A novice’s foretaste of the foreshore
Richard Negus finds out how easy it is for a novice to join a fowling club and wonders why some of them struggle to retain new members
September brings an important ritual. Apprehensive children throughout the country are ceremonially dressed in strangely coloured, oversized new clothes. They are posed by their front door for a photograph; images are posted on to Facebook and off they go to their first day at school.
Despite my 40 years’ seniority to these nervous young tykes, this month I too will be returning to education. I shall be garbed in a brand-new outfit of many colours and my satchel will be tightly clutched, though the contents will be duck decoys and Magnum 3 cartridges rather than Pokemon cards and a Minions pencil case. My education will be muddier and my teachers will be earthier and I truly doubt my wife will take any snaps of me as I sneak out the front door at 4.30am to begin wildfowling school.
My path to education came about thanks to the BASC permit scheme, which provides a “suck it and see” opportunity for novices to try their hand at fowling. Luckily for me my local club, the great yarmouth Wildfowling & Conservation Association (GYWCA), is a keen participant of the scheme.
A phone call asking if I could have a go on the marsh led to my 4am wake up and a glorious morning on the east Anglian fowling Mecca that is Breydon Water under the knowledgeable eye of long-standing club committee member Terry.
My introduction to wildfowling comprised nothing more than watching wigeon flighting at nearsupersonic speeds miles out of range, retreating hastily inland to the safety of the seawall as a record high tide arrived an hour earlier than expected, and finally witnessing the watery rising sun accompany
Richard Negus’s introduction to fowling was watching wigeon