Pheasant Open Shooting Season
- England and Wales: Oct 1 – Feb 1
- Scotland: Oct 1 – Feb 1
- Northern Ireland: Oct 1 – Jan 31
- Isle of Man: Oct 1 – Jan 31
Except for the Isle of Man the pheasant shooting season is quite short so is a busy time for shooters as they make plans for an enjoyable days shooting. Under normal circumstances, all birds are released before the start of their shooting season. Shooting must not commence until the birds are mature and fully adapted to the wild – a minimum of one month from release.
Most people already know the season but above is s simple table that shows the exact dates.
You do not need a specific license to shoot pheasants or any game for that matter but you do need what is called a general license. Game licenses in the UK were abolished in August 2007 by Joan Ruddock, junior environment minister.
General licences cover the shooting of pest species of birds by authorised persons, which broadly means anyone shooting with the permission of the landowner or occupier.
All you need is a good dog, a working gun, knowledge of the countryside and most importantly, the rules of the sport. A good dog is essential as it ensures that winged birds are picked up and not left behind which is bad sporting practice.
You should only shoot a bird in flight and never on the ground or worse still injured.
Some people enjoy driven shoots where the pheasants are reared in pens, released in to woodland and then, on selected days, driven by beaters over the waiting guns.
When guns, dogs and picker ups work well together it ensures that the day progresses safely without any issues.