Tom Blades, BASC’s Head of Gamekeeping, offers the following advice. Once game has been released into the wild there is no restriction on where it may roam. The principle of this, whereby wild animals and birds are free to go from one person’s land to another, remaining ownerless (therefore exempt from being “stolen”), has long been accepted.

If game is shot and lands dead on a highway, the owner of that highway would have first claim to it. Where game is shot and lands on a public right of way that is adjacent to or crosses the land upon which the gun has authority to be, the gun would have the right to it. If a gun wounds the game which then runs or falls alive on to neighbouring property and he does not have authority to enter, he could potentially commit a poaching offence. If a bird lands dead on the neighbouring property and he enters to retrieve it without permission, a civil offence of trespass could be committed. If the gun were to enter with a firearm then a criminal offence would be committed.