A BASC Young Shots wildfowling event proved a memorable high point of 2017 for the youngsters who took part.
Will Ivens is 12 years old and goes to Prince William School in Oundle. His passions are shooting, fishing and playing rugby. He is very outdoorsy – he even sleeps in the garden in a hammock during the summer holidays! After fishing, Will often cooks his catch over an open fire that he’s started using a flint and steel and eat it long before getting it back home to the kitchen. Here, Will reports on his experiences at a BASC Young Shots day, organised in the Central region…
“I woke up early and very excited – I didn’t really know what to expect as this was my first BASC Young Shots event.
“We drove to the Lakeside Clay ground near Loughborough, arriving at 9.30am. I met the other seven kids at the café and Louise Farmer from BASC signed us all in as we introduced ourselves. We then met Luke Pulford from Leicestershire Wildfowlers Association (LWA) and the two BASC shotgun coaches who gave us a really good safety talk and took us out to see how we performed on some sporting clays. Once we had all showed the coaches how we shot, we were split into two groups. The tuition that we were given was great and by the end of the session everyone was breaking plenty of clays.
“It was great to meet other Young Shots; like me, nearly all were 12 years old. We had lots in common and almost all of us were shooting 20 bores. Eley provided all the cartridges that we needed for the day, including Bismuth cartridges for our wildfowling.
“After a 20-minute journey to LWA’s Priory Water reserve we had lunch and met Tim Goodlife who manages the reserve. Tim gave us all a lesson on waterfowl identification then took us on a walk around part of the reserve. As a member of LWA, I am familiar with the site and take part in some of the monthly work parties for which I get rewarded with evening duck flights on the shooting lake. There were a lot more ducks on the reserve than I had ever seen before – the wigeon were in really good numbers. I have some really great memories of Priory Water; on my first evening flight last season I shot a teal, a mallard and my first wigeon, and earlier this season I got my first ever goose there.
“Next, we got changed into our shooting kit and went off to our hides. We had a safety briefing from Tim and Tony Warner, the LWA chairman, who had come along to help and pick up with his Labradors.
“We paired up for shooting and each pair had mentors with them in the hides. I was paired up with Tim and we were mentored by Louise and Steve Barby from LWA.
“Everyone got plenty of shooting; quite a few skeins of Canada geese came to the lake. It was so exciting to hear them in the distance, getting closer and closer – I was lucky enough to bag two, they were huge! One dropped on another lake behind me and my wirehaired pointer Lochy retrieved it.
“I have been brought up eating all sorts of game; I’m a real carnivore and I love eating everything that I shoot. Mum and Dad made shredded crispy goose with one of my geese – it was amazing!
“We finished the evening all really happy, admiring the ducks and geese we’d bagged and having pictures taken of us with our birds.
“Everyone was so friendly and helpful. Louise and Lewis from BASC, Luke, Tim and the other LWA members that helped out and the BASC coaches at the Lakeside shooting ground – THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for making such a great day for eight Young Shots.”
Other Young Shots were just as enthusiastic:
Millie Robinson, 13, from Northamptonshire said: “I got the chance to try a different gun which was amazing (thank you very much Louise) and this has given me the confidence to move to a 20-bore shotgun, from the 28 bore that I am currently using. I had never shot live quarry before so I was quite nervous but my mentor, Tim, was really encouraging.
“I was really pleased when I shot my Canada goose – it was a very proud moment for me. Without BASC organising days like this, I for one, would not be able to experience wildfowling. What a fantastic experience this day was. It was definitely one of my top highlights of 2017 – I can’t wait for more!”
Ben Perkins, 14, from Leicestershire, said: “My brother Luke and I were both very much looking forward to our Young Shots Day. When we arrived we were both quite nervous but after having bacon cobs on arrival, we knew we were going to have the best day ever. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting about shooting and conservation which was really interesting and we both learned a lot. The duck shooting was the highlight. We shared a hide and, our instructor John was simply the best – he made our day extra special by sharing his knowledge. We shot wigeon, greylag and mallard which was a bonus and we enjoyed hunter’s wigeon for tea – the ultimate field to fork! Thank you to all those involved – we can’t wait to do this all again very soon.”