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Wildfowling Conference 2017

The 2017 Wildfowling Conference was held on
Saturday 4 March at the Ramada Hotel – Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.


BASC supporting wildfowling and wildfowling clubs

Mark Greenhough, BASC Wildfowling Officer

This presentation seta out in clear detail how BASC supports, promotes and defends the sport of wildfowling.

Taking its starting point the BASC wildfowling policy, the presentation breaks down each of the four key areas of the policy and delivery practical engagement in the areas of member recruitment and retention, support to clubs, representation of the sport and defending the sport against restrictions.

It explains how BASC encourage and facilitate entry to the sport by publishing the permit scheme, focusing on increased publicity and promotion.  BASC promote wider recruitment into the sport via wider in house communication channels.  In terms of examining member retention this is ground breaking work in which no other organisation is researching.

Support and extend the club structure involves assisting clubs with lease and consent agreements, and this presentation details facts and figures from actual cases success in the last 3 years.  Club engagement, communication and visits, advice on club management through the club manual, rules constitutions, finance fundraising and general strategy.

Wildfowling receives representation for the sport at all levels from international, national including parliament, JTG, NE, AEWA and many more.

BASC has opposed at all levels any restriction being placed upon wildfowling and recent success include MCZ’s Greenland white fronted geese in Wales, coastal access


The need for evidence to support wildfowling and how clubs can contribute

Paul Williamson, BASC Head of Wildfowling

The need for evidence to support wildfowling and how clubs can contribute.

The presentation will illustrate how practical engagement with statutory agencies will complement the technical science based evidence.

BASC will show the various ways it engages with statutory agencies to improve their understanding of wildfowling. A significant amount of this engagement would not be possible without the support of wildfowling clubs which BASC is appreciative of.

Examples will be given of where Clubs have a long history of working at site level with local conservation officers and the experience of undertaking such meetings.

Practical wildlife recording will also be discussed and the benefits of using the BASC Green Shoots Mapping and Bag Recording website.


BASC research in support of wildfowling

Matt Ellis, BASC Scientific Adviser

Stanley Duncan recognised the need for an evidence based organisation to defend against animal protectionists when WAGBI was established. Almost 110 years later the need to be evidence-based is as important as ever. Statutory bodies have legal duties under UK, European and International laws and need to ensure that decisions they make are defendable against challenge; some quarry species are declining; and, there is increasing pressure on our highly protected coastal sites. As shooters we know that it is the aim of the wildfowler to use carefully honed field craft and skills to cause as little disturbance as possible. However, statutory bodies and academics have little knowledge of wildfowling, and have no data on which to assess the likely impacts from wildfowling. They therefore often have to assume it has a large impact in order to fulfil their statutory duties. The BASC-funded PhD specifically addresses this gap. For example, traditionally the impact of disturbance is assumed based on whether or not birds fly away. Newer science shows that assessing the impact is more complicated and must take account of the frequency of the disturbance, availability of other feeding resources, and the bird’s ability to compensate for any loss of energy. This and other findings from the PhD are being used to provide an evidence base for the simplification of wildfowling consents in England.


Wildfowling Clubs – rules and procedures

Graeme Hughes, Brabners LLP

Almost all Wildfowling Clubs affiliated to BASC are unincorporated associations. All unincorporated associations are governed by a set of rules but as time passes the rules can sometimes be forgotten – this can lead to significant and at times costly problems when dealing with individual members. In this talk, we will be looking into the structure and governance of Wildfowling Clubs, providing some examples of the difficulties that can arise and providing some tips as to how Wildfowling Clubs can be successfully governed.


SSSIs and waterfowl in a changing world

Bart Donato, Ornithologist, Natural England 

Many of the estuaries and open waters around England are designated as SSSIs, with waterfowl an important feature of most sites. Traditionally our expectations of these sites are set with reference to site populations at designation which works well for interest features that are wholly supported by individual sites, but is less appropriate for sites that support more mobile species which live out much of their life-histories beyond the boundaries of individual sites.

Natural England wants to better accommodate the influence of off-site factors in its assessment of individual sites and is looking at different approaches for doing this. I’ll introduce this and discuss some factors influencing populations. I’ll then go on to look at a particular species, pochard, which is in decline on many sites and introduce some of the possible drivers of this.


Devon Wildfowlers – managing a successful wildfowling club: local stakeholders, recruitment and retention and the importance of land purchase

Scott Harding & Nick Millman, Devon Wildfowlers

Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association was founded in 1953.  The club has a membership of 56. In the clubs recent history they have embraced the many challenges associated with managing the clubs internal affairs together with ensuring the club is on the front foot with regards to being a recognised voice across the estuaries they shoot over.

The use of technology has been an essential part of communicating with members and storing important club documents. The club has a programme of events to encourage recruitment and help ensure members remain happy and therefore reduce the amount of members leaving.

By purchasing land has enabled the club to both motivate the membership as well as being taken seriously with other users across the Exe & Teign estuaries






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