The law allows authorised persons to control certain species, which include crows, magpies, some gulls and feral pigeons.
This must be done for one of the specific purposes covered by the open general licences which the government issues. These include crop protection and public health and safety.
Laws passed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries classified various species of birds and mammals as game, and formalised the concept of close seasons, related to breeding cycles, when shooting does not take place. The principal game species are pheasant, partridge, grouse, deer and hares.
Game licences in England and Wales were scrapped on 1 August 2007. They are still required by law in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These should be acquired from your local post office or through BASC Scotland. ("Game" means hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, heath and moor game and black game. Rabbits are not included).
Species may be killed or taken (dates are inclusive)
Grouse 12th August to 10th December
Ptarmigan 12th August to 10th December
Common snipe 12th August to 31st January
Black game 20th August to 10th December
Partridge 1st September to 1st February
Duck and goose (inland) 1st September to 31st January
Duck and goose (foreshore) 1st September to 20th February
Coot 1st September to 31st January
Moorhen 1st September to 31st January
Golden plover 1st September to 31st January
Pheasant 1st October to 1st February
Woodcock (England & Wales) 1st October to 31st January
Woodcock (Scotland) 1st September to 31st January
Hare No close season. Cannot be sold 1st March to 31st July