Newbie... soon

Hello all

Found this forum and its great! Such a wealth of information and good humor. A great resource.

I’m moving to London in early November for a couple of years, and have been looking into continuing my passion for deer stalking while on assignment there (originally from across the pond…). I've been hunting for about 20 years, both Big and Small game.

I’m looking for information on:

- Hunting Licenses: been rooting around trying to understand what exactly is legally required? BASC? Deer Stalking Certificate? What?
- Places to stalk: I’m a bit confused as I see threads based on per stalk, per morning/evening, other formats, what’s the norm? also, is there a directory of places? Any and all advice on location or particular outfits would be much appreciated!
- Rifles: since its proving very complex to understand how to import one of my rifles from the US, I’m probably just going to build a new one locally, but in the meantime, is it possible to rent rifles from outfits in general?

Thanks so much for any and all help, its much appreciated!

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
Hi Dugong,

I see your intro hasn't had a response and don't want you to think we are hostile to our country cousins from over the pond! :) I guess the list of questions appears a tad long, so I will have a stab at two and leave one for folk who know more than I...

In the UK you don't get licensed to hunt. To kill deer legally you must have permission to take deer on a particular piece of land, the deer must be in season and you must shoot them with a legally held rifle conforming to specified calibre and/or ballistic performance. Info on deer seasons and legal calibres (which are different in Scotland and England/Wales) can be found elsewhere on this site and many others (BDS, BASC etc).

You can borrow a rifle to stalk with under what is called the Estate Rifle facility. Simply put, you go stalking on a piece of ground (the 'Estate') and subject to certain conditions (including all the legal blurb about seasons, calibres etc) borrow a rifle from the owner.

As to where to go stalking, best value, best agencies ....oo-er..... too difficult for me. I will let someone else open that can of worms! :)

Welcome on board. Whereabouts over the pond are you based? I've hunted in Texas in the past, although these days most of my trips to the US (PA) are more focused on hitting Cabela's!

To follow up on Bandit Country's post, "building" a rifle while you're here is probably going to be a challenge! In simple terms, to assemble the relevant pieces you'll need a Firearms Certificate, for which you have to apply to the relevant police authority depending on where you live. As part of that application, you'll need to have it countersigned by two referees/witnesses who have known you for at least 2 years and who can vouch for your state of mind/competency, etc. Unless you know people here already, you might find that tricky! Also, I don't know how the rules change for "non-residents". Therefore using the 'estate' rifle might be the easier option.

Full details of the application procedure can be found at

Don't let this put you off, however, as unlike the US we have deer in season all year round, and there's no "tag" system.



Site Staff
Hi Dugongberbulu,

The gun laws of ours will be a complete culture shock to you. You can forget all about hunting licences, tags etc. This little Island of ours, well some bugger owns every square foot of it, there is no public land, BLD ?, as you would recognise. The nearest we have is owned by the Forestry Commission, who run a fairly tight ship and demand qualifications that are believed by many to be unreasonable.

Bandit Country has explained about an Estate rifle, which actually means that if you followed this route you do not need to own a rifle and have no need of any legal documentation.

The only legally required document for us as stalkers is a Fire Arms Certificate (FAC), which details what weapons we are allowed to own along with amounts of ammunition, for those weapons, that we are allowed to possess or buy at any one time. Where I can, when in the States, go into Walmart and buy ammunition across the counter, you will not have that luxury here.

With regard to the Deer Stalking Certificates levels 1 and 2, a lot of Police forces are putting the stipulation that you must have a level 1 before you will be granted a FAC, this is wrong and is being challenged a lot by, amongst others the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, BASC. Now BASC is an association for which there is no legal requirement to join. This applies to all similar associations BDS, NGO etc, membership is voluntary, what they do all provide via their membership though is public liability insurance, which a lot of places insist that stalkers have before being allowed on their ground.

Building a rifle while you are here?, It could easily take the majority of your two year posting plus several thousands of pounds to get the job done. I do not know the details of your stay here or the undoubted intricacies of you importing a gun for the duration of your stay, but if bringing your own is out of the question and you are determined to have your own while you are here, then I would just buy one that you could sell when you leave. For this you would of course need a FAC, how that would work in your case I have no idea.

