On Sunday 9th January 2022, Chichester Wildfowlers Association, in partnership with BASC, proudly held their first Young Shots Introduction to Wildfowling day at North Mundham Village Hall. The day saw five young shots, accompanied by their parent/guardian attend a morning talk and introduction to wildfowling followed by an evening flight with a CWA member.

Arriving at 11am, the Young shots gathered in the village hall and introductions were made. Michelle Nudds of BASC kicked of the proceedings with a brief introduction to BASC, wildfowling and Chichester Wildfowlers Association. This was followed by an excellent safety talk focused on the dangers of the marsh environment and the challenges presented to the sportsperson who ventures out onto the mud.

Following the initial introductions, the young shots were next briefed on suitable guns for wildfowling and the legal requirement to use non-toxic shot. The guides checked guns to ensure they were steel shot proof and an enthralling conversation developed around the merits of non-lead alternatives across a breadth of shooting disciplines. Naturally the conversation turned to wildfowling equipment and Mike Holden gave a brief overview of what was needed for a typical trip onto the marsh. Lots of interest followed, particularly around decoying ducks and how equipment had changed and developed over many years.

Quint McKellar kindly gave a captivating talk on the history of Chichester Wildfowlers. This had both the young shots and parents engrossed in many aspects of the club’s long history as well as the history of wildfowling itself. It was truly heartening to see the enthusiasm from the young shots as Quint shared tales of old about wildfowlers getting stuck in muddy gutters and memorable flights he has experienced over the years.

After lunch, the Young Shots were spoken to about bird identification and the importance of being able to identify quarry and non-quarry species. This covered both visual identification by day, but also touched on and emphasised the need for wildflowers to be able to identify quarry in poor light and darkness and how this can be achieved. To everyone’s astonishment and delight, one of the young shots successfully identified every species, quarry and non-quarry, he was shown both in the classroom and later out on the marsh. It was truly wonderful to see such knowledge from a 10-year-old and certainly one for the future of wildfowling!

The day ended with an evening flight whereby each young shot, accompanied by their parent/guardian, was taken out onto the marsh with a CWA guide to experience the exhilaration of wildfowling. Unfortunately, the weather was against us, but all the youngsters saw plenty of duck and other wildlife and a couple were lucky enough to have their first shots at wild ducks although sadly none ended up in the bag on this occasion.

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