The new rules mean that from Monday it is illegal to meet in groups of larger than six, with some exceptions.
Up to 30 people can gather to hunt with guns because it is classed as a licensed outdoor sport.
Hunting and shooting is excluded from the list of banned pursuits because they are outdoor gatherings for physical activity which require a licence. The new rules came into play from Monday
But there is also an exemption for when “a gathering takes place outdoors (whether or not in a public outdoor space)” for the purpose of “a physical activity which is carried on outdoors”, where a licence, permit or certificate is held by the organiser.
A bizarre loophole means posh hunting trips will be exempt from the new Rule of Six coronavirus regulations.
The new regulations published just before midnight on Sunday include a number of loopholes for sports club, wedding receptions and even political protests.
Insiders claim the hunting and shooting issue held up the publication of the new rules until shortly before they were implemented.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now come under fire for creating “one rule for one and one for another”.
Guidance published by Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) today said “shooting (including hunting and paintball that requires a shotgun or firearms certificate licence) counts as a “sport or organised outdoor activity”.
A meeting by the Cabinet Office’s special Covid-19 Operation ministerial committee was reportedly organised for Saturday, set to be chaired by Cabinet Officer secretary Michael Gove, and one of the items on the agenda was: “Exemption: hunting and shooting”, the HuffPost reported.
Many people on social media were furious that hunting and shooting appear to still be on the agenda.
But the meeting was cancelled only hours before, with cabinet ministers and officials told the issue would be discussed another time or via ministerial correspondence.
Another added: “Welcome to Boris Johnson’s ‘golden age’.”
One fumed: “Now Boris Johnson has made shooting and hunting gatherings exempt from this rule. One rule for one and one for another.”
“BASC continues to press ministers for further detail but believes that these exemptions encompass shooting where shoots operate in accordance with Covid secure guidance issued by representative shooting organisations, including BASC.”
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said in a statement: “The latest guidance says that there will be exceptions where groups can be larger than six, including work or voluntary services as well as outdoor sport and physical activity events.