have the power to seize any animal(s) and retain or destroy them, if any animal is being kept contrary to the act or any condition of the license under which it is being held. It has not been tested yet whether these powers could potentially be used to recapture escaped animals at the licensee’s expense.

No. As wild boar were formerly a native species they should have a beneficial effect since they are replacing a lost part of the ecosystem. Scientific studies including work done by the University of Sussex suggest that although rooting of the soil can cause damage to carpets of bluebells, this impact is generally localised and short-lived and plants regrow in following years with increased vigour. Rooting also encourages the growth of new plants by uncovering dormant seeds in the soil. However there is some evidence that rooting in species-rich, semi-natural grassland can encourage colonisation by invasive weed species.

Yes. Particularly if their sources of natural food are in short supply. Boar feed on a wide variety of food and will readily feed on agricultural crops. Favourite crops include sugar beet, maize, potatoes, oats, wheat and grassland. In England, most of the damage reported has been damage to maize crops and rooting in grassland.

Wild boar will also eat carrion such as dead livestock, and they have been reported to take dead and very weak lambs.

No, if left well alone. The boar will most likely move away from the guns and beaters before the drive starts. They are only likely to attack if cornered or threatened.

Potentially, yes. Wild boar are very large tough animals. Their chest cavity is well protected by a thick plate of cartilage, muscle and fat, which usually requires a deep penetrating bullet to humanely control mature specimens. Wounded animals can become very aggressive and attack the hunter or worse, escape and attack people out in the countryside.

Therefore the suggested minimum calibre which is accepted by most police forces is .270 and 130 grain bullet and a minimum muzzle energy of 2600ft/lbs.

This should be regarded as the absolute minimum and larger calibre rifles should be used if possible. The 9.3 calibre rounds are very popular on the continent and are well proven for wild boar. It could be argued that .375 and larger calibres should also be allowed for wild boar.

Twelve bore or larger shotguns using only a single projectile (rifled slug) can also be suitable for wild boar in certain conditions.

Yes. There are no restrictions on shooting wild boar at night as wild boar have no specific legal status. However it is important to behave in a humane manner at all times, and to prevent any act of cruelty that may leave you open to prosecution under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 i.e. do you have procedures and any equipment to follow-up and despatch any wounded animals in the dark.

No. There are no closed seasons for wild boar.

No. Not as a pack of hounds, but two dogs may be used to track and follow-up wounded or injured animals.


Starting out isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.

Wildfowling is a Marmite sport. You’ll either love it or hate it, but it is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The beautiful sunrises and the myriad waterfowl make up for the small bag sizes.

The BASC Wildfowling Permit Scheme booklet is produced every year and has details from clubs across the country who joined an initiative to get more people out on the foreshore.

There are permits available from as little as £10 and a member of the club will accompany you to ensure you have the best possible introduction and, most importantly, stay safe.

BASC also runs Introduction to Wildfowling Days with a few clubs around the country.

Check out the BASC wildfowling page for more details, or give the department a call to register your interest on 01244 573 011.

The WLC members are hand-selected by the chairman of the WLC. The chair is appointed by BASC Council and they will always be a serving council member.

A good cross-section of the wildfowling community is needed for the committee to be truly effective.

A full and comprehensive list of all our WLC members can be found here, together with the latest meeting reports:

WLC members can be contacted by email on or you can liaise with them directly at club meetings or events throughout the year.

James Green Head of wildfowling

Shane Robinson wildfowling officer

Sarah Pinnell consenting officer

Toni Paull consenting officer

You can contact us on at

If you have any concerns regarding severe weather, please refer to the BASC website. This will be updated daily during periods of adverse weather.

After seven days, BASC will be calling for voluntary restraint based on the projected forecast.

Our recommendations are there to help inform your decision to shoot or not.

At 14 days there will be a national suspension. This information will be communicated through daily updates on the BASC website, through BASC Fast Tracks emails, social media accounts and press releases.

Further information regarding the suspension of shooting wildfowl can be found here.

This is a really easy process. Follow the steps below:

1. Search for “BASC Green Shoots Mapping” in your chosen search engine or click here to go directly to the page.

2. Click on Go Mapping.

3. Log In to the page using you BASC member ID and password.

4. Go to the Bagged It option.

5. Click on Visits. This will automatically take you to your club’s information page showing the areas your club has authority to shoot over.

