Poaching and Hunting

The BASC booklet "Poaching of Game, Deer and Fish" provides advice and guidance on points to prove, offences, evidence and compensation.

It can be downloaded HERE>



Under section 30 Game Act 1831 (England & Wales) it is an offence for any person to trespass in the daytime by entering or being upon any land in search or pursuit of game, woodcock, snipe or rabbits.


Hare, pheasant, partridge, grouse, moor game and black game


One hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.



Trespass means a physical entry by a person onto land without permission. Trespass is not an offence in Scotland unless it is

‘armed trespass’ However trespass is committed if a person(s) or dog(s) enters land to retrieve shot game without prior consent of the landowner or occupier of the land where the game falls.



This is covered by Section 1 of the Night Poaching Act 1828 and the Night Poaching Act 1844 (England & Wales).


Section 1 (a) – It is an offence unlawfully without permission from the landowner to take or destroy any game or rabbits on any land, open or enclosed (includes public roads, paths and verges), at night. An offence is only committed if game or rabbits are actually taken or destroyed.


Section 1 (b) – It is an offence to unlawfully enter or be on any land, with any gun, net, engine (e.g. snare) or other instrument (e.g. lamp, slip lead) for the purpose of taking game (rabbits not included – see Section 1 (a)). To prove the offence there must be evidence of the intention to take game. This may be by admission or, for instance, by witnessing a dog being released on a hare or seeing a gamebird being shot.



Hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, heath or moor game and black game.



One hour after sunset – one hour before sunrise.