Poaching is Illegal, What You Should KnowKeith
Poaching can be a criminal prosecution.
Poachers have little regard for the countryside and none for wildlife and the farmer’s land they destroy.Nowadays poaching is not the quaint picture of days past where it is one man and his dog shooting a rabbit or pheasant for dinner. Poachers now roam in numbers usually driving 4x4s with several dogs and weapons. It is rare that animals are poached for food and is more often the case that animals such as badgers are taken to kill for the takers pleasure and the people involved are more likely to be pursuing other criminal activities.
Poachers often pursue animals such as rabbits, deer and species that fall under the heading of ‘game’. Under the Game Act 1831, game refers to hares, pheasants, partridges, grouse, heath or moor game and black game. Under the Night Poaching Act 1828 it includes the above and bustards. Specific provisions relating to the poaching of deer, fish and game are described below, but poaching can now be catered for under the Hunting Act legislation.
Do i I report poaching?
Landowners and members of the public need to be aware that some poacher will have firearms, weapons, dogs and must consider their own welfare. Crossbows are not classed as firearms but it is unlawful to kill any bird or animal with a bow or crossbow. It is also an offence under the Firearms Act to enter or be on any land or building as a trespasser whilst in possession of a firearm without reasonable excuse, or without lawful authority or reasonable excuse to have a loaded shotgun or loaded air weapon, or any other firearm loaded or not together with suitable ammunition, in a public place. Most poaching occurs in the night and early mornings and because of the apparent dangers it is not advisable for members of the public to approach suspected poachers. However, taking as much info would assist the police.
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. Daytime is one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Trespass means a physical entry by a person onto land without permission. For the purposes of poaching law a person shooting or sending a dog from the public road or footpath is still a trespasser.
An authorised person may require a person found committing the offence to give their full name and address, and leave the land. If the details given are false or he fails to leave or wilfully continues on the land or returns to the land, he may be arrested. Authorised person means the occupier or person with the right to kill game (persons authorised by them), gamekeeper or servant, and of course a police officer.
The trespassing on land with dogs to hunt game is an unlawful act under the Hunting Act 2004