Grouse shooting
Pheasant shooting
Endorsed and supported by

The Code of Good
Shooting Practice

In Britain we are rightly proud of our shooting sports. Game management and conservation help shape and enhance our landscape. Wildlife thrives where land is managed for shooting. Over a million people are involved in shooting; many more enjoy the end product as consumers of pheasants, partridges and other game. Moreover, shooting makes a substantial contribution to the rural economy – often at times and in places where other income is scarce.

This code is endorsed by leading sporting agents and game farmers.


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An Introduction to the Code

This Code applies to all game shooting, walked up, driven, wild bird or reared. Provided it is carried out following the advice set out in this code the release of reared birds is an entirely valid method of increasing or sustaining a stock of wild game: indeed it is fundamental to British game shooting and its attendant conservation benefits.

We must never be complacent about the future of shooting. Shooting and shoot management practices will be judged by the way participants and providers behave. Our sport is under constant and detailed scrutiny and we must demonstrate that we conduct it to high standards. The Code of Good Shooting Practice brings together those standards and makes them easily available to all who participate. It embodies fundamental respect for the quarry species, and care for the environment.

This Code sets out the framework that enables shoot managers, Guns, gamekeepers and their employees to deliver sustainable shooting, paying attention to management of habitat and avoiding nuisance to others. All who shoot or are involved in shooting in any way should, under this code, abide by and remind others of the provisions set out below.

The Code provides advice at two levels:

  • Advice that must be followed in order to deliver sustainable shooting – unless otherwise stated the term ‘must’ only applies to meeting the standards set by this Code of Practice and does not refer to a legal obligation.
  • Advice that should be followed in order to achieve Best Practice, any deviation from which would need justification.

This Code is primarily addressed to shooting “game”, which includes all of the traditional gamebirds, namely, pheasants, partridges and grouse, but many of the principles apply equally to other quarry types – ducks, geese, waders and hares – as well as pest species, including pigeons, crows, rabbits and squirrels.

The Code of Good Shooting Practice - Introduction

The following Five Golden Rules apply:

  1. The safe conduct of shooting must meet the standards described in this code, show respect for the countryside, due regard to health and safety and consideration for others.
  2. Shoot managers must endeavour to enhance wildlife conservation and the countryside.
  3. Respect for quarry is paramount. It is fundamental to mark and retrieve all shot game which is food and must be treated as such. Download "Guide to Good Game Handling"
  4. If birds are released, shoots should take steps to comply with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s guidelines for sustainable releasing.
  5. Birds must never be released to replenish or replace any birds already released and shot in that season