Rough shooting in Scotland – have your say

A shooter in a wintery landscape

With the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill now in Stage 2, it is vital that BASC and its members inform MSPs of the required changes to the Bill to ensure rough shooting is protected.

The Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill has the potential to negatively impact rough shooting and field trials.

Alongside Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups and the Kennel Club, BASC recently presented a short film to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament, highlighting what the unintended consequences of the Bill could be.


In evidence at Stage 1, the Scottish Government was clear that rough shooting, when using more than two dogs to hunt a wild mammal, would be considered an offence under the Bill.

In her written response to the Committee’s Stage 1 report, however, the Minister for Environment and Land Reform clarified that “the two-dog limit does not necessarily mean that not more than two dogs can be present at a rough shoot”. She stated the Bill would apply to each individual person using dogs to hunt quarry as part of a rough shoot where wild mammals such as rabbits or hares may be shot rather than apply to the rough shoot.

She also stated that shooters ‘must take reasonable steps to ensure that the one or two dogs that they are using do not join up with other dogs to form a pack’.

During the Stage 1 debate in the Scottish Parliament, the Minister further stated that rough shooting would be permissible under the Bill provided that, “one person uses their own two dogs to flush their own quarry, not working in proximity to, or with, others in pursuit of the same quarry and not allowing other dogs to join them”.

How to respond to the Call for Views

As a BASC member, you can have your say on the Bill now, through the Scottish government’s Call for Views.

BASC will also be issuing a response and have outlined key points below that to include in your own correspondence with the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment (RAINE) Committee:

  1. The Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill is not fit-for-purpose in its current form, due to the unintended consequences of restricting, and in some cases, prohibiting rough shooting.
  2. Rough shooting is important for conservation, is a humane wildlife management tool and a way of ensuring effective predator control.
  3. The current exceptions in Section 6 of the Bill do not go far enough in protecting rough shooting due its current working, the two-dog limit and the inclusion of rabbits.
  4. During a rough shoot, dogs do not form a pack, unlike during a traditional fox hunt. There are often more than two dogs present, however not all dogs are working simultaneously together, nor do they flush, stalk or chase wild mammals together.
  5. Rough shooting differs significantly from traditional fox hunting, given the quarry is mixed, with both birds and wild mammals, not solely wild mammals.
  6. One person uses their own or two dogs to flush their own quarry, not working in proximity to, or with others, in pursuit of the same quarry and do not allow their dogs to form a pack.
  7. An exception specifically for rough shooting must be sought in order for this legitimate activity to continue.
  8. Rough shooting forms an integral part of the social fabric of rural Scotland, acting as a conduit for beginners to be introduced to shooting on a cost-effective basis.

Please also outline your own experiences of rough shooting and how this Bill would impact on your ability to partake in this activity.

Deadline for submissions to the Call for Views is 9 November 2022. Click here to respond

Read more about the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill here