COVID-19 restrictions for shooting in Northern Ireland: 27th November 2020

Please remember there is a strong “stay at home” message.

What is not permitted during the lockdown period

Driven game and other types of group shooting cannot take place from Friday 27 November to Thursday 10 December inclusive, as the new coronavirus regulations are designed to prevent social/group gatherings and reduce our day to day contact with other people. The Northern Ireland Executive will hopefully have agreed on new restrictions allowing driven game shooting and other country sports to resume after the current restrictions end.

Leisure and sports facilities, including target shooting ranges and clay grounds are required to close.

What is permitted

Under the new coronavirus regulations, you should work from home if at all possible. Only leave for essential purposes such as education, healthcare needs, to care for others, or outdoor exercise.

Essential bird and mammalian pest control to protect crops, livestock, or for conservation may continue during the lockdown period. Pest bird shooting must comply with relevant general or individual licences as applicable. Pest control services requested by a landowner or agent can be construed either as work (whether paid or unpaid) or voluntary service. The regulations do not impose any limits on how far you can travel.

Game management and gamekeeping activities may continue during the lockdown period.  Ensuring that birds under your care are adequately provided with food and water is important.

Recreational shooting as part of your daily exercise activities such as informal rough shooting, wildfowling and recreational deer stalking may be permitted as these are carried out on an individual/household basis.

As confirmed by Gordon Lyons MLA the new regulations makes no mention of game shooting and unlike the first lockdown the regulations allows “physical activity such as walking, running, cycling, horse riding, or just walking the dog, bring many health benefits”. as this states “such as” this means for example and is therefore not limited to these activities only. It goes on to say that You cannot participate in personal one-to-one training sessions or group activities such as running or cycling.

There is no restrictions on travel for exercise. We would ask you only make short journeys for this purpose.

Non-essential retailers such as gun shops are allowed to trade remotely online, mail order or provide click and collect service.

Other advice

Before undertaking any activity in the current climate with hospitals currently working at or above 100% and with challenges of COVID-19, we would ask members to carry out a risk assessment before undertaking any task and avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

If carrying out essential vermin control during lockdown, we advise taking a copy of your shotgun or firearm certificate with you, confirmation from the landowner requesting your services and paperwork permitting you to shoot on the land you are on.

During lockdown local sensitivities can be high. Although it is not a legal requirement you may want to log your trip in advance with Police on 101.

Everyone shooting during lockdown must consider the impact of their actions on the image and reputation of the sport.  We all have a responsibility to comply with the letter and spirit of the regulations and guidance in place.

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