Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Leave this site
This site is a beta, which means it's a work in progress and we'll be adding more to it over the next few weeks. Your feedback helps us make things better, so please let us know what you think.
Not all hunting is against the law. In some cases, you may have special permissions or authorisation to hunt. Below are instances in which hunting may be legal.
You can legally hunt with dogs in special circumstances. In these cases, you must be on your own land or have permission from the landowner.
In some cases, you must also have authority from a police constable. If unsure, please see 'Contact us'.
Hunting activities that can be legal with the use of dogs are:
It is important to note that other restrictions still apply with the above activities. Please see the other sub-sections for hunting specific types of wildlife.
You can legally shoot hares and rabbits on your own land if you have the correct firearm licence (see ‘Using firearms’ further down this page).
Other people can also legally shoot hares and rabbits on your land, provided they have the correct firearm licence and written permission from yourself. These people include:
Shooting hares and rabbits on your own land can be done all year, except for:
It is also illegal to shoot hares and rabbits on the following types of land:
There is a closed season for shooting on these types of land. Find out more in the Ground Game Act 1880.
In very limited circumstances, you can shoot deer, badgers and even dogs. This may include:
Please see the section on ‘Deer’ on the Illegal hunting page for more information on hunting deer.
For more on badgers, see Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
For more on dogs, see Animals Act 1971.
When participating in a shooting, you must have a licence for any firearm you are using.
Alternatively, if you are borrowing a firearm that needs a licence, that firearm must be:
These laws apply even if you are shooting at artificial targets.
How to apply for a firearm, shotgun or explosives certificate.
Traps and snares are commonly used in hunting. For a trap or snare to be legal, it must be:
You are breaking the law if you do not adhere to the above. There are restrictions on the trapping or snaring of certain animals that requires a licence from Natural England (in England) and Natural Resources Wales (in Wales).
Find out more in:
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
It is important to note that laws within England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are subject to local governance and can be slightly different. If you are planning to hunt in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you should check guidelines and restrictions in these areas.