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BASC advice for shooters during COVID-19

Following the latest government announcement on restrictions on movement because of Coronavirus, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has issued the following statement:

The government has given clear instructions that people must stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel.

There are some notable exceptions and BASC is seeking further clarity on issues that will affect the management of the UK’s countryside.

It is important that those involved in work that keeps our countryside functioning through this challenging time are still able to undertake essential work such as ensuring food production. In many instances, this cannot take place without associated pest control and wildlife management provided by our members and the wider shooting community. But this must only be undertaken where absolutely necessary and in line with the latest general government advice on Coronavirus.

However, while BASC recognises the well-documented personal health and mental wellbeing benefits of shooting, the government has not provided specific guidance at present on shooting and BASC, therefore, advises against shooting for non-essential purposes.

It is important the shooting community follows the spirit of the government’s guidance to help limit the spread of the virus and not place any additional burden on our emergency services. We need to not only do the right thing but also be seen to do the right thing.

Advice for conducting essential pest control

In line with the Prime Minister’s statement, when making a decision on whether or not to conduct essential wildlife management you should consider:

  • Is the landowner, or person responsible for giving permission, happy for you to be on the land in the current crisis?
  • Can you maintain effective social distancing?
  • Is the management involved absolutely essential?
  • Is there a risk that your activities could result in the emergency services being called out? For example, someone reporting shots being fired.
  • Should you inform the local police in advance that you are going out? If you do, make a note of the reference number given to you.

Everyone’s circumstances are different so individual decisions will have to be made, although the onus will be on remaining off the land. So-called ‘recreational shooting’ or taking clients shooting are ruled out at present.

Be aware that you should be able to stand up your decision if you are challenged by the enforcement authorities or you risk a fine. This may put your certificate at risk.

BASC has published a number of FAQs around Coronavirus and shooting. These are on the dedicated Coronavirus page on our website.