Can I shoot Canada geese with a rifle or air rifle?

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.

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Can I chase Canada geese on water in my boat?

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. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/69

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What size shot should I use?

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.

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What type of ammunition can I use?

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. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2004/358/contents/made

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Can I shoot Canada geese on a Sunday?

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 AngleseyBrecknockCaernarfonCarmarthenCardiganCornwallDenbighDevonDoncasterGlamorganGreat Yarmouth County BoroughIsle of ElyLeeds County BoroughMerionethNorfolkPembrokeSomersetNorth and West Ridings of Yorkshire For more information consult the fact sheet by clicking the link. (Sunday Shooting fact sheet)

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When can I shoot Canada geese?

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

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What should you do if a legal stoat trap is tampered with or replaced with a non-legal trap (Fenn trap)?

We are aware of occasions when legal traps have been tampered with damaged or stolen. The new restrictions on Fenn traps for targeting stoats could potentially create a situation where Fenn traps are deliberately set to suggest a criminal act has taken place i.e. a legal stoat trap could be switched for a Fenn trap, or Fenn traps could be set around stoat populations by others (without the gamekeeper’s knowledge). Gamekeepers must be alert to this potential situation and ensure they can safeguard themselves in the event of such a situation. Keeping good up-to-date records of all traps set on your shoot will help. Even taking a photo of the legal trap once in position could be an option. If you suspect such a “set-up” has occurred, contact the police (call 101) and report the crime. If possible, take some images of the planted trap. Do not ignore this situation if it occurs, it is vital that all incidents are reported and given a crime number to ensure the scale of such incidents are known and investigated properly. If you are concerned that you may be targeted in this way, BASC advise that shoots contact their local police and inform them of your concerns. Ensure they are aware that your shoot has removed all Fenn traps from locations with known stoat populations. This will ensure the police in the area are aware of the law change (regarding stoat trapping) and have logged the compliant steps you have taken to ensure compliance.

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