Posted by Gary Keen on 20th Apr 2016

Licences for Shooting and Fishing

If you are new to shooting and fishing, it’s worth understanding everything about the licences you need to hold before you go out to purchase any equipment. Depending on the discipline you’re taking part in, and the location you’re in, you may need certain permissions to proceed.

Image from Pixabay

Below we’ve listed all the basics you need to know about Shooting and Fishing licences, so that you have all the information at your fingertips before you start. It’s always worth double checking what licences are needed, especially as not holding a valid licence can lead to a hefty fine or even prison time in some cases.


Image from Wikipedia

Firearms or Shotgun certificate

You have to apply for permission to purchase and own a firearm or shotgun from your local police force. This includes proving to them you are capable and responsible enough for ownership, as well as to nominate referees who will vouch for you. Once you have been granted a licence, this should last for 5 years, unless specified otherwise, so happy hunting!

A European Firearms Pass

Obviously a UK Firearms or Shotgun certificate allows you to shoot in specified locations in this country, but if you are looking to travel further afield in Europe, you will need a European Firearms Pass. This will allow you to travel within Europe with firearms, but you should still always check regulations for the location you are planning on shooting in, just in case.

Wildlife and General Licences

If you are planning on hunting in a non-sporting activity, so as part of conservation work or shooting pest species, you may need to check if there are any additional licences required. Wildlife licences are generally free if it’s for use on an individual basis, but are still required if you’re going to be disturbing a natural habitat. General licences on the other hand are required for shooting and selling wild birds, and normally go into detail regarding the exact reason you are shooting. For example, if you are a landowner and need to protect plants against some wild birds, you will need a licence.


Image from Geograph

Fishing Rod Licence

This is the main licence required when doing most forms of fishing, but the specifics of the licence lie in what species of fish you plan to catch. There is one licence for non-migratory trout, coarse fish and eel, but if you plan to fish for sea trout or salmon you will need to purchase a more expensive licence. Furthermore, depending on the licence you purchase, you will have a maximum amount of rods that you can fish with at one time. When fishing for Salmon for example, you can use a maximum of one rod in rivers and streams but 2 rods in a reservoir or lake.

River Thames Licence

The only additional licence you may need, unless the location dictates it, is permission to fish in the River Thames. This is an additional charge, but allows you full access to fish in the river for a full year from 1st April to 31st March, and you can take another person with you up to three times during the year.

For any further information regarding shooting or fishing licences, as well as some advice on the best equipment to start out with, call in to Keen’s Tackle and Guns.