Wildfowling and the law

Within Northern Ireland the shooting of wild birds (including Game and Wildfowl) is illegal on Sundays, Christmas Day, and more than one hour before dawn or one hour after dusk on other days.

The following species may be shot by authorised persons during the open season (1st September – 31st January);

Tufted Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose,  Scaup,  Shoveller,  Pinkfooted Goose, Gadwall, Mallard,  Teal, Goldeneye,  Pintail, Wigeon, Pochard, Golden Plover

The open seasons for Snipe and Woodcock are:

  • Snipe 1st September – 31st January
  • Woodcock 1st October – 31st January

Any authorised person may shoot the following birds at any time (excluding night time and Sundays):

Crow, Greater Black Back Gull, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lesser Black Back Gull, Wood Pigeon, Magpie,  Feral Pigeon, Starling, Rook, House Sparrow

Curlew were removed from the quarry list with the introduction of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act in 2011. They can no longer be shot in Northern Ireland.

Ruddy Duck have been added to Schedule 2 of the Wildlife (NI) Order and can be shot in Northern Ireland from 1st September to 31st January.

A Lough Erne Shooting Permit, issued by the Lough Erne Wildfowlers’ Council (LEWC) is required for a Wildfowler to be ‘authorised’ whilst shooting on the shores and water of Lough Erne which is owned by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and managed by LEWC.

Remember: It is illegal to shoot from a boat which is under engine power at the time. No mechanically propelled boats can be used for the immediate pursuit of any wild bird.