New snaring laws have been introduced by the Scottish Government under the Snares (Scotland) Order 2010 which came into force on 11 March 2010. The Order which can be downloaded at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/ssi2010/ssi_20100008_en_1 brings up to date the rules on the legal use of snares. It is advisable that anyone who uses snares familiarises themselves with the new laws, albeit that the Order underlines what most responsible snare users are doing already.

The main points to note from the new Order are listed below:-

  • all snares, when set, must be checked at least once every day (at intervals of no more than 24 hours) to ensure that they are free-running;
  • snares must be fitted with a safety stop to suit the intended target species; and
  • snares must be fixed to prevent dragging and must also be set in locations where the target species can be safely restrained.

New training courses have been developed by the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and Scottish Gamekeepers Association to help users of snares comply with the new laws.

Two other changes to the provisions on snaring are currently being considered for the prospective Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. These are that all snares must be fitted with identification tags, which will allow the authorities to identify their operators and a snaring qualification course for those wishing to set snares.