About Wildfowling

For specific advice on wildfowling matters please contact the wildfowling department on 01244 573 011 or email

Wildfowling is the pursuit of geese and ducks, often on estuaries and coastal marshes. Wildfowling is mainly a solitary sport, requiring considerable stamina and patience as it takes place on estuaries and coastal marshes during the winter months in wet, muddy and often cold conditions. The main quarry are wild geese and ducks, which are mostly migrants, travelling from the Arctic circle, Scandinavia and the Low Countries in the autumn and returning to their breeding grounds in the spring. Their habits are governed by tide, wind, weather and the moon. 

Generally geese fly in to their feeding grounds at daybreak and return to roost far out on the mudflats at dusk. Duck usually come in at dusk to feed and spend the night on the pools, returning to the mudflats at dawn. The wildfowler needs to be able to identify legal quarry species in poor light and difficult weather conditions. Often, despite many hours spent on the marsh, he will not fire a shot. When he does, it is important that he has a dog to retrieve the bird from the mud or water. An intimate knowledge of this wild and dangerous area of the coast is a prerequisite to this sport. The inexperienced wildfowler can easily be cut off from the land by the twice-daily tides or become disorientated by the sudden descent of fog.

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Wildfowling Liaison Committee

The Wildfowling Liaison Committee (WLC) was established to advise BASC Council on all policies relevant to wildfowling and to support liaison between BASC, individual wildfowlers and wildfowling clubs.

WLC representatives are chosen as respected members of the wildfowling community by the Chairman. Each member should be approachable and able to feedback on matters of importance. 

The minutes for each WLC meeting are made available on the BASC website as soon as they have been ratified.

If you would like any more information on previous Wildfowling Conferences please contact us here.


For specific advice on game shooting matters please contact us on: 01244 573 019  email


Your BASC Wildfowling Team consists of: –

James Green – Head Of Wildfowling

Shane Robinson – Wildfowling Officer

Jo Hughes – Wildfowling Administrator

Dennise Shepherd – Consents Officer

You can contact us on 01244 573 011 or wildfowling@basc.org.uk

Ammunition choice will depend on the gun you are using and the quarry you are after. Some guns are not suitable for steel ammunition be it through age, material or choke restriction. In which case Bismuth or Tungsten would be my recommendation.

Standard Steel ammunition may be shot through a non-steel proofed gun but there are only a few standard steel loads available. Link to website firearms fact sheet.

High performance Steel ammunition can be shot through Steel proof shotguns look for the Fleur de Lys proof marks or barrel markings stating the barrels are steel shot proof.

Steel ammunition has improved massively over the last decade and ballistically it has proved itself more than capable for the job. Remember the rule of thumb about upping the size of the pellets by 2 to allow for the pellet density difference between steel and lead and you won’t be far out.

 I would always pick the cartridge to suit the quarry. ie shot size 3,4 for Duck and 3,2,1,BB for geese. Wherever possible I will also always choose a bio degradable wad as well although at the moment options are limited. There are more in the pipeline!!

The hardest part of the online recording system is the initial set up to gain your password for the member’s area of the BASC website, after that it really isn’t that difficult.

1. You can find it on the BASC website or by searching for “BASC Green shoots mapping” in your chosen search engine.

2. Click on to the Green Shoots Mapping.

3. Click on the Log In.

4. Go to the Bagged it option.

5. Click on Visits

6. This will automatically take you to your clubs information page showing the areas your club has authority to shoot over.

7. Pick the relevant area and click on Add a visit.

8. Simply fill in the relevant details of your trip. Date / Flight time / Hours spent on the shore / Shots taken / Quarry recovered

9. Scroll to the bottom of the page and Click on the Save and return to my visits.

At the end of the season remember to submit your return for your clubs returns officer to review.

If you’re ever unsure or having issues drop us a line!

Starting out isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, of course it is easier if you have a friend or family member who already goes wildfowling that is willing to take you under their wing, but it’s not the only way. The BASC Wildfowling Permit Scheme produced every year is just the ticket, clubs from across the country have signed up to the initiative to get more people out on the foreshore. There are permits available from as little as £10 and a member of the club will accompany you to ensure you have the best possible introduction and most importantly stay safe.

BASC also run Introduction to wildfowling Days with a few of our clubs around the country, check out the BASC wildfowling page on the web for more details or give the department a call and register your interest.

Wildfowling is a marmite sport you’ll either love it or hate but it is something everyone should experience at least once in their life time, the beautiful sunrises and the myriad of waterfowl make up for the small bag sizes.

There are quite a few types of chokes on the market and several ways they work.

The most common after-market chokes work in one of 2 ways. Either

 a) Standard constriction choke

 b) Wad grabbing choke.

