WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GO WILDFOWLING?

  If you have never been wildfowling before there is much to learn before you venture out onto the marsh alone. The good news is the DW&CA can help in many ways and can arrange accompanied flights for only £15 if you would like to try wildfowling before committing yourself to the sport. Once hooked, and you probably will be, wildfowling can give you tremendous enjoyment . The sunrises and sunsets, the different birds and animals you may see and the feeling of being close to nature  can be addictive,even when you are out in a raging gale with pouring rain battering you


Safety  Safety has to be the number one priority. Know the layout of the land,know where other fowlers and their dogs are and never, never take low shots. In the half light some of the modern camoflauge patterns can make someone almost invisible. Heavy wildfowl loads especially hevishot carry huge distances by shotgun standards so think about where your spent shot will land. Learn from experienced fowlers and enjoy your shooting..but please be careful


Knowledge of Tides and Weather. To venture out onto some tidal areas without knowing the times and height of the tide could lead to a dangerous and frightening experience, likewise understanding the effect of  weather on tides is essential. A free and useful 7 day online tide predictions can be found for the whole of Britain on Easytide


Know the Law. It is essential you know the law,both national and local by-law, research it thoroughly. Keep within the boundaries of the land you have authority to shoot on, never carry a gun onto adjacent land. Do not shoot over the boundary of the land you have authority to shoot on. When you are on the marsh you will be under the spotlight and any mistake could be costly both to yourself and the image of shooting.


Ettiquette and Sportmanship  Wildfowling like any other field sport has it's rules written and unwritten. Most are common with all shooting and are a matter of common sense.  For example do not stand too close to another fowler,there should be no need to be within 100 yards unless you have agreed it with each other. Don't cut off the flightline of another fowler. If you shoot a bird make sure you pick it up, but try not to interfere with anyone elses sport. Keep your dog under control at all times,especially around livestock and make sure you shut all gates. All the things you know already but worth repeating


Bird Recognition. This is an essential,many birds are protected by law and that includes some ducks and geese. The DWCA test all fowlers before permits are issued. Click here {bird quiz} or the fun page icon to the left to try our fun recognition test. 


A Dog  A dog is often the only way to retrieve the bird you have just shot and the DWCA has a rule that a competent retrieving dog has to be available when shooting is undertaken on it's shooting areas. This doesn't mean you have to own a dog, you can often arrange to meet with another member who has one, however a dog is wonderful company when you are out alone and can fill in the empty days of the summer when you can spend time training it. If you want to take up fowling consider a dog,one that will be able to retrieve a Canada goose is essential on our shooting areas. Seek advice if you are unsure


A Shotgun  If you already shoot and own a shotgun you may be able to use it for wildfowling as long as you understand the limitations of the gun and the ammunition it can fire. You may only use non toxic shot when shooting wildfowl and many game guns will not be able to take the pressures generated by some of the wildfowling cartridges on the market,especially those loaded with steel or Hevishotshot. Most wildfowlers use either a 3" or 31/2" chambered shotgun, there are many on the market but get good advice from your local gunshop before  parting with your cash. In general the semi automatic and pump action shotguns will handle any wildfowling cartridge available but be aware that some 3" chambered semis have been known to jam if with home loaded 3" cartridges with a rolled turnover closure. If you can afford a 31/2" chambered shotgun it may be worth the extra money.


Clothing    Recent winters have proved the weather can still be as cold as it was years ago and temperatures can be at their lowest when you are on the marsh, and wildfowling is often a static pastime.Thin multiple layers are warmer than one thick layer so consider your needs when dressing. Also anyone who is wet is going to feel cold very quickly so good waterproof clothing is very important. Invest in the best you can afford and think about the places you will shoot before choosing a camoflauge pattern. Waders are a good idea too. Chest waders are OK if you don't have to walk too far, you could overheat if you do, but they can be useful for crossing dykes or deep water. Thigh waders are usually enough when shooting on DWCA areas. Try the Tidepool Wildfowling Products website for your wildfowling equipment needs


Patience  Wildfowling is not like pheasant or pigeon shooting, the times you come home with more than a couple of birds are likely to be few and far between.The times you come home with nothing are likely to be many. Certainly you shouldn't expect to fire many shots on most visits


A sense of Humour  If it can go wrong there will be days when it will...big style. You have crossed water deeper than your boots and your feet are wet and cold. You are looking to the west using the last bit of daylight to see and two Teal have flashed by from behind and are gone before you can react. That's the only two duck you have seen all night and you still have to go back across that water. You go back across and find the water is deeper now and it gets you right in the vitals. When you get across two Mallard jump in front of you perfectly silhouetted against the lights from the city. The gun is up in an instant and you swing and pull the trigger. Click!!  You took the cartridges out to cross the water didn't you? Still,safety has to be the first priority and crossing deep water with a loaded shotgun wi