Licences to take or kill game and to sell or deal in game in Northern Ireland are set to be abolished.
The Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland has made an order which will bring section 35 of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act into force from 13th June 2011. As a result, people who shoot game or deal in game in the Province will no longer need to be licensed from that date.
The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), welcomed the move.
Tommy Mayne, director of BASC Northern Ireland, said: “Game and game dealer licensing dates back to the 1800s. It is thought that the requirement for a person to hold a game licence to hunt game was introduced primarily to restrict poaching. There are now much stricter and more effective measures in place to deal with poachers, making this piece of legislation outdated and ineffective. The abolition of game licences in Northern Ireland removes a redundant layer of bureaucracy for shooters in the Province.”
Restrictions on the sale of venison outside the shooting season will be removed but restrictions on the sale of dead wild birds will remain unchanged.
The game licensing system in England and Wales was abolished in August 2007 and in Scotland in April 2011.
Tommy Mayne added: “The removal of the Game Licence requirement in Northern Ireland is something which will be widely welcomed, as will the end to unnecessary restrictions affecting the sale of venison throughout the year. The popularity of game shows no sign of abating, with independent research showing UK sales predicted to rise by a further 47% to hit £84 million by 2011*.”
* Source: Mintel February 2007