7. Pick the relevant area and click on Add a visit.

8. Simply fill in the relevant details of your trip. Date / flight time / hours spent on the shore / shots taken / quarry recovered.

9. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save and return to my visits.

At the end of the season remember to submit your return to your club’s returns officer for review.

If you’re ever unsure or having issues, drop us a line on 01244 573 019.

Ammunition choice will depend on the gun you are using and the quarry. Some guns are not suitable for steel ammunition be it through age, material or choke restriction. Bismuth or Tungsten would be the best recommendation.

Standard steel ammunition may be shot through a non-steel proofed gun but there are only a few standard steel loads available. Click here to read guidance and fact sheets from BASC’s firearms team.

High performance steel ammunition can be shot through steel proof shotguns. You can find this by looking for the “fleur-de-lys” proof marks or its barrel markings that state the barrels are steel shot proof.

Steel ammunition has improved massively over the last decade and ballistically it has proved itself more than capable for the job. Remember the rule of thumb about upping the size of the pellets by two to allow for the pellet density difference between steel and lead.

You should always pick the cartridge to suit the quarry i.e. shot size three or four for duck and three, two, or one BB for geese. Wherever possible always choose a biodegradable wad.

There are quite a few types of chokes on the market and several ways they work.

The most common after-market chokes work in one of 2 ways. Either

 a) Standard constriction choke

 b) Wad grabbing choke.

Standard constriction works by tightening the pattern of shot in the gun barrel over the last few inches causing the pellets to group together and pattern density to increase.

The more the restriction the tighter the pattern. Loosely speaking the following rules apply.

40,000 of 1”   = Full choke

30,000            =3/4

20,000            =1/2

10,000            =1/4

0                      = Cylinder

Wad grabbers work by either using a mechanical restriction (a ring of studs grab the expanded base of the wad for a fraction of a second allowing shot to leave unhindered by gas or wad) or gas restriction to slow the wads down by a fraction of a second in the shape of channels similar to rifling in a barrel. As the wads reach the required area in the choke. The channels fill with gas and slow the wads allowing again the shot to leave unhindered by gas and wad. This then causes a shorter denser pattern giving greater pattern penetration at greater distance.

Remember pattern test your gun and ensure you shoot with its and your abilities.

No not at all. It really depends on where you are going and the quarry.

There is ammunition out there for all guns and configurations so you won’t need to buy a new gun, at least to start with.

For those of you with only 23/4” chambers, use Bismuth or Tungsten in the appropriate shot size for the quarry you seek. If you are using the BASC permit scheme, a friendly ‘fowler may lend you a more suitable gun for the flight.

There is definitely equipment that will make you more comfortable when wildfowling. Take a look at our What to Wear when Wildfowling blog to find out more.

The Wildlife Habitat Trust is made up of three trusts.

  1. The Wildlife Habitat Trust lends money to BASC clubs, syndicates and members to enable land purchase for shooting and conservation purposes.

2. The Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp Trust administers the merchandise and annual stamp programme.

3. The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) grants money for conservation projects for the benefit of migratory wildfowl.

The WHCT is a charity and is therefore regulated by The Charity Commission. In granting money, the WHCT trustees will need to be satisfied that the aims and objects of the WHCT are being met, and are of public benefit.

Any club interested in grant funding can find more information on the WHT website.

You may also wish to speak to Paul Williamson, BASC’s head of land management and also secretary to the WHT trusts.

Shooting out of season can take place but only under the relevant General Licences. Depending on which country you are in (excluding Northern Ireland) determines the General Licence you can use.

Although legally you do not have to have a copy with you, you must ensure that you have read and understood the General Licence and that your actions comply with the terms.

Links to the licences can be found on the BASC website: –



Scotland is        

Northern Ireland          You cannot shoot Canada geese outside the shooting season which is 1 Sept – 31 Jan.

Make sure you are working to the current General Licence rules and remember they get renewed annually.

Open/shooting seasons for wildfowl (ducks and geese) are listed below: –

  Wildfowl in England, Wales and Scotland on the foreshore – Defined by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as “in or over any area below the high-water mark of ordinary spring tides”   *(excluding Isle of Man)      1 September – 20 February
  Wildfowl in England, Wales and Scotland inland – Defined by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as “anywhere above the high-water mark of an ordinary spring tide”   *(excluding Isle of Man)    1 September – 31 January
  Wildfowl in Northern Ireland anywhere    1 September – 31 January
  Isle of Man    1 July – 31 March

Attention should be paid to ensure that the correct pellet size is used relevant to the quarry species sought, this is to ensure there is enough energy available to penetrate to the vital organs – The bigger the pellet the more energy available.

