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Hi all, I'm new to this forum but have been shooting pigeons for years. After a brief hiatus I've come back to the sport but I'm concerned upon reading the new general licences. Whilst birds like canada geese can be shot under all three licenses, pigeons which pose far more of a problem can only be controlled under one license, GL42, and even then only for spread of disease relating to livestock and protection of crops. I own a woodland were I want to shoot, but I don't grow crops or rear animals. Sadly the woods have a footpath through, and I'm worried about my legal standpoint if I'm challenged by a passing busybody? Am I entitled to shoot pigeons there under the new licenses or not, as I can't use the excuse of protecting crops or livestock? Any advice would be really appreciated; I feel like our way of life is being increasingly persecuted. 

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Pigeons?

Feral pigeon: GL 41 Public health, slips and falls, spread of humane disease, issue with birds nesting. Plus GL 42 below.

Wood pigeon: GL42 Precent serious damage, Livestock, feedstuffs & spreading disease, Crops, fruits and vegetable.

 

20210515_175021.jpg

So I would say "Yes" you're covered.

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8 hours ago, Jeremy Winters said:

and I'm worried about my legal standpoint if I'm challenged by a passing busybody?

Tell him (politely) to poke off, you're managing your land.  And remind him to keep to the footpaths.

Frankly, if a passing member of the public starts complaining, a GL violation is probably the least of your worries.

By the way, it has always been thus on the general licences, you couldn't just shoot woodies for the pot, at least not in the past 38-odd years.  It's just the language is more explicit now. I suspect (but don't know) that you were probably on dubious legal ground before.

Plant something.  Speak to your neighbouring land owners/farmers.  Perform some due diligence if it makes you feel better.  But unlike Centrepin, from your description I can't say 'yes' you're covered. 

But for gawds sake don't try to get some form of formal sign off from land owners, or even heaven forfend the police.  Nobody will give you a 'green light', you must use your own judgement.

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Hi Jeremy you should read the (Legal basis of this license) and (Purpose of this licence) before using the licence. If you have any questions you should ask defra phone 03459 33 55 77 or defrahelpline@defra.gov.uk  The only way you can legally kill a woodpigeon is to use licence. Hope this helps you.

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On 15/05/2021 at 12:42, Jeremy Winters said:

Hi all, I'm new to this forum but have been shooting pigeons for years. After a brief hiatus I've come back to the sport but I'm concerned upon reading the new general licences. Whilst birds like canada geese can be shot under all three licenses, pigeons which pose far more of a problem can only be controlled under one license, GL42, and even then only for spread of disease relating to livestock and protection of crops. I own a woodland were I want to shoot, but I don't grow crops or rear animals. Sadly the woods have a footpath through, and I'm worried about my legal standpoint if I'm challenged by a passing busybody? Am I entitled to shoot pigeons there under the new licenses or not, as I can't use the excuse of protecting crops or livestock? Any advice would be really appreciated; I feel like our way of life is being increasingly persecuted. 

The principle of ‘area wide protection’ is embraced by the current licences. This was acknowledged time and again, by Natural England, when questioned by the Commons Committee during the last debacle. Citing local impacts, if questioned (highly unlikely) is all that is required.
 

Far more important, to be honest, is the need to regard footpath users, so they don’t feel threatened. 
 

Good luck and happy pigeoning! 

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2 hours ago, Fellside said:

The principle of ‘area wide protection’ is embraced by the current licences. This was acknowledged time and again, by Natural England, when questioned by the Commons Committee during the last debacle. Citing local impacts, if questioned (highly unlikely) is all that is required.

True but you must also 

a) before using this licence, be satisfied that you, or the person authorising you to act under this licence, have made reasonable endeavours to achieve the purpose in question using alternative, lawful methods not covered by this licence

b) continue to use reasonable endeavours, or be satisfied reasonable endeavours continue to be used, to achieve the purpose in question using alternative, lawful methods not covered by this licence

Not so easy to demonstrate on an area wide basis. Whilst you can argue that such methods are not praticable and this in turn justifies your actions it would be a tough one in court. We need some test case precedents and I would not want to be that test case.

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Only you can make the decision , read the General License , understand it and make your decision based on this. If you go to Court it's no good saying " ,I was told on PW it was OK " 🤣 We are being scrutinised more than ever and I wouldn't want to be made an example of.

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1 hour ago, oowee said:

True but you must also 

a) before using this licence, be satisfied that you, or the person authorising you to act under this licence, have made reasonable endeavours to achieve the purpose in question using alternative, lawful methods not covered by this licence

b) continue to use reasonable endeavours, or be satisfied reasonable endeavours continue to be used, to achieve the purpose in question using alternative, lawful methods not covered by this licence

Not so easy to demonstrate on an area wide basis. Whilst you can argue that such methods are not praticable and this in turn justifies your actions it would be a tough one in court. We need some test case precedents and I would not want to be that test case.

Yes thank you - I have read the print off the current GLs and am quite well acquainted..... as are many here. They are basically documents of compromise and counter compromise - to satisfy the range of ‘stakeholders’. Here is the counter to your quote above: 

“You’re not required to use alternative, lawful methods under condition 1(a) and 1(b) where the use of such methods would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances.”

So there’s your ‘get out’. 
We could quote and counter quote all day long - but it’s quite pointless. In essence, the ‘spirit of the law’ is much more important than the ‘letter of the law’ here..... as it so often is. The purpose and intent of the new GLs is to allow for whole farm and area wide damage prevention - as per the much publicised NE intentions - following the House of Commons enquiry findings. 

