Author Topic: Obtaining A Shooting Permission  (Read 12102 times)

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Offline Ray Stewart

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Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« on: January 26, 2012, 07:29:49 PM »
The emotional subject of acquiring permission to shoot on private land is a subject that crops up in air-gunning circles, time and time again.

Just think about it. If a total stranger knocked your door and asked if they could play in your back garden from time to time (‘cos they haven’t got a back garden of their own), how would you react? And that’s exactly what you’re doing when you approach a farmer or landowner for permission.

Add to that the fact that you want to creep around their land with a weapon capable of wounding farmhands or livestock and you have to understand why permission is sometimes hard to come by.

I’ve only been living in my area for six years. When I went in search of the Golden Fleece of Permission I expected it to be difficult, particularly as my native work colleagues warned me that the local farmers were feisty, insular and very wary of “outsiders”. What a lot of nonsense that proved to be. I now enjoy around 3000 acres of excellent arable and wooded land and the landowners are amiable, approachable and co-operative.

The very first farm I gained followed an enjoyable “interview” and guided tour of the permission by the young farmer. There was an embarrassing moment when my lurcher pup followed his older collie-x bitch through a barbed wire fence. The pup punctured it’s flank and by the time we got back to my car it had opened up into two inch gash. I think Olly, the farmer, felt sorry for us .. and sent me away with a signed permission note, which more than compensated for the vets bill I was given an hour later! But the call for an “interview” was not an accident. It was the fruit harvested from an intensive cultivation months earlier.

So how did I do it ? I used a sales campaign.

But before I start. Important. Don’t even think about using your airgun without first buying public liability insurance. BASA or BASC membership will give you cover for just a few pence a day. The price of a few pellets.

Well, I started with the OS map. I checked out the farm names, drove around looking at the type of agriculture and noted all those I wanted to contact. I then used a Royal Mail Postal Address Book to get the postcodes. Where possible, I found out the farmers names. Next I put together a postcard (using MS Publisher) to advertise free vermin control services.

The card was important. It had to have visual impact and enough information to show a responsible approach. It had to show I was insured and how to contact me.

I sent a polite approach letter and a copy of the card to all the farms. Then sat back and waited.. and waited.. and waited. A month later, I sent it again. I also started to place the card around local nurseries, garden centres and pet-food suppliers. Places where “country” people go.

Just when I thought I may have to change my approach, I got three phone calls in a week. The first not from a farmer, but his daughter who lived on different land. She wanted her horse paddocks cleared. The horses were turning fetlocks in rabbit holes. The second was from Oliver. The third was from an elderly gent who wanted pigeons cleared from his huge garden. I was off and away.

Further land came from referrals and through simply tapping the knowledge of each landowner. Farmers network well, they have to .. and there isn’t anything happening locally that escapes their attention.

So when you get the call, what happens next?

First, arrange to visit. Dress country-casual (not full cammo yet .. save that for later!) but make sure you’re equipped for a tour, boots etc. Don’t take a dog unless agreed with the landowner. If you do, take a lead and a bag to clear up in case it fouls the farmyard. Most farmers won’t care but they will appreciate your respect for their “garden”. Take and show proof of liability insurance. By all means take a gun, suitably covered, in case the farmer wants to see it. They might, as happened to me once, ask you demonstrate your accuracy (I had to shoot a small potato off a fence post 40 yds away)… so make sure it’s zeroed! And if you can’t do that confidently, you shouldn’t be there! Others have just been fascinated to see the gun I use now and, hearing it blank-fired, surprised at the low volume.
Ask lots of questions. Not just about your interests .. what quarry or boundaries?
Ask about family .. are there children around? Neighbours? Public footpaths? Stock, farm dogs, chickens, ducks? Talk about crops and crop rotation? Planting times? Harvesting? Access times? Do you need to phone before visiting? Can you lamp? Make sure you are clear what can be culled. One of my farmers, thankfully, told me he enjoys watching the jackdaws around his yard! Don’t take anything for granted.

The visit is a two-way exchange. As a responsible shooter, this is also your “risk-assessment”. Don’t be afraid to decline land if you think it unsuitable. The elderly gent I mentioned above? His large garden was urban and surrounded on two sides by houses and at the end was a school. Shooting his pigeons would prove too risky, but I did recommend he place a Deben falcon decoy at one end of the garden, which quite tickled him. Now he gets mobbed by rooks instead!

