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Burning Issue: Above the border

Jake Swindells, the Countryside Alliance’s Director for Scotland, looks at the implications of the Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill in this article from My Countryside magazine.

The Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act has now been passed and the measures in it will come into force when Ministers put regulations before the Scottish Parliament. We expect that to happen in late summer in conjunction with the publication of the licensing scheme for the use of packs of dogs. Until then the current law, including the exceptions for the use of packs to flush to guns, continues to apply. Since the Bonomy Review was published in 2015, we have campaigned that the new legislation was unnecessary and unjustified, yet the Scottish National Party committed to introducing a licensing scheme that would affect those intending to hunt with dogs.   

There are two different types of  licence that could be applied for. One is for the protection of livestock and this could be issued for up to 14 days in a six-month period. The second is for an environmental benefit and would be granted for a two-year period for more conservational purposes. 

The areas that have been severely impacted include the activities that require more than two dogs working as a pack. Hunting with more than two hounds, for instance, will soon need to be under licence. Other issues arose during the stages of the Bill which identified some unintended consequences as a result of the legislation. In an attempt to assist police in catching and prosecuting hare poachers, rabbits were included as a wild mammal in the Bill. This now means that rabbits cannot be dispatched by dogs and must be shot.

Rough shooting has also been caught up in the legislation owing to the re-classification of rabbits. A dog in a beating line can search for and flush a rabbit providing no more than two dogs are working together or come together to form a pack. Shoots where only avian game is targeted will not be affected. 

The new Act will completely replace the current legislation and, to assist in deciphering the regulations, we have compiled some FAQs.


Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023: Q&A

The new Act will completely replace the current legislation and, to assist in deciphering the regulations, we have compiled some FAQs.

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