One plan of attack with regard to the legal niceties of bringing your own or acquiring one while you are here would be to join the BASC, or one of the other associations, and make you enquiry, outlining your circumstances, through their legal department.

I hope this goes some way to helping you unravel things.

Stay on the forum, keep us posted of your progress and you never know, someone might take pity and take you stalking :D :D



Well-Known Member
Hi I just wondered if it might be easier to get a visitors permit, which would mean you could bring your rifle with you from the states. I'm not sure how long these permits last, but I'm sure someone here will know?????
Be sure to post where you are staying in England, there is bound to be a stalker nearby.
Bandit: might have gone a bit much on the questions… my apologies. Guess I’m anxious to get across the pond and find “my place” as it were. Our season started here last weekend and I only have another 3-4 weekends of stalking before I leave, although did get a nice cull whitetail. I had gathered from the different posts that calibers and such seem to be a real focus, and that’s a real change from here, as can use just about anything we can, from a .17HM to a .50 BMG… there are guys in the South who hunt boar with dogs and pikes… I see that the consensus is toward the estate rifle; is that ubiquitous with properties, or will it limit the places I could potentially have access to?

Willie: I’m based about 45mins outside of New York City. PA is good for Cabela’s, but there are also some great whitetail in that state, ever get after one? With respect to the FAC, I actually do know a few people in London, although none of them are involved in the shooting sports, would that be an issue for them to act as referees/witnesses? If not, pretty sure I could get them to sign the forms. I would of course love to bring over one of my toys; better yet build one with a moderator, which are almost impossible to get here and in case can they be used for hunting, but that’s another issue. Yeah, like the Year-Round seasons you guys have… much better than our restrictive system of tags and closed seasons (although if you hunt with bow, rifle, and blackpowder, you do get ~4months to hunt for deer).

John: yeah, the guns laws are something I guess I’ll have to get used to. Where I’m from there is not that much public land in any case, and it’s mostly negotiated with farm owners. As to DSC, I see from a lot of posts that people find it a very collegial experience and get to meet people (which I of course hope to do as well), do you agree? BASC, I guess then it’s off to their website I go to sign up! On the gun, have a call into the FO for the area in London where I will be living, to see how he/she feels about me bringing one of mine from the US, but to be honest, I’m not holding my breath.

Buckup: thanks, will definitely look into the Visitor’s Permit! I’m living in London and working in Uxbridge. Don’t really have a firm grasp yet on areas and such.

Thanks so much for all your help, insights, and ideas! They are really appreciated. To be honest, I’m a lot more concerned with the issue of my being able to stay connected to the outdoors during my time in the UK at this point than minor details such as apartments, cars, jobs and such…

I will definitely take any pity you all are willing to give :)



Site Staff
If you are joining the BASC then talk to their legal department they will keep you right. As far as your referees are concerned there is no need for them to be involved in hunting in any way, they can even be vegetarian :eek:

Just stick with the forum and I doubt very much if you will lose contact with the outdoor life ;)

I was after whitetail a few years back in upstate NY, I ended up eyeball to eyeball with a monster buck and no way to get the shotgun up, no rifles allowed then. He was only about 15 feet from me, then in a split second it seemed like 115.


Dont have that many vegetarian friends, although I am a real supporter of PETA: People who Eat Tasty Animals :lol:

Yeah, the hunting with shotguns takes some getting used to, and whitetails are very smart and weary... but they're a great challenge to stalk, especially on foot in the woods.

Bandit Country

Well-Known Member
Dugongberbulu said:
I see that the consensus is toward the estate rifle; is that ubiquitous with properties, or will it limit the places I could potentially have access to?
No it wont. Although most folk use the term 'Estate Rifle' it is really a misnomer. The law allows an exemption from holding a Firearms Certificate for anyone over 17 years of age, so that they can borrow a rifle from the "occupier of private premises" and use it so long as they are accompanied by the occupier or his employee. The definitions in law are not precisely defined and the occupier is generally accepted to include someone who has the sporting rights on a piece of land. So if I own a chunk of real estate or have the stalking rights on some land (which I don't before you get your hopes up! :) ) you can come out with me and stalk using my rifle.