Game Shooting Season Closed

February 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Days Out, Garden & Outdoors

Shooting birds in the close season

Shooting is illegal during  close seasons.

Licences cannot be issued under either the Game Acts or the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to kill or take game birds during the close season. However, in exceptional circumstances, where the birds are causing serious damage, a notice may be issued under Section 98 of the Agriculture Act 1947.

Close seasons

Game birds can only be killed or taken at certain times of year.

The periods during which they may not be killed or taken (the so-called close seasons) were established in England and Wales by the Game Act 1831. This made it an offence to kill or take game birds between the following dates:

Species Season (England, Scotland and Wales) Season (Northern Ireland)
Pheasant October 1 – February 1 October 1 – January 31
Partridge, Grey and Red-legged September 1 – February 1 September 1 – January 31
Black Grouse August 20 – December 10 N/A
Red Grouse August 12 – December 10 August 12 – November 30
Ptarmigan August 12 – December 10 N/A
Brown Hare No closed season August 12 – January 31

It is also an offence to take or kill game on Sundays and Christmas Day (in England and Wales).


The following mammals can be controlled by legally approved methods all year round.

  • Fox
  • Rat
  • Mice (except dormice)
  • Rabbit
  • Grey squirrel
  • Mink
  • Weasel
  • Stoat
  • Feral cat

When to shoot Pigeon

Wood Pigeon can be shot all year in the UK – there is no close season.

A great time to shoot them is when the farmers plant spring crops during March/April.  During May the birds nest, but the shooting gets very good again in June on laid Barley and then July when the Rape is cut, followed by Harvest time and shooting on the stubbles until the start of November. Winter shooting over Rape can also be very good.

Another option is Clay Pigeon Shooting so that you are able to practice and is a less expensive way to shoot and you are also able to have lessons at most clubs so that you can improve your technical skills. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a complete beginner, the Shooting Club is here to ensure you get the very best out of your visit.



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