Shooting laws

Shooting game

The Game Act 1882 states that no person can shoot or pursue game between 8pm and 7am on any day or on any Sunday. Game includes grouse, partridge, pheasant, snipe, woodcock, mallard, widgeon, teal and brown or common hares.

Game can only be shot during permitted dates, which can vary from time to time. A list of these dates can be obtained from:

DEFA - Hills, Forests & Glens
Thie Slieau Whallian
Foxdale Road
St John's
Isle of Man

Telephone: 01624 801263

Anyone wishing to shoot game, or deal in the buying and selling of game must have a licence to do so. Application forms for licences are also obtainable from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA). 

Shooting on Sundays

Ranges approved by the Department of Home Affairs or the Chief Constable can allow shooting to take place on a Sunday (under the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1960). Otherwise shooting on a Sunday is not permitted (Petty Sessions and Summary Jurisdiction Act 1927). 

Shooting close to roads

No person is permitted to fire any gun within 30 feet of the centre of any road. (Sec.63 Petty Sessions and Summary Jurisdiction Act 1927). 

Wildlife Act 1990 General Licences

All wild birds, their nests, eggs and chicks are protected from being recklessly or intentional killed under the Wildlife Act 1990, except for a small number of birds that can be shot in the open season under a valid Game Licence (see Shooting Game section above) or a Wildlife Act 1990 General Licence. Individual applications for a Licence under S16 of the Wildlife Act 1990 can also be made.

For more information about Wildlife Act Licences, please visit the DEFA website (see below) or contact:

DEFA – Ecosystem Policy Team
Thie Slieau Whallian
Foxdale Road
St John's
Isle of Man

Telephone: 01624 651577

Shooting wild geese

Information on this subject can be obtained from the DEFA Ecosystem Policy Team.

Under a licence issued under the Wildlife Act 1990, adult geese can be shot between 1 July and 31 March each year. Goslings can now be shot during nesting under the terms of the renewed general licence. The types of geese are limited to greylag geese (wild or feral) and Canada geese. They can be shot only with a 3in magnum shotgun cartridges containing minimum No.1 shot, or with a rifle. Permission is always required from the owner of the land when shooting or carrying any firearm and it is advised to have this in writing.  

Letters of authority

Members of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation can also download copies of letters from their website. 

Firearm security

Firearms have to be stored securely. Normally this is a steel gun cabinet manufactured to BS7558/92 standards but other methods of storage can be acceptable if approved by the police firearms department. An alarm system is also considered beneficial. See the firearms security handbook available on the UK Home Office website. 


It is always advisable for shooters to have some form of insurance against damage to property or third party personal injury liability. Persons who are involved in shooting sports may already have this included as part of their membership of a club or association. 


Any person who takes a dog with them while shooting is deemed to be in pursuit of game (Sec. 5 Game Act 1882) and must have a Game Licence (available from DEFA). There are exceptions for persons in pursuit of rabbits or vermin on their own land, or on another person's land if they have previous written permission from an authorised person. 

Night shooting of rabbits

Approval has been given by Tynwald for the night shooting of rabbits. No other animals, game or vermin can be shot with suppressed (silenced) firearms, either rifles or shotguns.

Rifles deemed to be appropriate for this purpose are any of the rimfire calibres (.22 or .17) and .22 Hornet or .17 rem. Fireball in centrefire. Any sound-moderated shotgun can be used.

Permits can be issued to persons who have held a valid Firearm Certificate in the Island for over 2 years. Application for a permit should be made in writing to:

Firearms Licensing Department
Police Headquarters
Dukes Road
Isle of Man

Telephone:  01624 631402 

If you wish to shoot on someone else’s land, you must enclose written request(s) from farmers or landowners who wish to have you shoot rabbits on their land at night. This is in addition to any existing permission you may already have to shooting in the daytime. It will be useful if you include details of your Firearm Certificate when you apply, but you do not need to send in your certificate.

The Manx NFU Codes of Practice must be adhered to at all times as well as the conditions on the permit.