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Wildfowling Conference 2018

The BASC national wildfowling conference is an important event and provides all wildfowlers with the opportunity to learn more about the things that affect them. It also provides an opportunity to meet up with other wildfowlers to talk about the sport.

The 2018 Wildfowling Conference that was due to be held on Saturday 3 March at the Ramada Hotel – Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham was cancelled due to adverse weather. Speakers have agreed for BASC to post their conference presentation onto the website as follows:



Summary of Presentations


BASC’s commitment to wildfowling

David Muldoon, BASC Wildfowling Officer

David joined BASC as Wildfowling Officer in January 2018. David’s presentation explains his immediate plans, which  illustrates BASC’s commitment to wildfowling.



The impact of international scientific developments on wildfowling

Matt Ellis, Scientific Adviser BASC

Environmental regulations in the UK can come from national, European and international commitments. Typically these regulations affect migratory species, meaning that wildfowlers are often the first to feel the impact of any changes. BASC is involved, with key partners such as FACE, in helping to shape new regulations at the international and European levels to minimise the impacts on shooting when they are rolled out at the national level. This talk will summarise some of the key decision making groups, discuss how BASC has been working with them, and detail how BASC members can help.



New PhD

Lindsay Biermann/Richard Stillman, Bournemouth University

Human disturbance is classified as any human-related activity that elicits a response in an animal that would otherwise not occur. These interactions become an issue when an animal’s response to human disturbance restricts the animal’s ability to compensate. Chronic exposure to disturbance of this level has the potential to lead to reduced reproductive output or death, which can then lead to population declines. In an effort to increase our understanding of human disturbance, this project has evaluated the effects of human disturbance on Brent Geese (Branta bernicula, L.) and Wigeon (Anas penolope, L.) on the Exe Estuary, Devon. Behavioural observations of these two species were conducted from September 2017 through to March 2018. Analysis was run on 48hours of observation of general human activity events and 18 hours of observation of hunting events. Results reveal that birds fly up due to disturbance when the human activity is within 300m of their location, but there is high variability among disturbance types. Additionally, there appears to be a higher frequency of disturbance resulting from human activities such as dog walkers and watersports than from hunting events. These results are consistent with the conclusions of the previous PhD project conducted by Catharine Collop in Poole Harbour, Dorset. Future work for this project aims to use these findings to parameterize individual based models to evaluate thresholds for population level impacts.



The importance of duck wing data

Richard Hearn

The importance of wing data for the monitoring and sustainable management of European ducks

Ducks are typical migratory waterbirds in that their effective conservation depends upon internationally coordinated management actions. A lack of such coordinated management opens up risk to the ‘tragedy of the commons’, particularly with huntable populations.

However, for most of the last few decades the majority of European duck populations have been increasing and a proactive approach to such coordinated management has not been a major priority. Now though, there is increasing evidence from national and international monitoring schemes that a number of populations are in decline. Consequently, there is now a much greater need for a proactive and strategic approach to monitoring and coordinated flyway-wide management. Much could be gained from this that would benefit duck populations and all those that care about them.

This presentation considers the consequences of declines in huntable duck populations and how we can develop ways of managing them more effectively. Effective management requires robust data on factors such as population size, trend, structure and the harvest. The process also requires long-term willingness to participate from all stakeholders.

Wing surveys are one excellent way in which to gather data on the age and sex composition of the population and the bag. An effective wing survey used to exist in the UK but ceased to operate about 20 years ago. Now would be an excellent time to reinitiate this, and this talk will conclude with the recent progress made towards this end and ways in which we can take this further forward in the years ahead.



Update from FACE on Brexit and future relations

David Scallan, FACE

The European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) is an international NGO, which represents Europe’s 7 million hunters from 36 countries. In doing so, FACE works with decision-makers and public representatives from a wide range of institutions and international agreements on issues that affect game shooting and conservation.

In his presentation, Dr. David Scallan, FACE Senior Conservation Manager, will argue that Brexit will not have a major impact on wildfowling in the UK. The extent to which the UK would be free to change its laws in the environmental sphere is limited by its international obligations e.g. under the Bern Convention, the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Leaving the EU, however, will bring some risks, in particular, for the continued hunting of Common Pochard because of upcoming changes under AEWA. The paper will discuss this and other issues in detail as well as some options for consideration.

The presentation will also refer to some new initiatives under AEWA to ensure European-wide migratory bird management and sustainable use. At the same time, it will argue that these approaches rely on the provision of good quality bag data. Finally, the presentation will discuss a successful project in Denmark to reduce crippling and the increasing problem of Bird Flu in Europe. It concludes by stressing the need for a continued partnership between FACE and BASC at international level to support and enhance wildfowling in the UK.



Online bag recording and species recording

Ian Danby, BASC Head of biodiversity projects.

This presentation starts with a short review of the bag recording function within Green Shoots Mapping and the success of its uptake amongst clubs with Crown Estate leases. It progresses to highlight the need for recording species from members to help bridge knowledge gaps in species data and promote better decision making. The presentation closes by asking for volunteers to join our wildfowlers user group to help develop the new functions to record, interrogate and report species records.


Duck and Goose Wing Survey

Don’t forget, we are asking shooters to collect duck and goose wings from each bird they shot. This will help us demonstrate the sustainability of our sport. Details on how to collect and send the wings to us can be found by clicking here.

We apologise if you were intending to bring wings along to the now cancelled wildfowling conference. Please package wings in a large plastic bag, inside a well sealed cardboard box and post to:

Matt Ellis, WS2018, BASC, Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham LL12 0HL


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