The size of shot depends on what shot type you are using e.g. if you are using steel then you should not be using any shot smaller than a number 3, (that is number 2, or number 1, and BBs).

The decision as to which shot size cannot be made on energy alone, you need to ensure you have the necessary pattern available i.e. enough pellets inside a 30” circle to ensure the vital organs are hit if you are on target. The pellet count required for geese is minimum 55 pellets of size 3 or larger in a 30” circle.

A steel proofed gun will be required to use High Performance (HP) steel cartridges with a shot size 3 and above as they are considered high velocity and cannot be used in a standard nitro proofed gun. Ensure you check the ammunition packaging for designation of standard or HP.

Other ammunition types such as standard steel loads, bismuth, tin, tungsten and copper can be used through a non-steel proof gun. For further information about alternative shot types please refer to the fact sheet here.

It is not illegal under The Wildlife and Countryside Act to shoot Canada geese with an air rifle or either rimfire/centrefire rifles.

However, you will need to ensure you have the authority to do so listed on your firearms certificate conditions. i.e. for the shooting of Canada geese, pest birds, or any lawful quarry or similar must be stipulated.

If your firearms certificate does not have the necessary condition, then you cannot shoot them with the rifles listed on your certificate.

Rifle shooting of geese is not sporting and should only be used as a control and management method in a safe area with relevant safety zones and backstops in place.

The shooting of Canada geese with an air rifle, although not illegal, is not recommended on welfare issues.  

Lead shot restrictions do not apply to rifle or air rifle shooting of wildfowl.

Some counties do not allow the shooting of wildfowl on a Sunday. If this applies to you then you cannot shoot on a Sunday even if you are shooting under the terms of the General Licence. The byelaws for shooting on a Sunday take precedence over General Licences.

Scotland and Northern Ireland do NOT allow shooting of wildfowl on a Sunday!

Below is a list of counties that do NOT allow Sunday shooting

  • Anglesey
  • Brecknock
  • Caernarfon
  • Carmarthen
  • Cardigan
  • Cornwall
  • Denbigh
  • Devon
  • Doncaster
  • Glamorgan
  • Great Yarmouth County Borough
  • Isle of Ely
  • Leeds County Borough
  • Merioneth
  • Norfolk
  • Pembroke
  • Somerset
  • North and West Ridings of Yorkshire

For more information consult the fact sheet by clicking the link.

(Sunday Shooting fact sheet)

This depends on whether the boat is under power or not. If an engine is being used, then this would be an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. Section 5 (e).

If the boat is being paddled by hand or powered by wind, then no offence would have taken place.

You can shoot geese from a stationary boat with an engine on but not in immediate pursuit.

In England and Wales, the lead shot regulations ban the use of lead shot over all foreshores, specified SSSIs, and for the shooting of all ducks and geese. This applies even if you are shooting under the terms of the General Licence.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the use of lead shot is only permitted away from sites designated as wetlands.

For more information click the Scottish legislation below.

No, you cannot. Section 5(d) The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 prohibits certain methods of which sound recording is included.

Northern Ireland

On Sundays, Christmas Day or during the period commencing one hour after sunset on any day and ending one hour before sunrise the next day, it is illegal to shoot game birds and wildfowl.


Wildfowl and waders may not be shot on Sundays or on Christmas Day.

England and Wales

Before the passing of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, orders prohibiting the shooting of wildfowl on Sundays were made under the Protection of Birds Act 1954. These orders have not been rescinded, so shooting cannot take place in the following counties/part counties on Sundays:

  • Anglesey
  • Brecknock
  • Caernarfon
  • Carmarthen
  • Cardigan
  • Cornwall
  • Denbigh
  • Devon
  • Doncaster
  • Glamorgan
  • Great Yarmouth County Borough
  • Isle of Ely
  • Leeds County Borough
  • Merioneth
  • Norfolk
  • Pembroke
  • Somerset
  • North and West Ridings of Yorkshire

The restrictions relate to the exact location of the shooter. Our guidance that if there is any doubt at all of your position, you are better off not shooting in the area on a Sunday.