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What can I shoot with an air rifle?
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matt_hooks



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 312
Location: Lambourn(ish) Berkshire
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 7:58 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

As the occupier of the land, your father has the right to give you permission to shoot over it. That's how the firearms law is phrased, and there's no condition in any contract that can over ride that!

The main things to remember. If you shoot and a pellet crosses the boundary then you could be accused of the offence of armed trespass, though proving it would be difficult unless you were unlucky enough to hit someone.

The big catch will be to do with the highways act. It is an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 feet of the centre of a highway (basically a paved road) where such act causes injury or fear to a member of the public using the thoroughfare.

As an addendum, if you're tempted to take a pot shot at any wildlife, the list of suitable air rifle quarry is short. There are a few mammals, (brown rat, grey squirrel, rabbit, brown hare and a couple of others) which are covered by a general licence. There are also a few species of bird that are covered by a general licence, but the terms state that "non lethal options" must be considered as a method of control before lethal methods can be considered!

Whilst an air rifle is more than capable of killing a human, as long as you use it responsibly and follow the legal guidelines you should be perfectly safe.

frewen



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11404

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Um - can I just say, it's picky on my part - but the definition of a "highway" is rather broad and not covered by "basically a paved road" definition

Sorry - I'll go away again...

matt_hooks



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 312
Location: Lambourn(ish) Berkshire
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Frewen wrote:
Um - can I just say, it's picky on my part - but the definition of a "highway" is rather broad and not covered by "basically a paved road" definition

Sorry - I'll go away again...


In the exact meaning of this, yes that's exactly what it means.

It means a metalled roadway designed for motor vehicles to pass.

I put that as people seem to think it applies to footpaths, unmetalled bridleways and other rights of way. It doesn't!

Jamanda
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 34908
Location: Devon
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sad that hares are on that list.

Brownbear



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 14929
Location: South West
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jamanda wrote:
Sad that hares are on that list.


In some areas, they have become something of a pest. Not in Devon though, I've never shot one and don't care if I never do.

But anyone who shoots at a hare with an air rifle needs the thing kicked up his bum.

frewen



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11404

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

matt_hooks wrote:
Frewen wrote:
Um - can I just say, it's picky on my part - but the definition of a "highway" is rather broad and not covered by "basically a paved road" definition

Sorry - I'll go away again...


In the exact meaning of this, yes that's exactly what it means.

It means a metalled roadway designed for motor vehicles to pass.

I put that as people seem to think it applies to footpaths, unmetalled bridleways and other rights of way. It doesn't!


Ahh ok - it's just when I learnt about highways, including in relation to the firearms act it was stressed how difficult it was to actually pin this definition down.

But I haven't read the rest of the thread and I don't want to pull it off topic going into fine detail, especially if that isn't necessary.

matt_hooks



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 312
Location: Lambourn(ish) Berkshire
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sorry but I don't follow you with the brown hare.

A well placed shot, with a full legal power hunting air rifle, will kill a hare cleanly and efficiently, and safely. In certain areas of the country the hare is a pest species, and needs to be controlled as much as rabbits. As coursing is illegal, shooting is now the only humane method of controlling populations.

I will avoid shooting hares if they are not a problem, as I will with rabbits and any other pest species, but I consider that a quick, clean death is the least that's owed to such a magnificent creature if it becomes necessary.

We could get into the argument regarding whether we have a right to take animals, for pest control or for food, but I'm sure that we come from the same line on that one.

The hare gets the same respect as any other animal that has to be taken, for whatever reason. The least I can provide for them is a swift death, with as little suffering as possible, whether it's a rabbit, ahare or a Red stag!

Frew, the offence regarding shooting near a highway is not created by any of the firearms acts, but rather by the highways act, specifically section 161(2) of the Highways Act 1980.

The actual wording is:-

In England & Wales it is an offence without lawful authority or reasonable excuse to discharge any firearm within fifty feet of the centre of a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway, and in consequence a user of the carriageway is injured, interrupted or endangered. [Section 161(2) of the Highways Act 1980 as amended].

The actual wording is "a highway which consists of or comprises a carriageway" which is a very specific definition.