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Hi Scully, in 2002 a man was prosecuted for shooting starlings, he claimed that he was using the general licence but it was proved that the starlings weren’t doing any damage at the time. This case was used to prove that the general license is fit for purpose in the high courts when wild justice took the case to judicial review . 

 

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20 hours ago, Fellside said:

Yes thank you - I have read the print off the current GLs and am quite well acquainted..... as are many here. They are basically documents of compromise and counter compromise - to satisfy the range of ‘stakeholders’. Here is the counter to your quote above: 

“You’re not required to use alternative, lawful methods under condition 1(a) and 1(b) where the use of such methods would be impractical, without effect or disproportionate in the circumstances.”

So there’s your ‘get out’. 
We could quote and counter quote all day long - but it’s quite pointless. In essence, the ‘spirit of the law’ is much more important than the ‘letter of the law’ here..... as it so often is. The purpose and intent of the new GLs is to allow for whole farm and area wide damage prevention - as per the much publicised NE intentions - following the House of Commons enquiry findings. 

Exactly my point. Who wants to be a test case?

Big difference from an individual taking a decision on a stance of compromise but not so easy for a club to justify such a position.

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18 hours ago, Gas seal said:

Hi Scully, in 2002 a man was prosecuted for shooting starlings, he claimed that he was using the general licence but it was proved that the starlings weren’t doing any damage at the time. This case was used to prove that the general license is fit for purpose in the high courts when wild justice took the case to judicial review . 

 

Thanks. So that’s one in nineteen years, that we know of. 

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2 hours ago, oowee said:

Exactly my point. Who wants to be a test case?

Big difference from an individual taking a decision on a stance of compromise but not so easy for a club to justify such a position.

I remain legally confident. 

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Hi Scully no doubt other people have been prosecuted for killing wild birds but this man tried to use the general license as a reason to kill wild birds. I think killing pigeons illegally were classed as game under the old game laws. Hi oowee The parts of the general license that are being quoted are for people who have authority to use the license. It’s up to the individual with authority to decide how to use it. I would say that Jeremy should look at the legal basis and the purpose of the license to satisfy himself if he has authority to use it. If a man owns a wood or a tree in his garden it doesn’t give him the authority to kill pigeons. If he is unsure he should ask defra. 

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We all have ‘authority’ - that’s the purpose of a GL. 

I think there’s a little bit of wild paranoia sometimes re legal threats and the GLs. If a police officer does suddenly pop out from behind a bush saying, “is this your dead pigeon sir” it would be perfectly easy to justify shooting said pigeon citing crop or fruit damage in the area. 

Really, in essence, we are free to shoot pigeons. There’s no need for so much angst and nonsense. Although, I do think that some of the nonsense is generated by antis within PW. 

Let’s just enjoy our pigeoning!

 

 

 

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Hi Fellside the general license is for persons with authority to use and no need to register to use it. If Jeremy intends to use the license he should read and understand the Legal basis and the purpose of the licence. Remember woodpigeon is a protected bird , if a police officer questioned you when your shooting pigeons it would be a armed  officer . I wouldn’t say that we are free to shoot woodpigeon or any birds listed  on the general licence. I would ask DEFRA if we are all free to shoot woodpigeon . 

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51 minutes ago, Gas seal said:

Hi Fellside the general license is for persons with authority to use and no need to register to use it. If Jeremy intends to use the license he should read and understand the Legal basis and the purpose of the licence. Remember woodpigeon is a protected bird , if a police officer questioned you when your shooting pigeons it would be a armed  officer . I wouldn’t say that we are free to shoot woodpigeon or any birds listed  on the general licence. I would ask DEFRA if we are all free to shoot woodpigeon . 

Krikey!! This is the exact kind of ‘nonsense’ I’m talking about. I will answer your points anyway: 

1. Most of us are patently aware of the GL context and purpose. You keep trying to explain the GLs for some strange reason. You might remember there are many highly experienced people on this forum. 
2. The legal basis is for crop damage. Pigeons cause crop damage. 
3. Wood pigeons are not protected by the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act when a GL is in use. They are exempted when causing damage. It is perfectly legitimate therefore to disrupt their habituated flight lines, roosts and foraging in relation to that damage. 
4. Armed response units are not routinely deployed to address game or vermin shooting queries......?!
5.  There’s no point in asking DEFRA for pigeon shooting advice - they would simply refer the person to GLs. 

P.S Armed response units are routinely deployed to combat pigeons however - they are called pigeon shooters. 


 

 

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On 15/05/2021 at 12:42, Jeremy Winters said:

Hi all, I'm new to this forum but have been shooting pigeons for years. After a brief hiatus I've come back to the sport but I'm concerned upon reading the new general licences. Whilst birds like canada geese can be shot under all three licenses, pigeons which pose far more of a problem can only be controlled under one license, GL42, and even then only for spread of disease relating to livestock and protection of crops. I own a woodland were I want to shoot, but I don't grow crops or rear animals. Sadly the woods have a footpath through, and I'm worried about my legal standpoint if I'm challenged by a passing busybody? Am I entitled to shoot pigeons there under the new licenses or not, as I can't use the excuse of protecting crops or livestock? Any advice would be really appreciated; I feel like our way of life is being increasingly persecuted. 

You can't do it some say. That's "Useless Eustice" for you and Johnson being in thrall to his woman and her well known acquaintance with Packham.

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