shooting permission boundaries

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8x57

Distinguished Member
I don't think you are right in referring to this case in this instance.

The Case of Swans (1592) does indeed establish that the animals in question (swans) were wild and therefore not the absolute property of anyone - and as a result their ownership could not be transferred to another person. But this is not the point here - which relates to the qualified ownership that a land owner can assert over wild animals on his/her property.

There is definitely an interesting tension here. Think, for instance, of a rabbit warrener - who is in effect "farming" through enclosure "wild" animals. Or indeed of a bee keeper.

As I understand it current UK law will uphold the qualified ownership of these wild animals.
You'd better tell Charlie Parkes and John Thornley that then as I've directly quoted them and this was their footnote.
 

Jason Page

Well-Known Member
It looks as though the distinction between absolute and qualified ownership may be a bit too subtle for some. However, this (quoted from one of Deer Initiative's legal guides) is helpful:

Ownership of deer: Deer which can roam freely are wild animals and are not owned by, or the responsibility of, anyone. A wild deer becomes the property of the landowner when “reduced into possession” i.e. killed or captured, thus a culled deer is the property of the owner of the land on which it dies, a deer killed in a road accident is the property of the owner of the highway, verge or land on which it falls. The status of enclosed deer such as park deer is not so clear, they are generally regarded as “wild” with respect to shooting seasons but in some cases may be regarded as property. There is no clear definition of farmed deer but deer which carry tags which include the agricultural holding number or which are listed as part of a farm enterprise are regarded as domestic livestock and therefore as property.

A wild deer does NOT have to be dead to be reduced into possession - that is to say absolute ownership.

It would certainly be easier if everything could be expressed in very simple terms. But the concepts of "ownership" and "wild" are more complicated that this. I am surprised that anyone thinks I am stupid for pointing this out or expressing an opinion on which someone else takes a different view - particularly as we appear to agree on most points.
 
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NoIDeer

Well-Known Member
There is definitely an interesting tension here. Think, for instance, of a rabbit warrener - who is in effect "farming" through enclosure "wild" animals. Or indeed of a bee keeper.

As I understand it bees are "feral by nature" (latin version above) and therefore you can't be prosecuted for their behaviour. You don't own then, you keep them.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
It really amazes me that all these basic questions on law and what you and are not allowed to do are constantly being asked. In the past (ie 30 odd years ago) the BASC and others published book with the basic information in them, which very clearly out lined quarry species and what you can and cannot do. This should be basic knowledge for anybody who is involved in Field Sports, and certainly should be in the knowledge base of those who shoot, or hold shotgun and firearms licences.

2 key points.

1) You should only shoot where you have lawful permission, and shooting includes where your shot or bullet lands. So its not OK to shoot at the phaesant or deer that is flying along you boundary and the shot or bullet falls in the neighbours boundary.

2) For quarry that falls or runs over into neighbouring land, the carcass belongs to the neighbour. There is a defence, that after reasonable measures have been taken to contact the land owner, you can enter the land to follow up and dispatch a wounded animal - but the venison or game still belongs to the neighbour.

In the UK we really do have an attitude of "keep of my land" and real suspicion of what the neighbours are up to. When in fact in the vast majority of cases they just perfectly normal people and a simple chat is usually all it takes. Deer, Phaesants, Ducks etc are not yours just because they happen to be on your land, or if you have reared them. Once they are released they are wild. Its definately not ok to instruct your keeper to dog in the neighbours woods the day before a shoot so that you can shoot your birds that have strayed onto the neighbours. Nor is it OK to send your dog across the boundary to collect the phaesant that you another gun has just shot.

What is OK is to speak to your neighbours before hand and ask their permission to send the dog across on occassion. Or even better to invite them to join you on a shoot - and you then get an invite back.

The other key is that if you ask permission, make sure the person who grants the permission actually has the lawful authority to grant it. Many farmers are tenant farmers, and the tenancy often will not include the sporting rights.
 

Triton

Well-Known Member
Interesting conclusions. I was under the impression that dead game (pheasants on adjacent land but shot on land owned by another could be retrieved by dogs (or people without guns). Perhaps this only applies to wounded game ?
 

