Wildfowlers who shoot over Strangford Lough have teamed up with PSNI, the National Trust and BASC Northern Ireland to educate police officers and the public about their sport.
Wildfowling has been undertaken on the Lough for many generations, with the season running from September until January. In recent years some members of the public, unaware of the nature of the legitimate wildfowling practices on Strangford Lough, have called the police to report incidents that are just part of legitimate wildfowling.
Given the tidal nature of the Lough, the areas of soft mud and many other potential hazards, the wildfowlers were keen to ensure that lack of understanding of their activities did not lead police or the public to put themselves in danger. For example, a report of a ‘man with a gun’ or of a ‘man stuck out on the mud’ could precipitate a huge response when in fact it could just be a wildfowler.
Speaking at the launch of a new poster campaign for police stations, BASC’s Tommy Mayne said: “Credit must go to PSNI for recognising and responding to a need to better educate their officers with regard to common wildfowling practices. It’s very encouraging that PSNI have been so pro-active in engaging with wildfowlers on this initiative.”
David Thompson of the National Trust said “The Trust has management responsibility for much of the shoreline of the Lough and administers the Wildfowling Permit Scheme. We are pleased to support this initiative to help make policing of the Lough safer and more effective”.