Where can I hunt for rabbits with slingshots do I have to ask land owners or could I go into a forest away from people and hunt there?

  • 3
    Did you do any research online before asking? gov.uk/hunting & basc.org.uk/game-and-gamekeeping/… & slingshotcommunity.com/threads/hunting-with-stones-uk-law.4939
    – renesis
    Jun 8, 2018 at 21:54
  • @renesis I don't know if you can see my deleted answer, but I deleted it because I was finding conflicting information, including from the links you give. The OP should, however, read these links, and edit the resulting confusion into the question
    – Chris H
    Jun 9, 2018 at 19:08
  • @Chris H & Charlie Brumbaugh I'm not really prepared to make this an answer myself as I don't really think I should be advising anyone on the law surrounding hunting in various areas & settings in the UK, even if I lived there. The real answer, I think is: Consult the regulations set forth by your government & regulatory agencies, not someone on the internet. That's what I do when I'm looking for places to hunt or fish. Unfortunately I did not see your deleted answer Chris.
    – renesis
    Jun 9, 2018 at 23:11
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh I tried that but as I dug deeper I realised it was more complex (you can see my deleted answer believe, and it was when trying to edit in the third link is renesis give, or one very much like it, that I found difficulties. People who do this appear to often be fairly cavalier in their attitude to the letter of the law, even in a public forum, and the question specifically addresses the legality. Weapons legislation (very strict in the UK) is also relevant
    – Chris H
    Jun 10, 2018 at 6:59

1 Answer 1


do I have to ask land owners or could I go into a forest away from people and hunt there?

Yes, you always need the land owners permission to hunt/fish or even to leave designated footpaths. So yes you do need permission to hunt. Bear in mind that virtually all land in the UK is owned. This may be a farmer or an NGO like the National Trust (The largest land owner in the UK). There are some common lands and these typically have restrictions on what is permitted on them written into local laws. Often these bylaws will not allow hunting.

Rabbits are not a protected species in the UK. Through rabbits are currently in a serious decline due to Rabbit haemorrhagic disease. So hunting rabbits is not restricted. There is a rabbit season but this is not enforced. Many land owners consider rabbits a pest and treat them as such. Bear in mind that some practices (hare coursing for example) are considered "Blood Sports" and are banned as a separate activity.

Slingshots are not classed as firearms in the UK and have no restrictions (per say). But a slingshot can be classes as an "offensive weapon", in fact virtually anything can be classed as an offensive weapon in UK law depending on the circumstances. Providing you can clearly demonstrate that you are using the slingshot for hunting and do not carry when not hunting (your going to struggle to explain to the police why you have a slingshot in a built up area, etc) you should be fine.

You're going to struggle to get a clean kill with a slingshot. I wouldn't think of it as an ideal hunting weapon (for rabbits at least, I've seen it used for small game birds like pigeon but they're less robust than a rabbit). You may want to consider a reasonably powerful air rifle to hunt rabbits instead.

  • How does the "right to roam" reconcile with your claim that you need landowners permission to leave footpaths?
    – ShemSeger
    Jun 13, 2018 at 17:45
  • Right to roam is a weird one. Because "enclosed areas" are essentially excluded and the fact the the UK is a very crowded island essentially means it only applies to upland areas such as Dartmoor, Snowdonia, etc. Either way it's the right to "access land" not to hunt on it. Most of the right to Roam areas are still owned by hill farmers, etc. and you still need these peoples permission to hunt on their land. Anything else is poaching. BTW this also applies to fishing.
    – user2766
    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:04

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