Wildfowling magazine - wildfowling waterfowling duck hunting goose shooting
How Much Can We Afford to Lose?
With the brent goose, curlew and lead shot gone, how much more can wildfowlers tolerate?

When Wildfowling Magazine was a printed publication back in 1994 - 1996, there were two campaigns that the magazine ran and which received tremendous support from our readership.

The first one, spearheaded by David Frost of the Chichester Harbour Wildfowlers, was to bring back the dark-bellied brent goose on to the quarry list. In the second campaign, Phil Gray of Whittlesey Wildfowlers and Conservationists called for the restoration of the curlew to the list of birds that wildfowlers could legally shoot.

The logic behind both of those campaigns was unassailable. There were no earthly reasons for continuing protection of those two traditional wildfowling quarry species (if, indeed, there ever had been) yet both still remain on the menu of forbidden fruits.

Then, of course, there was the lead shot issue. Once more there was absolutely no convincing scientific evidence to sustain the arguments for the type of lead shot ban that has been imposed in England. But the voice of wildfowlers failed to prevent crazy legislation being enacted.

The point of raising those spectres once more is that we should by now have learned a very painful lesson. Once we lose something, we have about 1% of bugger-all chance of ever getting it back again. The conclusion is quite simple - we must fight tooth and nail, and then some more, to avoid losing anything else that is precious to our wildfowling heritage. Whether future threats come from the British government, devolved Welsh or Scottish institutions or from Europe, we must be prepared to campaign much more effectively than in the past.

Along with thousands of other wildfowlers, I travelled to London for the Countryside March in support of fox-hunting (in which I have no personal interest). I would have done so again this year, had not F&M Disease scuppered that demonstration. But why were tens of thousands of wildfowlers, supported by quarter of a million other fieldsports participants, not on the streets of the capital city to protest about the threat to lead shot?

Future threats to our ancient pursuit could come in the forms of a restriction to the foreshore shooting season, restrictions on shooting by moonlight, further restrictions upon shotgun ownership and use or further restrictions upon what species we might shoot or where we might shoot them.

If we lose any of those battles, we will never regain the lost ground. We cannot afford to lose any more. We must be prepared to fight.

Recently there has been a lot of silliness expressed by people who seem to have a vendetta against the BASC or its senior staff. Of course the BASC has made mistakes in the past and of course it has not always fought for our cause as effectively as we might have liked. But it is the only real organisation we have got and we must support it.

What wildfowlers must do is re-established the prominence they once held within the BASC (and its predecessor WAGBI) and make it crystal clear that we will not tolerate any further attacks upon our sport. Let's help build a strong organisation that can really serve wildfowling, rather than sniping at it from the fringes.

For the widest selection of shooting and fishing books, Click Here

Gundog Training Broadsheets