Farmer fired shots over my head, what if anything can I do?

(373 Posts)
unexpectedplaces Sat 16-May-15 23:21:21

Can I ask if anyone knows if this is illegal or not in relation to a right of way across a farmers' land?

To explain what happened and give context. I was walking my dog through a field full of sheep and lambs, dog was at my heel the whole time (no issue whatsoever with the livestock) and we were then away from the sheep and heading for a kissing gate which is where the right of way footpath leads. It crosses a small field and ends up in a village, you can also veer to the left of the kissing gate and continue through the same field ending up at the same point near the village.

I elected to take the left hand path which is about 2 feet away from the official path but divided by a hedge because the small field with the footpath was full of sheep and lambs resting by the gate - I didn't want to disturb them.

I was walking into the sunlight so couldn't see properly but could just about make out a figure a short distance away, a shot was fired into the air followed by 3 more as I walked the length of the hedge. I was really quite worried and hurried through the gate at the end whereupon the shots stopped.

I believe that the gun was either a rifle or a shotgun as the report was pretty loud.

I appreciate that I was off the official footpath strictly speaking but was doing so for purely altruistic reasons (of course he didn't know that).

Should I take this further or was the farmer within his rights? I wish he had just approached me and I could have explained what I was doing and why. The whole incident was pretty unnerving if I'm honest.

Have spoken to a couple of locals who say that the farmer is well known for getting irate about people walking off the right of way.

Any advice please gratefully received

Fxckedmywayuptothetop Sat 16-May-15 23:24:36

Oh God well I guess you were not ok the path but what would have happened if he missed and actually shot you??

FabULouse Sat 16-May-15 23:24:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Lj8893 Sat 16-May-15 23:26:10

Yeah I think I would be contacting the police. Even if you were not in the right and "trespassing" that doesn't give him the right to shoot at you!!

Fizrim Sat 16-May-15 23:26:31

Was your dog on a lead? I don't think the farmer should have let off the shots if your dog was nowhere near the sheep, but I think they can take action if a dog attacks their flock. Not that it sounds as if yours was, just anticipating his argument (and I'm no expert!).

Toughasoldboots Sat 16-May-15 23:26:32

I would speak to the local police, I don't think that you can fire a gun over someone for straying off a path.

AgentZigzag Sat 16-May-15 23:26:59

What is it that makes you think he was firing it at you?

He might well have a reputation for getting irate, but him firing off random shots at you without any warning/explanation is a whole different kettle of fish.

Charleybarley Sat 16-May-15 23:27:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Runwayqueen Sat 16-May-15 23:27:56

I'd be speaking to the police or local firearms department

Littlefluffyclouds81 Sat 16-May-15 23:28:13

He sounds a bit unhinged. I'd find somewhere else to walk in future.

Farmers are very territorial though. My dad certainly is. He's never taken pot shots at anyone though.

AgentZigzag Sat 16-May-15 23:29:35

I've re-read your OP and still can't see anything that says you walking outside the official footpath was in any way related to whoever was firing the shots, or even if it was the farmer.

Am I missing something?

unexpectedplaces Sat 16-May-15 23:30:35

Dog wasn't on a lead but was right on my heel, never even looked at the sheep. Initially I thought it was because of the livestock that he fired the shots but was perplexed as dog no-where near them. When I thought about it more though he only started firing the gun when I went off the official path - I had already walked through the flock ifyswim.

He is quite elderly and pretty eccentric, lives as a batchelor in a once beautiful farm house that is completely run-down.

I was more frightened afterwards tbh thinking what might have happened if he had fired towards me or my dog.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 16-May-15 23:30:41

My dad has a farming background. He quite often shoots on his own land. Quite possible shots were not directed at you??

cozietoesie Sat 16-May-15 23:31:11

Yes - speak to the police. They have to authorize licences and having them in the hands of someone whose judgement is - at the least - questionable is a cause for some concern.

unexpectedplaces Sat 16-May-15 23:32:30

The reason I think it was aimed at me is that the shots matched exactly the length of time that I was on the 'unofficial' bit of path if that makes sense.

I could be completely wrong of course but it does seem a bit coincidental.

Haffdonga Sat 16-May-15 23:33:54

Frankly whether you were on the footpath or in the farmer's back garden he doesn't have the right to shoot you. shock

Police.

MadameJulienBaptiste Sat 16-May-15 23:34:54

Your dog was off the lead and you went off the path in a field full of sheep.
yup he was probably just testing his gun in case your dog started running after sheep.
you say your dog didn't even look at the sheep but the farmer doesn't know that.
aren't you supposed to keep dogs on a lead near livestock?

Hakluyt Sat 16-May-15 23:35:32

Police, most definitely. But your dog should have been on a lead in those circumstances. No excuse, though.

cozietoesie Sat 16-May-15 23:36:28

Maybe it was him, maybe it wasn't, maybe he was shooting at you, maybe he wasn't. Whichever way, you have grounds in my view for expressing your concern to the local police.

TheAssassinsGuild Sat 16-May-15 23:36:29

Police.

ThreeQuartersEmpty Sat 16-May-15 23:36:37

You've no idea if shots were fired over your head or in another direction. By your own admission you didn't see.
You walked a dog through a field of lambs off the right of way?
Ott by farmer, yes. But how many lambs has he lost to dogs already?

That said, police matter. Walk the actual rights of way or none.

unexpectedplaces Sat 16-May-15 23:36:39

I'd walked through all the sheep though Madame I was in a big part of the field with no sheep in whatsoever. I don't think he needed to test his gun 4 times.

Dog was inches from my heel at all times, I'm very livestock aware.

Floralnomad Sat 16-May-15 23:37:49

I think you are over reacting he could have been shooting anything you have no proof he was shooting at you , I also think you should have your dog on a lead near livestock ,irrespective of how well behaved it is .

unexpectedplaces Sat 16-May-15 23:38:20

I really think it was more to do with the right of way than the sheep as we had passed all the sheep a while back. Yes I probably should put the dog on the lead to show he was totally under control, I will do that in future although will not be walking that path in the near future.

TheWintersmith Sat 16-May-15 23:38:46

Police

You aren't allowed to shoot around people. Over their heads or whatever.

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