Standard constriction works by tightening the pattern of shot in the gun barrel over the last few inches causing the pellets to group together and pattern density to increase.

The more the restriction the tighter the pattern. Loosely speaking the following rules apply.

40,000 of 1”   = Full choke

30,000            =3/4

20,000            =1/2

10,000            =1/4

0                      = Cylinder

Wad grabbers work by either using a mechanical restriction (a ring of studs grab the expanded base of the wad for a fraction of a second allowing shot to leave unhindered by gas or wad) or gas restriction to slow the wads down by a fraction of a second in the shape of channels similar to rifling in a barrel. As the wads reach the required area in the choke. The channels fill with gas and slow the wads allowing again the shot to leave unhindered by gas and wad. This then causes a shorter denser pattern giving greater pattern penetration at greater distance.

Remember pattern test your gun and ensure you shoot with its and your abilities.

The WLC members are hand selected by the Chairman of WLC, the Chair is appointed by BASC council and will always be a serving council member. A good cross section of the wildfowling community is needed for the committee to be truly effective. A full and comprehensive list of all our Wildfowling Liaison Committee Members can be found here, together with the latest meeting reports: – https://basc.org.uk/wildfowling/club-advice-and-information/wildfowl-liaison-committee/

The Wildfowling Liaison Committee Members can be contacted via the following email address wlc@basc.org.uk or you can liaise with them directly at club meetings or events throughout the year.

If you have any concerns regarding severe weather and if you should have stopped shooting or not check the BASC website, it will be updated daily during periods of prolonged frozen weather. After 7 days BASC will be calling for voluntary restraint based on the projected forecast. Our recommendations is to make your decision to shoot or not based on the conditions at your local site even if BASC isn’t calling for voluntary restraint. At 14 days there will be a national suspension, this information will communicated through Daily updates on the BASC website, BASC Fast Tracks emails, social media accounts and press releases to the sporting press. Further information regarding the suspension of shooting wildfowl can be found here

At this moment in time yes but only under the specific terms of the general license GL28 – Licence to kill or take Canada geese during close season to preserve public health and safety. Ensure you have fully read and understood your responsibilities before taking lethal action and keep up to speed with any changes as NE / DEFRA resolve the General Licence fiasco.

No not at all! It really depends on where you are going and what you are going after. There is ammunition out there for all guns and configurations so you won’t need to buy a new gun at least to start with. For those of you out there with only 23/4” chambers id be looking to Bismuth or tungsten in appropriate shot size for the quarry you seek (see cartridge choice FAQ) if you are using the BASC permit scheme a friendly fowler may well lend you a more suitable gun for the flight.

There is definitely equipment that will make you more comfortable, waders, rucksacks, short length camo and water proof fowling jackets etc. but these are purely to make life easier as they are built specifically for the job however a warm water proof jacket, wellies and waterproof over trousers will suffice for lots of situations. Wait until you know the sport is for you before you spend any serious money.

The Wildlife Habitat Trust www.wht.org.uk has three Trusts. There is the Wildlife Habitat Trust that lends money to BASC clubs, syndicates and members to enable land purchase for shooting and conservation purposes. There is then the Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp Trust that administers the merchandise and annual stamp programme. The third Trust is the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT) which grants money for conservation projects for the benefit of migratory wildfowl. The WHCT is a charity and is therefore regulated by the Charity Commission.  In granting money the WHCT Trustees will need to be satisfied that the aims and objects of the WHCT are being met especially that of Public Benefit. Any club interested in grant funding can find more information on the WHT website. You may also wish to speak to Paul Williamson BASC’s Head of Land Management and also Secretary to the WHT Trusts.

Northern Ireland.

All wild birds are protected on Sundays, Christmas Day or during the period commencing one hour after sunset on any day and ending one hour before sunrise the next day.


Wildfowl and waders may not be shot on Sundays or on Christmas Day.

England and Wales.

Wildfowl and waders may not be shot on Christmas Day or in certain counties.

Before the passing of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, orders prohibiting the shooting of wildfowl on Sundays were made under the Protection of Birds Act 1954. These orders have not been rescinded and so shooting cannot take place in the following counties/part counties on Sundays:

  • Anglesey
  • Brecknock
  • Caernarfon
  • Carmarthen
  • Cardigan
  • Cornwall
  • Denbigh
  • Devon
  • Doncaster
  • Glamorgan
  • Great Yarmouth County Borough
  • Isle of Ely
  • Leeds County Borough
  • Merioneth
  • Norfolk
  • Pembroke
  • Somerset
  • North and West Ridings of Yorkshire

The restrictions relate to the exact location of you, the shooter. Our guidance is that if there is at all any doubt of your position, you are better off not shooting the area on a Sunday as opposed to taking the risk of being wrong.

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