Is It Legal To Shoot Pigeons? The Laws Explained

It is legal to shoot common pigeons in both the U.K & The U.S, but care must be taken to ensure that discharges do not leave your garden boundary.

is it legal to shoot pigeons

Is It Legal To Shoot Pigeons In The U.S?

Yes it is legal to shoot pigeons in the U.S.

Throughout the U.S there are numerous federal and state laws that protect all wild birds however pigeons, starlings and English sparrows and the few exceptions to these rules, so yes you can shoot (most of) them.

Because pigeons are not protected by law you can also freely remove their nest and eggs from your property or garden if you need to.

It’s important to be aware that there are countless breeds of pigeon, the most common type of pigeon, your typical feral pigeon, has no protection under the law so can be freely shot.

However rare pigeon breeds for example the Antwerp Smerle or the Archangel pigeon are protected by law and cannot be shot.

Interestingly in 9 states; Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Alaska, Mourning Doves are protected and cannot be hunted however you can hunt them freely in the other 41 states.

So before you get your air rifle out have a close look at the pigeon, if it looks a bit different to the average pigeon then it may well be protected.

Interestingly the Passenger Pigeon was once more populous than the come feral pigeon in the U.S, however it mercilessly hunted for food and by 1914 it was officially declared extinct.

So before you go slaying all the pigeons you can see spare a thought for the poor passenger pigeon!

Also Read: Can I Shoot Pigeons On My Roof?

Is It Legal To Shoot Pigeons In The U.K?

It is legal to shoot pigeons in the U.K on your own property.

Pigeons are categorised as pests so it is legal to shoot them in your garden.

However care must be taken.

Obviously in the U.K, you can only use an air rifle for this.

When using an air rifle you must ensure that the pellet does not leave your garden boundary, if it does then you are breaking the law.

When using an air rifle in the U.K it is also a good idea to speak to your neighbours before dealing with the pigeon problem.

Obviously, firearms are illegal in the U.K so if your neighbor sees a rifle poking out of your upstairs window they may be alarmed and could call the police!


Dan has been fascinated with pigeons since his youth when he used to feed them breadcrumbs at the local park. With a background in SEO Dan noticed a few years ago that there were very few websites around dedicated to his favorite bird so he set out to change that by starting Pigeonpedia.

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