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BASC Ladies Introduction to Wildfowling

At the end of October BASC South East with Langstone and District Wildfowling & Conservation Association (LADWACA) delivered a two day ‘Introduction to Wildfowling’ event specifically for women.

Recent years have seen a significant increase in women getting into shooting sports, yet wildfowling clubs have not seen this reflected in their membership figures. Currently less than 2% of members of wildfowling clubs are female. This event therefore aimed to encourage more women in to the sport by offering them a basic introduction to the wildfowling and the opportunity to gain practical experience of wildfowling out on the marsh.

Day one included classroom based sessions delivered by regional director Dan Reynolds, with support of experience wildfowlers from the LADWACA club. Basic topics of legislation, wildfowl ID and etiquette were covered as well as more technical subjects. Club Chairman Nick Horten discussed the topic of marsh safety and equipment with practical demonstrations. Club vice president Allen Musselwhite covered guns and ammunition, covering ballistics, cartridge lethality and use of non-lead shot. Club Member Matt Kirk of MPK Custom Calls discussed duck and goose calling and gave demonstrations of each, whilst club committee member Nick Chappell talked about hide building and decoys.

With the class based session finished, we headed to the clay ground to shoot simulated wildfowl targets. A thank you here to Malcolm Robertson of Southern Shooting Services for providing the venue and laying on an excellent layout of targets. The ladies all shot targets from standing and sitting positions to simulated conditions on the foreshore. All shot very well tackling incoming, crossing and dropping targets which they would expect to encounter on the marsh.

All of the participants were given a ‘fowlers goody bag. We are extremely grateful to Eley and Deerhunter Clothing for supporting the event and providing items for the ladies to take away.

Day two of the event saw an early meet-up to arrive at the marsh and be ready to commence shooting an hour before sunrise. Easy of the ladies was placed on the marsh with an experience wildfowler to coach them during the morning flight. Tidal conditions were perfect, with a rising tide to help move the ducks and geese. The women all sat ready, guns loaded with Eley Lightening Steel cartridges for the first teal or wigeon to move across the marsh. Sadly the wildfowling gods did not smile on us, with a still, warm morning resulting in a flight which never got going. Despite the lack of shooting, there were ducks seen allowing the participants to practice their ID skills. In some ways it was a valuable lesson about the pursuit of wildfowl; despite best endeavours you often leave the marsh empty handed, but having enjoyed the spectacle of the marsh waking up and a fantastic sunrise. As flight time came to an end, and participants made their way back to the meet place, the wildfowl taunted us, with a dozen Canada geese passing over the shooting positions just 20 yards high, an experience many wildfowlers can no doubt relate to.

The day ended with ‘fowlers breakfast at a local café, and opportunity to discuss the experience with the ladies. All had thoroughly enjoyed the event and wanted to get back out wildfowling. Several of the group also expressed a keen interest in joining a wildfowling club, which the regional BASC team and LADWACA will support them to do. BASC and LADWACA are keen to continue to bring more ladies into the sport, and will be running more events in 2018. As wildfowlers, we look forward to seeing more women out on the marsh.

Thank you to all those who participated in the event as well as the volunteers from the club who gave up their time to make the event possible.

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