Advice on Shooting & Country Sports during coronavirus lockdown

Updated 4th July 2020

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease many people will now be resuming country sports activities. It's important to still be aware of restrictions and guidelines to ensure everyone's safety.

From 4th July outdoor recreational activities, including shooting, can take place and there are no restrictions on how far you can travel (travel restictions in Wales lifted on 6th July). Shooting activities include target shooting, recreational and essential pest control and recreational deer stalking.

It is now possible for groups of up to 6 people from defferent households to meet outside. When participating in any country sport Members are advised to continue to maintain 2 meters distance from any person not in their household or, where this is not possible, to follow the "1 metre +" rule which allows persons to reduce the distance to one metre while taking other precautions (such as wearing a face mask) to mitigate the risk of virus transmission. Members are reminded to continue to take precautionary measures such as avoiding standing or sitting face to face, and practicing good hygiene by using hand sanitiser and frequently washing hands. From 4 July, households in England will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight - with social distancing.

In England all non-essential retailers such as gun shops can re-open in England providing they have adequate safety protocols in place. The hospitality sector, including clubs and grounds not already open, cafes, restaurants and self contained accomodation can also re-open from 4th July.

Essential Pest Control

Where shooting may be deemed essential, for example pest control at the request of a farmer or landowner to protect crops and livestock, shooters should inform their local Firearms Officer of where they were going and why or they may risk prosecution. Where applicable, it is advisable to have evidence from the farmer that other methods of pest control have been tried and found to be ineffective.

Pest control for other purposes, such as protecting young trees from deer or a golf course from rabbits, is deemed non-essential and is covered in the section below.

If you do go out to undertake essential pest control, with your firearms officer's approval, you should either go alone or with other members of your own household. If shooting alone it is good practice to inform someone of where you are going and your expected return time. If more than one shooter is going to the same area from different households, everyone should travel separately, practise social distancing and maintain strong personal hygiene. This includes retaining a minimum of 2m (6ft) from any other person (or following the 1 meter + rule), using hand sanitiser before and after touching surfaces like stiles and gates (or wear gloves and wash them on a hot wash afterwards), avoid touching your face and always wash your hands with soap and hot water on your return home.

Deer Stalking, Non-Essential Pest Control and Conservation

Current advice is that the above activities are permitted in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. provided that current social distancing rules are maintained; i.e. you go alone, with members of your own household only or meet one person from outside your household group, if you do meet someone from outside you household you must not travel together and must and observe a 2 meter (6ft) distance at all times. All pest control and deer stalking must be conducted in accordance with the law. Given the likelihood of differing interpretations, we recommend contacting your local Firearms officer for approval before undertaking any shooting activities, also carrying your certificate (if applicable) and a copy of written permission from the land owner.

Clay Pigeon and Target Shooting

Many public shooting venues are now open subject to strict adherence to the Government's 'COVID-19 Secure' guidelines:

  • A limited number of people may attend the ground at any one time and by appointment only
  • Attendance is by appointment only. Grounds should operate a booking schedule and keep a clear record of attendance
  • Grounds to adopt a shoot and go policy, with visitors required to leave the site immediately at the end of their booking
  • Hand sanitiser must be available to all on site to mitigate risk of transmission
  • Any and all shared surfaces, for example, trap operation should have appropriate cleaning facilities.
  • Club houses and retail facilities may now open providing they have adequate safety protocols in place.
  • Please contact your local clubs and grounds to find out if they are open, what services they currently offer and how to book.

    As and when guidelines change or are further clarified we will update this page; in the meantime please check Government guidelines for the most up-to-date advice.

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    Stay at home, Control the virus, Save lives!

    Remember, anyone can spread the virus, and it is possible to be a carrier without showing any symptoms. It is extremely important that we limit the spread of Coronavirus in order to slow the outbreak and reduce the pressure on the NHS and emergency services. We therefore urge all members to follow government advice and stay at home as much as possible to prevent the rate of infection increasing again.

    This situation is one that is evolving rapidly; the Government website is the best place to check for current advice and information regarding Coronavirus.

    If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus, which include a high temperature (fever) or a new, persistent cough, it is vital that you self-isolate for 7 days to prevent further spread of the virus. If you live in a household with others the whole household must isolate for 14 days as it is likely the virus will pass between household members. To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you are self-isolating ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home. It is also important to continue to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser. If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111.

    For more information on Coronavirus and what to do if you show symptoms please visit the NHS website.