Points of law

Peter Glenser QC, firearms bar­ris­ter and BASC chair­man, an­swers your ques­tions on shoot­ing and the law.

Shooting Gazette - - Elevenses -

QLast sea­son I was a guest on a shoot where the fi­nal drive didn’t fin­ish un­til the last dregs of sun­light could be seen on the hori­zon. We felt it was rather a dan­ger­ous ploy. Is there any­thing in shoot­ing law about when a day must fin­ish?

AThe short an­swer is yes. Game may not be shot at night and night time is de­fined in the Game Act of 1831 as be­ing one hour be­fore sun­rise or and an hour af­ter sun­set.

Whether or not what was hap­pen­ing at your shoot was dan­ger­ous or not I can’t say. But it prob­a­bly wasn’t il­le­gal if you could see ac­tual sun­set. Most sport­ing peo­ple don’t like to shoot so late though, pre­fer­ring to let birds go to roost undis­turbed.

Hence the end­less dis­cus­sions about shoot­ing through or stop­ping for lunch.

As au­tumn turns to win­ter there is in­creas­ingly pre­cious lit­tle day­light to play with, so shoots must make the most of what they have. I am not a fan of shoot­ing through — I don’t want to have lunch at 3.30pm or 4pm and if I am not stay­ing where I am shoot­ing, I may well have plans for the evening that are not im­proved by eat­ing at that time of day. On the other hand dur­ing those bleak, short De­cem­ber and Jan­uary days I am more than happy with a quick bowl of soup and/ or a sand­wich at lunchtime and don’t need what ad­ver­tise­ments for shoot­ing like to call “full hos­pi­tal­ity”. There is pre­cious lit­tle light then and I like to make the most of it.Many of my most mem­o­rable shoot­ing meals have been al fresco on the hill or in a wood. Sto­ries, cheese and a good red can all wait for the evening and a cheery blaze, when the dog is warm and dry and the gun cleaned and lightly oiled.

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