Shooting With Dogs Legally In the UK

The hunting act isn't the easiest read on the bookshelf and its got a lot of potentially misleading terms and conditions in there. And sadly, shooting with dogs classifies as hunting and not shooting, meaning it is affected by these laws. But with a little explanation its fairly easy to understand and to follow the laws this act includes.

How The Hunting Act Affects You In a Nutshell

You are allowed to hunt birds, rats and rabbits with dogs as long as you have the land owners permission and use no more then two dogs. Hunting injured hares with any number of dogs is also permitted but the hare may not be purposely injured for this reason.

The next part is why the law is so famously confusing and misleading. You can go shooting with dogs for other wild mammals as long as a certain exception applies. A maximum of two dogs can flush or stalk mammals from cover provided it is for one of the following reasons:

• If the animal in question is likely to cause serious damage to Livestock, food for livestock, game/wild birds, plant crops, Timber growing facilities, fisheries or 'other properties'.(But what other properties are classed as is not clearly defined)

• If the animal is being killed to provide meat for consumption (for animals or for people)

• If the animal is a threat to the biological diversity of an area

In all of these cases no more then two dogs can be used and full permission from the land owner is needed.

A Gundog With a Bird

Flexibility in the Law

In the real world, hunting isn't as simple as that. We all know that its possible for dogs to run off and chase something we didn’t intend for. Its also possible that if two hunters are using two dogs each that more then two dogs may chase the same animal. The hunting act covers this and for prosecution to succeed it will need to be proven that the gunner/s did intend for this to happen.

If you would like to read the legislation on the official website, click Here

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