Birds in flight
Birds in flight

Shooting seasons

Game and wildfowl

SpeciesEngland and WalesScotlandNorthern IrelandIsle of Man
PheasantOct 1 – Feb 1Oct 1 – Feb 1Oct 1 – Jan 31Oct 1 – Jan 31
Grey partridgeSep 1 – Feb 1Sep 1 – Feb 1Sep 1- Jan 31Protected (ban in force)
Red-legged partridgeSep 1 – Feb 1Sep 1 – Feb 1Sep 1- Jan 31Sep 13 – Jan 31
Red grouseAug 12 – Dec 10Aug 12 – Dec 10Aug 12 – Nov 30Aug 25 – Oct 31 *
Black grouseAug 20 – Dec 10 (Somerset, Devon and New Forest: Sep 1 – Dec 10)Aug 20 – Dec 10
PtarmiganAug 12 – Dec 10
Duck and goose inlandSep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31 – Duck July 1 – Mar 31 – Goose**
Duck and goose below HOST (see below)Sep 1 – Feb 20Sep 1 – Feb 20Sep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31- Duck Jul 1 – Mar 31 – Goose **
Common snipeAug 12 – Jan 31Aug 12 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31
Jack snipeProtectedProtectedSep 1 – Jan 31Protected
WoodcockOct 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31Oct 1 – Jan 31Oct 1 – Jan 31
Golden ploverSep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31Protected
Coot/moorhenSep 1 – Jan 31Sep 1 – Jan 31ProtectedProtected

HOSThigh water mark of ordinary spring tides England, Wales and Scotland: Any area below high-water mark of ordinary spring tides Isle of Man: *Currently a voluntary ban on shooting red grouse is in place. **Geese can only be shot under general licence under the Wildlife Act 1990. See the Department of Food and Agriculture (Defa) website for terms and conditions of general licences here.

SpeciesEngland & WalesScotlandNorthern IrelandIsle of Man
Brown hareNo close season however certain restrictions can apply, see below.Open season Oct 1 – Jan 31Aug 12 – Jan 31Brown or common hare
Oct 1 – Jan 31.
Mountain hare Protected  
RabbitNo close season however certain restrictions can apply, see below.No close season however certain restrictions can apply, see below.Rabbit is classed as a pest and therefore not subject to a close season.No close season.

Country-specific information

In England and Wales under the Ground Game Act 1880 occupiers of land have an inalienable right to kill and take ground game concurrent with any other person holding such a right. Occupiers or a person authorised by them, acting under the authority of this act may only kill or take ground game on moorland between 1 September and 31 March inclusive. Further under Section 1 (3) and Ground Game Amendment Act 1906 Section 2) Firearms may only be used for such purposes between 11 December and 31 March.

In Scotland, the occupier of the land or persons authorised by them may kill rabbit throughout the year on moorland and unenclosed land (not being arable) by all legal means but only by means of firearms during the period from 1 July to 31 March inclusive (Section 1 (3) of the Ground Game Act 1880 as modified by the Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948). Hares are subject to a close season (Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011) (see above).

Moorland and unenclosed land does not include arable land or detached portions of land less than 25 acres which adjoins arable land.

Deer

From 21 October 2023, the closed season for the males of all deer species in Scotland was removed. This means that all male deer in Scotland can be taken all year round

Species and SexEngland & WalesScotlandNorthern Ireland
Red
StagsAug 1 – April 30Year-roundAug 1 – April 30
HindsNov 1 – Mar 31Oct 21 – Feb 15Nov 1 – Mar
Sika
StagsAug 1 – April 30Year-roundAug 1 – April 30
HindsNov 1 – Mar 31Oct 21 – Feb 15Nov 1 – Mar 31
Red/sika hybrids
StagsAug 1 – April 30Year-round Aug 1 – April 30
HindsNov 1 – Mar 31Oct 21 – Feb 15Nov 1 – Mar 31
Fallow
BucksAug 1 – April 30Year-round Aug 1 – April 30
DoesNov 1 – Mar 31Oct 21 – Feb 15Nov 1 – Mar 31
Roe
BucksApril 1 – Oct 31Year-round
DoesNov 1 – Mar 31Oct 21 – March 31
Chinese water deer
BucksNov 1 – Mar 31
DoesNov 1 – Mar 31
Muntjac
There is no statutory closed season for this species. It is recommended that when culling female muntjac, immature or heavily pregnant does are selected to avoid leaving dependent young.

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