If all goes well and permission is agreed, discuss your need for a written permission note. This is very important nowadays and protects both parties. Keep this simple. I’ve seen some very complicated permission notes drawn up but in my experience, farmers dislike them. You want a few lines that the landowner can read and understand immediately and sign on the spot. If you give him something that looks like a double-glazing contract he will treat it like one. He’ll want to take it away, read it and call you back. You’ll never hear from him again.

So now you’ve got some permission, how do you make sure you keep it?
Visit regularly. Show the landowner that your getting results. Remember to offer the odd rabbit or pigeon for the table (my favourite permission is a beef farm, so Oliver & Hannah decline the rabbits .. often sending me home with a huge joint of beef!). Always stop and spare time for a chat. Many farmers will work all day without seeing another soul, so they will appreciate a yarn. Keep up to date with what’s going on around the farm. Get to know the family. If you plan any unusual hunting (lamping, hide decoying) let the owner know beforehand. I always park where my car is visible so it’s known that I’m on the land. If you a run a dog with you, ensure it’s under close control and stock-steady. Never bring guests onto the land without permission. I’m lucky in that all my permission allows both my dog and my son. Report anything unusual (fly-tipping, trespassers). An extra pair of eyes on a large acreage is always welcome. And don’t forget that the odd bottle, as a thank-you, is normally welcome.

Above all … remember that permission is a tremendous privilege. Treat it as such.


I have cut and pasted this from another forum..With permission from the author...who is Ian Barnett a well respected shooter and journalist of Airgun Shooter magazine.....Very wise words...

Would it be possible to make this a "STICKY" by any chance Gareth??
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Offline garmega

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 08:15:10 PM »
     very good information there RAY i,m sure a lot of people will benefit from it .
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Online shakeysimon

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 08:24:52 PM »
very good,well written and makes sense,its what people should be doing to get a permission,i'm a sparky and do quite a bit of farm work so do get the odd day clearing barns of pigeons ,not had a 'proper' permission yet tho'
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Offline Ray Stewart

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 08:48:35 PM »
Thanks fellas..This is why I've asked Gareth (or any of the mods for that matter) to make it a "STICKY"

Ian Barnett is a top airgun journo I always like to read his articles in the airgun mags..I know he does Airgun Shooter now and he used to do AGW as well...
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Online Gambo

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 09:31:24 PM »
Done Ray.

Offline Ray Stewart

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 09:45:05 PM »
Muchas Gracias compadre
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Offline clubshot

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012, 01:50:09 PM »
Not to be forgotten is that Vermin control Land is Shrinking Daily as much of past Farm land get's Built on

There is Several Hundred Air Gunners per possible Vermin Shoot

Let alone Full bore Rifle Shooters and Shotgunners
Who will more often pay for Shooting rights
As need to have land Registered to shoot on to Keep their Fire Arms tickets

You will find that club Members from Most Air Gun clubs have sown up most Air Gun Shoots

Often in the past Clubs been asked to control Air Gun Vermin

Aware that a good number of my Members @ Lea Valley have Vermin Shoots

Which they have gained over the years

Also aware other Members - once proved good enough have sometimes joined Members
who have Vermin Shoots

Sure it happens @ other clubs as Well

Trouble is that much land is now being brought up by Property Groups for future building
Most of which is Now having Shooting Rights Sold on  -

So often Farners are working land but No longer have Shooting Rights

Aware of many Farmers who regularly get bombarded for persiision to control on their land

Most will - where they have the choice go by word of mouth of what others controlers are doing
Reason you hear of Good Controllers being offered more land -

BOB/R

Offline HERX77

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 07:26:22 PM »
Reading between the lines,generally it seems finding permissions is a fraught and difficult task.
Possibly,.......however I had one offered to me out walking the dog,(as I don't hunt since 1991 and a traumatic spear fishing session then,which made me concentrate my average skills into competitions nationally).Still not wanting to waste this offer and having an interesting conversation with the female farmer, I put her in touch with a shooting friend who would appreciate it.Since then  things have snowballed and generated further openings and acreage.
Its suprising things come out of the blue,a bit like buses or perfect scores in HFT/FT; you try for a long time without success and then they all come at once  ;D and you wonder what the difficulty was at the start
I suppose you have to be B...... lucky or persistant.
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Online Gambo

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 08:51:11 PM »
Quote
traumatic spear fishing session

What was all that about......do tell.....as my mind is boggling!!!

Offline HERX77

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Re: Obtaining A Shooting Permission
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 10:08:26 PM »
 ;)  ;D
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