UK Deer Legislation

deerlawThe following is a guide to the law regarding deer stalking and deer management in the UK.

Deer legislation across the UK is not uniform. In both Scotland and Northern Ireland the legislation is different from that in England & Wales. For both residents of the UK and for the international hunter this is an important point to recognise. 

The following are just some of the more important legal points to remember.

Although the Deer Act allow occupiers to protect their crops from excessive damage, and to permit the killing of an animal to prevent suffering, the stalker must not:

A) Use anything except legal firearms to kill deer
B) Shoot out of season unless authorised to do so
C) Shoot at night (one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise) except under licence
D) Shoot from a moving vehicle, or use a vehicle to drive deer.
E) Sell venison in Scotland, except to a licensed venison dealer.
(Please note a Game Licence is no longer needed to kill or take deer, anywhere in the UK).

Firearms & Ammunition

Zeiss8The stalker may only use a rifle and ammunition which is legal for the species of deer being shot. In addition to adherence with the law, the stalker should be guided by knowledge, experience and personal preference in their choice of a rifle and calibre. The legal requirements are laid down in the Deer Acts.

ENGLAND & WALES

For Muntjac and Chinese Water deer only- a rifle with a minimum calibre of not less than .220 inches and muzzle energy of not less than 1000 foot pounds and a bullet weight of not less than 50 grains may be used.

For all deer of any species - a minimum calibre of .240 and minimum muzzle energy of 1,700 foot pounds is the legal requirement.

NORTHERN IRELAND

For Muntjac and Chinese Water deer only- a rifle with a minimum calibre of not less than .220 inches and muzzle energy of not less than 1000 foot pounds and a bullet weight of not less than 50 grains may be used.

For all deer of any species - a minimum calibre of .236 inches, a minimum bullet weight of 100 grains and minimum muzzle energy of 1,700 foot pounds is the legal requirement.

SCOTLAND

For roe deer, where the bullet must weigh at least 50 grains AND have a minimum muzzle velocity of 2,450 feet per second and a minimum muzzle energy of 1,000 foot pounds may be used.

For all deer of any species - the bullet must weigh at least 80 grains AND have a minimum muzzle velocity of 2,450 feet per second and a minimum muzzle energy of 1,750 foot pounds. It must be stressed that all these figures are the minimum legal requirement.

(For more on Rifle Calibres suitable for deer stalking in the UK follow this link: rifle-calibres)

For all deer stalking the bullet must be of a type designed to expand/deform on impact. For example soft nose or ballistic tip.

(For more on Expanding Ammunition follow this link: expanding-ammunition)

For more information and advice about the legislation affecting Deer Stalkers in the UK please CONTACT US.

 

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