brown squirrel on brown slab

Can You Shoot Squirrels In The UK?

Yes, you can shoot squirrels in the UK, but there are certain regulations and guidelines that must be followed.


Squirrels are a common sight in the UK, and while they may be cute and entertaining to watch, they can also cause damage to property and pose a threat to native wildlife. As a result, there are circumstances where shooting squirrels is permitted, but it is important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding this activity.

Legal Considerations

In the UK, the shooting of squirrels is regulated by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This act protects certain species of squirrels, such as the red squirrel, which is native to the UK and considered endangered. However, it allows for the control of non-native grey squirrels, which are known to outcompete and displace the red squirrels.

Grey Squirrels

Grey squirrels are not protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and therefore, shooting them is legal. However, it is essential to ensure that you have the necessary permissions and follow the guidelines set by the relevant authorities.

Red Squirrels

Red squirrels, on the other hand, are protected, and shooting them is illegal without a specific license. These licenses are typically issued for conservation purposes or to prevent serious damage to forestry or agriculture.

Methods of Shooting Squirrels

When shooting squirrels, it is important to use humane and responsible methods. The most common methods used for squirrel control include:

FirearmsShotguns or air rifles can be used, but it is crucial to ensure that you have the appropriate licenses and follow firearm laws.
TrapsLive-capture traps can be used to catch squirrels, which can then be humanely dispatched. It is important to check local regulations regarding the use of traps.
Pest Control ProfessionalsHiring a licensed pest control professional is a reliable and effective way to control squirrel populations while ensuring compliance with regulations.

Guidelines and Best Practices

When shooting squirrels, it is essential to follow these guidelines and best practices:

  • Always obtain the necessary permissions and licenses before shooting squirrels.
  • Ensure you are using appropriate and legal methods of control.
  • Shoot squirrels in a safe and responsible manner, considering the surrounding environment and potential risks.
  • Dispose of squirrel carcasses properly and responsibly.
  • Regularly review and update your knowledge of relevant laws and regulations.


In summary, shooting squirrels in the UK is legal under certain circumstances. While grey squirrels can be shot without specific licenses, red squirrels are protected, and shooting them requires a license. It is crucial to follow the guidelines and best practices, ensuring the use of humane and responsible methods. By doing so, you can help manage squirrel populations and protect native wildlife in the UK.

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