Fox Snaring Code

The BASC Fox Snaring Code of Practice


Fox control is necessary in order to ensure that damage to game, wildlife and livestock by fox predation is reduced to acceptable levels, particularly at vulnerable times of the year e.g. nesting and lambing time.
It is the responsibility of all those involved in fox control to ensure their methods are legal, humane and carried out with sensitivity and respect for other countryside users.
Snaring is subject to legal restrictions and when properly practised is an effective and humane form of fox control.


Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Section 11, and Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 Article 12 it is illegal to:

  • set in position any self-locking snare.
  • set in position any trap or snare calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal included in Schedule 6. Schedule 6 includes, badger, pine marten, otter, red squirrel, wild cat, polecat.
  • set in position any snare and fail to inspect it, at least once a day.

* Note : pine marten, otter, red squirrel and wild cat are now listed in Schedule 5 of the Act and are therefore fully protected. The badger and its sett are also protected under the Badgers Act 1992. Wild cat and polecat are excluded from the Order.

Under the Deer Act 1991, Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 and Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 Article 12 it is also an offence to:

  • set in position any trap or snare calculated to cause bodily injury to any deer coming in contact with it,
  • use for the purpose of taking or killing any deer any trap or snare.

Setting fox snares

Ensure that only foxes are using the site where snares are to be set. The presence of foxes will be indicated by:

  • Fox tracks (footprints)
  • Long reddish brown hairs caught on bramble, twigs or wire.
  • Strong musty smell.

If in doubt do not set a snare!

To snare foxes humanely, adhere to the following rules:

  1. Only free running snares which contain a 'permanent stop', 9" (23cm) from the eye of the snare should be used.
  2. Use good quality snares which incorporate a strong swivel. The wire must not be less that 460lbs (208 kilos) breaking strain.
  3. Snares should be supported by a suitable 'tealer' or set-stick and set firmly in the ground. Tealers made from fence-wire are easy to conceal, set and make.
  4. Snares must be firmly anchored.
  5. Ensure that snares run freely and are free of 'kinks'. Snares which are frayed or damaged should be discarded.
  6. Snares should be set so that the bottom of the loop is at least 9" (23cm) off the ground under normal conditions and up to a height of 12" (30cm) or more, on open ground. When setting snares at these heights the loop should be 6" to 7" (15/18cm) at its deepest point.
  7. The law requires that snares should be checked at least once a day. BASC recommends inspection at least twice a day and as soon after dawn as is practical.
  8. Foxes should be dispatched quickly and humanely by a shot from a rifle, shotgun or pistol and the body disposed of responsibly e.g. by burying.
  9. The displaying of carcases serves no useful purpose and can offend other countryside users.

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