Pest, or Predation or Vermin Control is carried out in areas that are either farmed by means of crofting or by local residents keeping poultry, sheep etc.  Unfortunately, these rather delicious birds and lambs etc are also especially yummy for some predators!

However, the control of Vermin and Pests are controlled by various Acts of Parliament and while these Acts tend to be complex, basically:

A more comprehensive list may be found on the BASC website as can a comprehensive list of the relevant General Licences required by SNH for the control of some species.

Badgers can only be controlled under Government Licence


  • Winged Vermin, incl. Carrion Crows, Rooks, Magpies, Jackdaws, Jays, Wood Pigeon and Collared Doves  must be trapped in approved cage traps and then despatched humanely.  They must never be poisoned;
  • Ground Vermin, incl. Rats, Mice, Weasels, Stoats, Fox, Mink, Grey Squirrels & ferral Ferrets may be trapped or shot;
  • NOTE - if a Mink is caught in a trap it is illegal to release it into the wild;
  • Moles may be trapped or shot;
  • Rabbits may be trapped or shot;
  • Members of the Public should never attempt to undertake Pest Control Measures unless trained or qualified in doing so;
  • Air Rifles with a muzzle velocity in excess of 12ft/lbs require a Firearms Certificate;
  • Air Pistols are not recommended for any Pest Control measures if they are under 6ft/lb.
  • Weasels to Rabbits should only be killed with an Air Rifle of 8ft/lb pressure and over, and, only with the use of Prometheus Tipped Air Pellets


  • ALL Birds of Prey and Owls are fully protected;
  • ALL Bat species in the UK are fully protected;
  • Otters and Pine Martens are fully protected;
  • Hedgehogs, Polecats and Cats (incl. Scottish Wild Cat) are fully protected and may not be trapped, poison gassed, snared or shot;
  • Red Squirrels are fully protected

Information on Pest Control and the relevant Codes of Practice may be found by looking at the BASC website via our LINKS page.

If you see, or are concerned about, any activity on any land where persons may be shooting or seen to be carrying Firearms (uncovered) the Police may be contacted at ~ Tel. 999 and ask for Police.


From the 1st January 2017, under the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, most Air Weapons in Scotland will require to be licensed under the Firearms Act.  There are exceptions for Gun Clubs & Cadet Corps.

For those living on the Isle of Skye, application to own an Air Weapon may be made to Police Scotland, Somerled Square, Portree from the 1st July 2016.

For further information on this new legislation go to www.airweapon.scot


 Scottish Wildcat
Scottish Wildcat
The Scottish Wildcat is a Protected Species
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