Shooting restrictions put in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland because of the recent severe winter weather are to be lifted. A legal suspension of the shooting of waterfowl in Scotland will be lifted at midnight on Monday 18th January, allowing shooting on Tuesday 19th. A similar suspension in Northern Ireland will end at 8am on Thursday 21st January.
In some areas birds such as woodcock and waterfowl may still be having difficulty accessing sufficient food due to extensive snow cover and frozen water.
BASC is encouraging people who shoot in all areas of the UK where snow cover and frozen water remain to exercise common sense and voluntary restraint.
Dr John Harradine, BASC’s Director of Research, said: “Even though the thaw has started, many birds may need extra time to recover lost condition and return to their normal habitats.
“While snow cover lasts we will be maintaining our call for voluntary restraint where it is still needed.”
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC’s Scotland director, said: “BASC encourages everyone who will be starting shooting waterfowl and waders in Scotland from Tuesday morning to exercise voluntary restraint in areas where snow cover and frozen water remain or where birds still appear affected by the recent weather.”
Roger Pollen, BASC’s Northern Ireland director, said: “We would like to thank shooters for their compliance during the suspension. Although an administrative problem meant woodcock, snipe and jacksnipe were not included in the protection order in Northern Ireland we ask that they continue to be extended the same consideration as ducks, geese and shore waders while the suspension lasts.”
Forecasts say north and eastern parts of Scotland could experience more snow and freezing conditions but much of the south and west should be unaffected.
Individuals and shoots should continue to look out for unusual movements of birds or for birds in poor condition and use their discretion.