Last edited by matt_hooks on Sun Aug 01, 10 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

Brownbear



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 14929
Location: South West
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

matt_hooks wrote:
As the occupier of the land, your father has the right to give you permission to shoot over it. That's how the firearms law is phrased, and there's no condition in any contract that can over ride that!


Some landowners, especially large estates, will sell off land but retain the shooting rights to one or another degree. Any such retention would be shown in the deeds of the property, though it usually applies only to game species.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have never seen a hare in my locality.
I don't know why they are so rare here, maybe the predominance of smaller fields & solid hedges.
If I saw one I wouldn't shoot it because of their rarity but in areas where they are a pest why shouldn't you shoot them with a suitable air rifle?
Surely if an air gun is powerful enough to kill a rabbit outright, then it's OK for hare.

On a foot note, some growers are calling for the ring necked parakeet to be added to the vermin list.
Apparently in the home counties in orchards & vineyards they are a becoming a major problem.

frewen



Joined: 08 Sep 2005
Posts: 11404

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

329 (1) “carriageway” means a way constituting or comprised in a highway, being a way (other than a cycle track) over which the public have a right of way for the passage of vehicles

Direct lift from the Highway's Act 1980

For further discussion as even the Lords wished to try and clarify what a highway/road/carriageway is on specific occasions ...
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldhansrd/vo040629/text/40629-38.htm

- not relevant legally to your specific offence, but underpins my argument about defining the thing in general terms.

I agree with you - the definition is specific, which is why calling it a "metalled roadway designed for motor vehicles to pass", or even "a paved road" isn't sound advice for someone asking a firearms question.

Brownbear



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 14929
Location: South West
PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 10 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

matt_hooks wrote:
Sorry but I don't follow you with the brown hare.

A well placed shot, with a full legal power hunting air rifle, will kill a hare cleanly and efficiently, and safely.


Well there you and I differ. I don't regard airguns as a suitable weapon for anything more substantial than a rat or pigeon. The FAC-rated ones are OK for bunnies at moderate ranges perhaps, but knowing how hard the things are to kill even with a .22 hollowpoint, I don't really rate them as hunting weapons I'm afraid. Small pest control in heavily populated areas, they have a use for reasons of public safety, as the small light projectiles lose their power very rapidly. But for the same reason, they're not much cop at longer ranges and for more substantial quarry.

Chickem



Joined: 27 Mar 2009
Posts: 3958
Location: Sunny Devon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 10 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jamanda wrote:
Sad that hares are on that list.


I agree.....I see hares most mornings on my way to work ......they never fail to make me smile ,we have also come across one or two leveretts hiding in the barasicas..they don't 'arf make you jump when they appear from under a leaf!

matt_hooks



Joined: 01 Aug 2010
Posts: 312
Location: Lambourn(ish) Berkshire
PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 10 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Chickem wrote:
Jamanda wrote:
Sad that hares are on that list.


I agree.....I see hares most mornings on my way to work ......they never fail to make me smile ,we have also come across one or two leveretts hiding in the barasicas..they don't 'arf make you jump when they appear from under a leaf!


I completely agree. I love to see the hares in the fields, and rabbits, and pigeons, and deer.

That doesn't mean that when they reach problem numbers they shouldn't be controlled.

The air rifle is a great tool for hunting small game, up to hare size, at sensible ranges. If the person holding the rifle can put the pellet in the right place, then a clean, humane kill can be had. It takes very little energy to actually kill a rabbit or hare if the pellet strike is in the right place.

I also hold and use .22LR, .243 and various shotguns. I would choose the LR for rabbits in most places, but there is something of the challenge to be able to stalk in to an air rifle killing distance, say 35 yards, and make a clean kill.

I'm a hunter. My aim whenever I point a weapon at an animal is to end its life in the quickest, most humane way possible, whilst maintaining the safety of myself and those around me. In some cases the second over-rides the first, and we have to accept a slightly less efficient method of killing to ensure human safety. A well placed air rifle pellet will kill as surely as a .22 hollow point, though it might be necessary to follow up with a priest to the back of the skull, or a neck break, to finish the job off.

There are also people who, through no fault of their own, are not allowed a firearms certificate, but would still like to control rabbits, maybe bag a few for the pot. For these guys the air gun is the perfect tool. As long as they are willing to take the time and effort to learn how to shoot it properly, and how to put the pellets in the right place, who are we to stand in judgement?

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