Copied below is a summary of the advice that Tayside PAW have gathered for those that operate cage traps or Larsen traps.
Remember - If you are a countryside user: if you interfere with traps/snares, damage hides, high seats or shooting butts, you could be the one answering to the law.
A number of general licences are issued annually by the Scottish Government.
The first four relate to certain birds that may in some circumstances be considered to be pests. Users of these general licences should work from the basis that all wild birds are protected, but the licences allow actions to be taken that would otherwise be unlawful.
These licences authorise the taking and killing of certain birds, by certain methods, in certain circumstances by authorised persons who have read and understood the licence. There is no need for the user to be in possession of the licence.
A person convicted of offence under the main wildlife legislation cannot use these licences. This includes shooting as well as trapping.
Licence 1 - for conservation of birds. An authorised person may control great black-backed gull, carrion crow, hooded crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie and rook. In a Larsen trap an authorised person may use a carrion crow, hooded crow or magpie as a decoy/call bird. Note: not jackdaw
Licence 2 - to prevent damage to crops and livestock. An authorised person may control great black-backed gull, carrion crow, hooded crow, jackdaw, magpie, rook, collared dove, feral pigeon, wood pigeon. Note: not jay. In a Larsen trap an authorised person may use a carrion crow, hooded crow, magpie or jackdaw as a decoy/call bird.
Licence 3 - to protect public health and prevent spread of disease. An authorised person may control great black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, carrion crow, hooded crow, jackdaw, magpie, rook, collared dove, feral pigeon, wood pigeon. Note: not jay. In a Larsen trap an authorised person may use a carrion crow, hooded crow or magpie as a decoy/call bird. Note: not jay or jackdaw.
Licence 4 deals with air safety and is not dealt with here.
What are the conditions of use?
- In multi-catch cage traps only specified corvids can be used as decoys - no pigeons or passerines. More than one decoy bird may be used.
- Traps must be checked at intervals of not more than 24 hours
- In a Larsen trap, only one decoy may be used and must be in a separate compartment.
- All relevant animal welfare legislation must be complied with. Decoy birds must have adequate food, water, a perch and shelter from the prevailing wind and rain.
- When any cage trap is not in use it must be immobilised and rendered capable of use in such a way that the immobilisation could not be reversed without considerable forethought or considerable difficulty. Doors or panels of cage traps must be removed from the site or, if they are not removed from the site, they must be taken off the trap and secured by a locked padlock. When a Larsen trap is not in use, access doors must be secured with a padlock or the trap removed from site and stored in such a manner as to prevent its accidental use.
Cage traps and Larsen traps used under the licences shall carry a tag or sign that gives the number of the local police station or wildlife crime officer for the area. This shall carry a unique code that allows the owner to be identified by the police.
Articles provided by Tayside PAW for PAW Scotland, 2011.