Shooting & other rural sports exempt from new Covid19 restrictions

Do the new Covid 19 restrictions, introduced September 14th, mean that we are unable to shoot again?

Do the new Covid 19 restrictions, introduced September 14th, mean that we are unable to shoot again? Credit: Panorama Images/Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What do the new Covid-19 restrictions (in force 14th September) mean for shooting? Are we still allowed to go clay and game shooting? Find guidance here


As of today, new Covid19 restrictions will ban gatherings of more than six people in England. The new laws will not apply to schools, work places, Covid-secure weddings and funerals, or to organised team sports. Not adhering to this new rule will land you a £100 fine for the first offence, which doubles with every subsequent offence up to a maximum of £3,200. Scotland and Wales are following suit and cutting the number allowed to gather socially down to six.

After substantial work with government ministers and pro-shooting MPs by the Countryside Alliance, BASC and other organisations, the Government has announced exemptions to the rule of six for England which cover shooting.

* Any outdoor physical activity for which a licence has been issued by a public body for the activity itself, or for equipment used during the activity, will be exempt from the gathering limits.

* For shooting, this means that where the organiser or a participant holds a valid shotgun or firearms certificate, there is no limit to the number of people who can gather for the purpose of the relevant activity whilst outdoors.

* The organiser will be required to have undertaken a health and safety risk assessment and put in place all reasonable measures to limit transmission of COVID-19.

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* The exemption does not apply indoors where the gathering limit of six people will still apply.

Employees, such as beaters, pickers-up and loaders are also exempt from gathering limits, both indoors and outdoors, where their gathering is necessary for work purposes.


BASC released the following statement in response to the new restrictions being put in place in Scotland: “New COVID-19 guidance in Scotland will restrict social gatherings of more than six people both inside and outside from 14 September, similar to that in England.

“As long as shoots and shooting parties follow the government approved guidance for country sports in Scotland then such outdoor activity should continue as before. Obviously, there will be new restrictions on socialising before and after the shoot. There are no travel restrictions in place so visitors to Scotland should not be affected.”

Stalking, foxing and rifle shooting

It is assumed that since stalking and foxing rarely if ever involve six people that these activites will not be affected. The British Deer Society is continuing to run its courses at present as they believe they fall under the category of “education”. Of course, stringent precautions will be in place such as masks and hand sanitisers, as well as strict social distancing. As for shooting ranges, we do not yet have information on how these will proceed, so call ahead to check. Again, the assumption is that as long as no more than six people are present on the range at any one time, and social distancing is adhered to, rifle shooting at the range should fall within the guidance.

Useful links to stay Covid-safe while shooting

The BASC Covid19 Homepage contains loads of useful information including “safe guidance” documents for game shoots

BASC also has a guidance document for appropriate Covid19 precautions to take/implement when engaging in country sports in Scotland

For general Covid19 guidance and updates, visit the Gov.UK website’s Covid19 page

The Countryside Alliance’s document ‘COVID safe principles for game shoots in England’ has been updated to reflect the changes to legislation that effect shooting, which came into effect on 14 September 2020