With the shooting season now over, it is time to get the shooting equipment washed and packed away until the glorious 12th in the summer. But a break from shooting doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. Now is the time to focus on conservation. 

In my household, we make it our mission to do as much conservation work as possible. This is not just because we try to improve the shooting for the following year, but rather because of the enjoyment and satisfaction we get out of helping and conserving the Great British countryside. 

I am a keen wildfowler and I spend a large percentage of my season out on the marsh, chasing the ducks and geese that the North West estuaries have to offer. With the ducks that we shoot being completely wild, we help them as much as we can to ensure they have the best breeding season possible. One way that we do this is by installing duck nesting tubes (as seen in the photos), this gives the ducks, typically mallards, a safe and practical place to nest. The tubes are placed in water, on a tall spike, which protects the eggs from predators 

Both wildfowling clubs, that I am a member of, organised work parties in the last couple of weeks to repair and refill these nesting tubes before spring, when the mallards pair up and look for places to nest.  

I feel that conservation is very important. Without the endless work done by the shooting community all over the UK, the countryside would not be as healthy or sustainable as it is.  

As well as the duck nesting tubes, another project that has been in development in the past couple of years is the BASC Bird Box Project. It was first launched in the Northern region, thanks to some generous donations at fund raising eventsThe project really took off; we were able to make over 1,000 boxes all over the UK 

The Bird Box Project has been headed up by me with the help from family and the BASC North team. We have been contacted by a number of shoots, education establishments, farmers and even politicians, who have all been keen to get involved and support the conservation work that is being done.  

Doing my bit for the countryside has always been close to my heart from a very young age. Ever since my mum would let my dad take me out on the marsh, I have helped with several conservation projects, such as habitat management and duck ringing 

Unfortunately, explaining shooters’ passion for wildlife and conservation to people who are not from a shooting background and don’t agree with what we do is hard. They always argue that we only do this to better the breeding of certain species in order to shoot them later in the year. However, this is far from the truth and I feel that initiatives such as the BASC Bird Box Project are a great way to fight this misconceptionThe Bird Box Project is fantastic for encouraging the nesting of many different bird species.  

I hope to encourage a lot of shooters, no matter how young or how old, to get involved with conservation work. It is not only very enjoyable but also immensely rewarding. If you think of any projects that you would like to launch yourselfget in touch with your local BASC region and hopefully they will be able to help you.


Lewis Bretherton

I was born and bred in the glorious county of Lancashire which houses some of the greatest variety of shooting sports in the country. From the magnificent grouse moors all the way to the muddy foreshore, I have been truly blessed to spend 19 wonderful years here surrounded by shooting. I started my shooting life around the age of four by going out with my dad on the marsh and my grandad picking-up; this is where my love for the countryside first began to blossom. I was granted my shotgun certificate aged seven and joined two local wildfowling clubs as a Young Shot so that I could go out with my father and carry on the family’s wildfowling tradition. I have attended country shows and game fairs up and down the country and I now have the title of BASC’s Lead Young Shots Ambassador in the Northern region. I try to fly the flag for young people within the shooting world. I also have a huge passion for conservation and my latest ‘BASC Bird Box Project’ has been a huge success with more than 1,000 boxes now up on shoots and in woodland across the UK. It has even been recognised by a number of MPs! I’m proud to be able to show that the shooting world is not just about pulling the trigger but also the countryside and the environment.