Category Archives: Wildfowling

Supporting local conservation in Wales

It is with mixed emotions that we share some news regarding the Greenland White-Fronted Goose. On the one hand the voluntary moratorium enacted over forty years ago by Welsh wildfowlers has been a resounding example of real world conservation, on the other hand due to habitat loss in their native Greenland the global population of the species is still in decline.

We therefore ask for your help in supporting an independent scientific study dedicated to the geese, which have now launched their own Facebook page. For most of you, all we ask is that you ‘Like’ their Facebook page and spread the word about the conservation efforts on the Dyfi estuary.

If you happen to live in the region or know people who do we would also ask that you report any sightings of the geese either directly to BASC or to the study, which can be done via their Facebook page.

We support the decision of Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources who after a public consultation decided to support the conservation efforts provided by the local wildfowlers and extend their voluntary action against targeting the threatened species. It was the wildfowlers who first began the conservation efforts to help save the species and it is important they remain involved and connected to the conservation efforts they have lead and developed over the past four decades.

To identify the Greenland White-Fronted goose look for a white flash on the birds forehead, dark stripes on its belly and its orange legs, the Greenland variety also has orange bills.

Photo of grazzing Greenland White-Fronted geese on grass

Thank you for your continued support and assistance on this matter.

Advertisements

Wildfowling – Why I Love It?

We are delighted that we have been given permission to cross-post this wonderful article on Wildfowling for you from the Hunt & Gather UK blog, if you enjoy Wildfowling already, have thought about having a go, or have never heard of it and would like to know what it’s all about, give it a read and let us know what you think. If you like what you read, go over to their blog and give it a follow.

Dog looking over decoys on water

Waiting on an evening for the flight. This is a splash or flooded field. The foreshore is just over the sea wall.

Dog with Decoys out on the foreshore. Shooting a tidal pool.

Decoys out on the foreshore. Shooting a tidal pool.

Waiting in a hide besides a tidal pool

Waiting in a hide

Anyone who knows me, will know that I have a passion for wildfowling. To me this is truly wild shooting, that requires fieldcraft. Every bird on the ground is hard earned.I’ve have done plenty of formal driven shooting in my time, but these days it bores me. Dropped at a peg in a 4WD it just feels false, standing there waiting for the birds to come over in approximately the same direction. The wildfowler has to endure hardships, be a better shot, as the birds can come at any angle and speed, often with poor light and terrible weather.

A Wildfowler has to be a trained ornithologist, get to know the habitats of the quarry. The effect of the weather, the tides and the moon on the way the quarry behave. There is something truly magical about waiting for the sun to rise or set, with the noise of the many waders coming from every direction. The excitement and anticipation of the flight that may or may not happen, is like no other feeling for me.

We are very often on our own with our dogs, with not a soul around. I personally love that feeling of isolation, on the very remote and wild British foreshore. I feel utterly removed from the world of modern living, every worry and stress dissolves.

Ducks and geese often flight right on the edge of dusk or dawn, as a hunter we need every sense and instinct available to pick up the birds against the dark sky. The bags are normally small and very hard earned. This combined with the wild nature of the marsh or foreshore is like no other form of shooting to me. We know every sound that our quarry makes and hearing them brings all of our senses alive and our hearts fill with excitement and anticipation.

Bad weather and strong winds tend to make the birds fly lower, trying to escape the wind. This brings them into the range of our guns. Fog or snow makes them follow the contours of the land. You have to learn how the quarry behaves to be successful. The tides will push more birds off of the mud and the moon can make them flight later.

Birds will often follow rivers or drainage ditches. Taking the shortest route across promontories. Like I said every bird is hard earned and deserved. This is proper hunting in my opinion.

I always use a semi automatic 12 bore, with a synthetic stock and barrel that isn’t blued. The salt can soon destroy an unsuitable gun. The advantage of a semi auto, is that I can use heavy loads, without increasing the recoil. The third shot always comes in handy as well. There has been many occasions when I have killed with the 3rd shot. You will need hides, face masks and keep bone still, or the birds will very often see you and veer away at the last minute.

I don’t use Steel, as I personally find that it kills less effectively. The low density of steel 7.8g/cm3 leaks energy more quickly and limits the range of steel. Range is important when wildfowling on occasions. I am happy to use bismuth, tungsten matrix or Hevi-shot that have densities if 9.6g/cm3, 10.8 g/cm3 and 12.0g/cm3 respectively. Lead had a density of 11.0g/cm3 for comparison. I used to carry duck and goose cartridges and switch between them. But this proved to be very difficult on occasions. Last season I shot 42g No.3 Tungsten Matrix at everything and didn’t find this a problem, even shooting teal.

Foreshore, tide, splash (flooded fields), evening, morning and moon flighting all have there difference and appeal to me. On the roosting or feeding grounds look for signs of recent activity, like fresh feathers or droppings, by day. Using decoys and learning to call the ducks and geese, will all increase your chances. I’ve seen birds turned from 100s if yards away, to come over us on many occasions, using a call. Always use a dog or go with someone who has a dog. To me it’s a hunting crime to lose a bird in the water or reeds. On top of this wildfowling is relatively cheap and accessible.

I personally love wildfowling and I suggest that if you haven’t tried it, give it a go. But please don’t be put off, by lack of success at first, like any good hunting discipline, it takes time to develop the skills to become a good Wildfowler.

Enjoy!

My Wildfowling club Gloucestshire Wildfowlers

Land Authority Form

We have produced a “Land Authority Form” which you may use for confirming, in writing, the details of your shooting permission. We recommend that you carry a copy of the signed form with you when out shooting, perhaps as a scan or photograph on your mobile phone.

The form may be used to provide evidence of “good reason” during Shotgun/Firearms Certificate grants and renewals. For those on their first Firearms Certificate the form may also be used to notify your local Firearms Licensing Department of new shooting permission obtained. N.B. This should be done prior to you shooting on the new permission.

Firearms UK Land Authority Form

White-Fronted Goose Proposals

A recent BASC Key issues publication have warned of another threat to our sporting and hunting rights.

The Welsh Government is consulting on its proposals to ban the shooting of Greenland and European white-fronted geese in Wales. A public consultation on the proposed ban closes on 19th April and such a ban could take effect from 1st September onwards.

BASC are encouraging people to respond against the proposals, full details can be found on their website.