Did you know that pigeons and rats can carry disease and mites, fleas etc. Along with rabbits and grey squirrels these can also cause damage to property, wiring, plumbing etc as well as being unpleasant for employees to work around them and the droppings.

Factories have had to be closed and all insulation from pipes, walls etc removed because these became infested with mites and fleas. Employees have found droppings close to where they work or eat.

Fumigation can be costly and involve periods where the premises are not accessible to employees.

What the ATEO can do to solve these problems: The aim of the ATEO is to provide safe, efficient and humane disposal of pests, by providing the following services.

Risk assessment

  • Carried out with plant /factory maintenance personnel, to preclude any damage to utilities and Installations and appropriate documentation to ensure utmost safety.

Use of fully qualified marksmen

  • Completed the ATEO pest control course

Use of the most appropriate equipment

  • In buildings low powered air rifles are used capable of cleanly killing the pest, along with bait or traps as appropriate. Outside and for large pests, like mink, more powerful air rifles can be used.

Approved disposal of the carcasses

  • As these may be infected with mites and disease these will usually be incinerated.

Time of day/week

  • Can be selected appropriate to pest and shift patterns, with no sign of what has taken place been visible.

The Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 & the use of Airguns for pest control

The Wildlife & Countryside Act states the laws that say what, when and how you are allowed to shoot.

According to the act, all species of birds, their eggs and nests are protected. Every year the Government issues an order that allows certain pest species to be killed. This order is called the Open General Licence.

In addition there are exceptions that allow game birds and wildfowl to be shot between certain dates.

Mammals are not protected unless the government specifies this is so, within the Act or by a special order. Protected species include Hedgehogs, Bats of all types, Otters, etc.

The list of unprotected mammals and birds listed as pest species are shown

PEST SPECIES these may be shot all year

  • Crow
  • Rat
  • Rook
  • Mice (but NOT Dormice)
  • Jackdaw
  • Rabbit
  • Magpie
  • Grey Squirrel
  • Jay (protected in Northern Ireland)
  • Stoat
  • Woodpigeon
  • Weasel
  • Feral Pigeon
  • Collared Dove (protected in Northern Ireland)
  • Monk & Ring-Neck Parakeet
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Canada goose

*These 3 species are considered too big to be cleanly killed by air rifles.

*Fox *Mink *Feral Cat

NB: Feral cats do NOT include the Scottish Wildcat – which is protected.


1: If you have the landowner’s permission to shoot them.

If you don’t have this (and it should preferably be given in writing) you could be committing the serious crime of “armed trespass)

If you shoot quarry without permission, you could be prosecuted for poaching.

[Bear in mind if your club has been given permission to shoot targets on someone’s land, it does not give you, or other members, permission to shoot vermin or pests on that site, during club shoots or any other time.]

2: If a bird pest species is actually a pest to the land owner.

  • The act says that a bird becomes a pest if it is:
  • Threatening wild bird populations.
  • Endangering public health
  • Spreading disease
  • Causing serious damage to livestock, crops, fisheries, young trees or waterways.

There are other laws, not in the Wildlife & Countryside Act, about cruelty to animals – including purposefully wounding any animal, including pest species. Prosecution can carry heavy penalties.

For more information visit www.naturalengland.org.uk (List dated 1/1/2010 to 31/12/2010)

Game Species & Wildfowl

There are other birds and animals that can be shot under the Wildlife and Countryside Act – but they are not for air gunners.

Although it is not illegal to shoot them, it is considered unsporting and bearing in mind an airgun’s power level, unlikely to kill them cleanly – and you will make yourself very unpopular with landowners, gamekeepers and other shooters if you do!

Game Species:

These species can only be shot at certain times of the year.

  • Pheasant
  • Partridge
  • Grouse
  • Ptarmigan
  • Blackgame
  • Common Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Golden Plover


These can only be shot at certain times of the year. The BASC and sensible shooters encourage the use of shotguns only, for these species.

  • Coot
  • Ducks: Godwall, Goldeneye, Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Shoveller, Tufted, Teal , Wigeon
  • Geese
  • Canada, Greylag, Pink-footed
  • Moorhen

Other Mammals:

Deer, Fox, Hares and Mink can also be hunted, but they are not for air gunners – even FAC Section 1 airguns

Rimfire or centre-fire rifles should be used for controlling these. Ensure that appropriate ammunition is used and always bear in mind the distance a missile from this type of gun can carry.

  • Feral Cats are on the pest list, but NEVER, EVER shoot a cat, as you will almost certainly be breaking a law if you do. This pest is for specialised pest control companies only.
  • Ensure that you learn the pest species list, and can accurately identify them.
  • Remember the safety rules when using any type of gun, and remember NEVER to shoot beyond your seeing distance, nor to take a shot if you cannot be certain of a clean kill.
  • Apart from knowledge of safety procedures, quarry identification and the necessary maintenance of guns, ensure that you practice safely and regularly to maintain your shooting skills and ensure your equipment is in good condition.

Points to remember:



For more information visit www.naturalengland.org.uk (List dated 1/1/2010 to 31/12/2010)

All enquiries please contact Dave Mills founder of the ATEO

Contact Dave Mills | email. dave@ateo.org.uk - Tel. 01543 450173 Mobile. 07761 237633