Too close for comfort?

Using a shotgun in gardens is likely to cause alarm

Using a shotgun in gardens is likely to cause alarm - Credit: Archant

May I shoot my 12-bore shotgun in a friend’s back garden that is plagued with rabbits, which are threatening his tennis court? The property in question has a garden over 50m long and 30m wide. The rabbits are at the bottom of the garden which backs onto farmland with no public walkways or any buildings whatsoever, just acres of arable fields.

TIM BONNER replies: You may lawfully shoot your shotgun anywhere that you have the landowner or occupier’s authority and where it is safe to do so. However, using a shotgun in gardens or close to residential properties is likely to cause alarm and annoyance to neighbours, even if great care is taken to ensure that no shot crosses the boundary of the premises over which you have permission to shoot.

While I appreciate that when rabbit shooting you will generally fire into the ground, the recognised safety area for a conventional shotgun extends to 300m from the firing point. Unless your friend’s property is totally isolated and has no close neighbours, it seems unlikely that a 12-bore shotgun is the most appropriate weapon for rabbit control in his garden.

I would suggest that either an air rifle or a sound-moderated rimfire rifle in .22LR or .17HMR fired from a portable high seat would be much more efficient at dealing with the rabbits and much less likely to result in a visit from the police.