Siggy

Well-Known Member
Wild creatures do not belong to anybody until they are dead, then they belong to the landowner where they lie.
Actually they belong to no one until someone takes them into their possession then they belong to them. The landowner would have to appeal to a court to take ownership. The right to own the pheasant is retained by the land owner so the gun would still be prosecuted with theft aka poaching
 

uptonogood

Well-Known Member
Years ago when hunting with dogs was ‘normal ’in law ,a course started was a course allowed to finish ie if you ran a hare on X and it ran onto Y there was no problem in law if the dog pursued and caught his quarry .
Obviously with the new world changes things are different .Glad I lived when things were simpler .
 

Jason Page

Well-Known Member
”Wild creatures, tamed or untamed, shall be regarded as property...”

Section 4 Theft Act (1968)

The Act goes on to state that you cannot steal a wild animal unless it has been reduced into possession (i.e. absolute ownership) by someone else or on behalf of someone else. Hence the view that a deer standing on your land over which you have the right to shoot should be seen as a qualified possession - and something over which you may exercise rights. These rights are qualified not absolute and transfer to your neighbour when the deer jumps over the boundary.

I am sorry if this doesn’t fit with what some people think the law says. But I am quoting directly from a piece of extant primary legislation.
 

Jason Page

Well-Known Member
Being deemed as property is one thing but does that mean you can own it whilst alive?
That is exactly what it means.

Property is something that is capable of being owned - and over which people may exercise rights. Hence the concept of qualified possession.

The case of Swans (1592) gets the ball rolling in terms of legal notions of wild animals but this precedent is over 400 years old and does not take account of subsequent primary legislation. Moreover it relates to the sovereign’s rights over swans as royal animals and whether she (Elizabeth I) could assert possession over swans which were not already in the reduced possession of her subjects. It is true to say that it introduces the distinction between wild animals and those that are not wild but it is not true to say that it establishes that wild animals cannot be owned. If anything it establishes exactly the opposite as in the particular question it addresses, it resolves the ownership of some 400 wild swans!

UK law is complex and convoluted in this area but Swans (1592) is not really relevant. I agree with much of what has been written here - and the important point is (in terms of the OP... remember the OP?) that you should not go onto someone else’s land without their consent to retrieve a fallen animal. You should not do so because the fallen animal (once your qualified possession) is no longer your possession (in any sense) to retrieve anymore.
 

Jason Page

Well-Known Member
I agree completely that I do not own a wild animal in the same sense that I own my dog. I think this is a good way to think about it:

I own my dog. If my dog jumps over my boundary, I am still the owner of my dog.

I agree completely that the same cannot be said of deer on my land.

I have qualified possession of a deer on my land. If the deer jumps over my boundary, it is no longer my qualified possession.

If I shoot a deer (or anything else) on my land and it crosses my boundary and dies on my neighbour's land, it is not in possession of anyone ...until someone picks it up. (This is the one of the points established by the Theft Act)

I do not have the right to pick up a fallen animal on my neighbour's land. But, of couse, my neighbour does - and when he does so the dead animal becomes his possession. And, if I were to take it from him at this point, I would be guilt of theft.
 

25 Sharps

Well-Known Member
I agree completely that I do not own a wild animal in the same sense that I own my dog. I think this is a good way to think about it:

I own my dog. If my dog jumps over my boundary, I am still the owner of my dog.

I agree completely that the same cannot be said of deer on my land.

I have qualified possession of a deer on my land. If the deer jumps over my boundary, it is no longer my qualified possession.

If I shoot a deer (or anything else) on my land and it crosses my boundary and dies on my neighbour's land, it is not in possession of anyone ...until someone picks it up. (This is the one of the points established by the Theft Act)

I do not have the right to pick up a fallen animal on my neighbour's land. But, of couse, my neighbour does - and when he does so the dead animal becomes his possession. And, if I were to take it from him at this point, I would be guilt of theft.
I think you’d also be guilty of poaching if you’d shot it on your land then pursued it over the boundary
 
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