View Full Version : Primitive Skills Limitations
Is it just that land is so restricted in England/Europe or is it due to the restrictive land use policies and gun/knife laws over there? I seem to pick up a common thread of how hard it is to get out and practice primitive/wilderness skills without stepping afoul of some law.
Here in the U.S. we have certain laws etc...to be aware of but basically, if one wants to go out and set traps, fire weapons or simply find a large area of land to play on, there usually isn't much of a problem.
I read the review of one of Ray Mears classes and it was somewhat sobering to see what things were NOT covered due to these restrictions. Has it always been this way? At least in more recent years? It seems from my history of GB that there have always been pretty tough laws on hunting etc... due to much land being controlled by large land owners.
I'd love to hear from you on this.
The laws here on Firearms, lighting fires, trapping and Carrying knives
are so tight that you have to be extremely careful not to fall foul of the law whilst undertaking any bushcraft outing
For example carrying any fixed blade knife is illegal in public unless you can explain a good reason for doing so part of your job etc, this is one of the few cases in British law where you are guilty until you can prove you are innocent.
carrying a fixed blade knife on someone else’s private land would be armed trespass :shock: if you did not have the land owners permission
Many of our laws are based on the decisions of past court rulings, due to a recent ruling folding knives in which the blade can be locked open are now considered by law to be a fixed blade knife (so technically you can not carry a leatherman wave or locking Swiss army knife in a public place)
Also folding knives with a blade longer than 3" inches is illegal
so the only knife which you can legally carry on public land is a folding knife with a blade less than 3 inches long which does not lock
larry the spark
I have often wondered how often prosecution for these kind of criminal offences occurs. I reckon I must break the law on a fairly regular basis (but am EXTREMELY dicreet about doing so!), and indeed imagine it to be very difficult not to do so with an interest such as we have. I have access and permission to use a friends farm land with some woods where i can do things but obviously you get a little tired of the same old scene and I'd much rather be off out somewhere inspiring!
Anybody got any warning stories or bad experiences with the law/landowners they want to share..... with regards to bushcrafty/outdoors activities of course!!
It may seem restrictive, but GB is following the old concept of "commons" or lands used by and for the whole community. Our vast acreage here is no less finite and fragile. My favourite story of Brit land tenure concerns a college that found the massive, ancient oak beams in the chapel were wormy and unsafe. Upset they remembered the staff included a small staff of foresters who had cared for the oak groves on campus for only a few hundred years. When they approached them, the staff leader replied " We wondered when you would show up." The replacement beams had been patiently pruned and nurtered by all thse generations. It gives us something to think about, with our last 3% private redwoods being raped for profit :cry:
Stuart pretty much nailed the knife issue. Hunting is a mixed deal. Hunting with sling shots, and bows is illegal (at least it is quoted as such often enough that I wouldn't want to argue otherwise), and you need a license for anything that puts out more than 12ft.lb muzzel energy.
You can have an air-rifle that is under 12ft.lb without any license. That is enough power to hunt with for small game. The Brits and Europeans make the best air weapons in the world, so it isn't like we are stuck with Daisys and Sheridans. We can also have silencers on airguns and .22 rifles without all the hassles that go with noise suppressers in the US ($200 federal license last time I checked).
There are no seasons, or licenses needed, for rabbits, squirrels, pigeons, doves, crows or magpies. No bag limits either. The idea of having crow season (let alone bullfrog season) and a limit on squirrels would seem ludicrous here :-)
The country side is thoroughly criss-crossed by public rights of way, footpaths, bridle ways and so on. Farmers must not block these routes. I feel rather sorry for some farmers, but more so for some people who buy homes and find there is a foot path that cuts across their garden. Legally anybody can just walk through. Tresspass isn't criminal.
So, though some woods have signs up saying they are private, if there is a footpath there, you can still walk through them. Unlike the US were huge areas are private, no access, "tresspassers will be prosecuted/shot" :wink:
Where the US wins is the public land that is truely public and you can do just about anything on. That doesn't exist here. The closest thing over most of the country is owned by the National Trust, but they have a huge list of bylaws on the use of their land, no camping, fires, picking up plants, sand, rocks, etc etc.
Most people I have met in the US don't really appreciate how many people are crammed onto this island. Even if we hadn't had restrictive laws handed down from history, I doubt it would take long for us to get them. There are more and more people wanting access to the countryside, many are intolerant of other countryside activities, even if those activities are those that made the country the way it is.
There are some upsides here. There aren't the same number of ticks and chiggers, though they are on the up. There is only one kind of poisonous snake, no animals that might ransack your camp at night, no poison ivy :-D I am kind of sorry about the lack of animals, but can't say I miss the ticks and poison ivy! I used to live in Westchester NY were there were more than enough of both.
Dang, look at the time! I am off home!
Thanks for the input. Sure sounds restrictive BUT as someone said, it isn't a big place and you have to take that into consideration. Here, you can just walk out your back door and do what you want although there are limitations on private land and certain laws relating to which animal is in season.