Skip to site content Skip to main menu

Snares and Weapon Transfers

Fox and rabbit control in Scotland is necessary to ensure that damage to crops, livestock, trees, game and other wildlife and their habitats can be reduced to acceptable levels to maintain Scotland’s unique rural biodiversity.

Snaring is a vital tool to achieve these ends in Scotland due to diverse landscape and types of cover.

Snaring is subject to many legal restrictions. When conducted in a legal manner it is an effective and humane form of control. Snaring is a lawful means of controlling foxes and rabbits providing that they are of the correct construction and that they are set by authorised persons in a correct fashion so as to reduce the chance of capture of non target species.

  • Snares must be free running and checked to be free running at least once every day within a 24 hour period. If a snare is found not to be free running it should be removed or repaired. Any non-target animals should be released.
  • Snares used for foxes must have an effective safety stop 23cm from the running end.
  • Snares used for rabbits must have an effective safety stop 13cm from the running end.
  • Snares must be firmly anchored by staking to the ground or attaching to an object in a manner to prevent the snare being dragged by an animal caught in it.

It is an offence to set snares in places where captured animals are likely to become fully or partially suspended or drown.

The Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Scotland) 2011 has a number of provisions that will affect the use of snares in Scotland:

1) From 1st April 2013 any person who sets a snare in position must have an identification number
2) Any person who sets in position or otherwise uses a snare must ensure
a) that a tag is fitted on the snare in such a manner that it is not capable of being easily removed from the snare;
b) that there is displayed on the tag (in a manner which will remain readable) the identification number of the person who set the snare in position; and
c) where the snare is intended to catch the following types of animal-
i) brown hares or rabbits; or
ii) foxes

That there is displayed on the tag, (in a manner which will remain readable) a statement that it is intended to catch the type of animal in question.

Application Form

Applicants will attend at a local police station with –

  • Completed Application Form (Parts A and B) – the form is attached at the bottom of this page or can be obtained from a police station
  • Valid Snaring Certificate
  • £20.00 fee
  • Valid governmental photographic ID (Driving Licence/ Passport etc.)
  • Passport style photograph

Persons who wish to apply at a Police station for a snaring registration number will produce a certificate from an authorised body to show that they have received the appropriate training and have shown competence to use snares.

The following bodies are authorised by the Scottish Government to train practitioners in relation to predator control


Download the application for a Snaring Operator Identification Number


Recruitment 217X145

Are you ready for a life changing career - Join us.

Coronavirus reporting and FAQ 217x145

Read about reporting and FAQ to help you understand how we are policing the restrictions.

Ask The Scottish Police Feature Bnr 217X145

The Ask the Police Scotland mobile app is available for Android or Apple iOS.