Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

have i been sin­gu­larly for­tu­nate in the ease with which i have forged a path to the fore­shore? are the ru­mours true that in some quar­ters “new­bies” en­counter some­thing akin to a muddy ma­sonic lodge?

to get the an­swer to this and many other ques­tions i con­tacted BASC’S wild­fowl­ing of­fi­cer mark green­hough for his views. mark was quick to em­pha­sise that i am in­deed for­tu­nate to live in wild and sparsely pop­u­lated east anglia. Some novice fowlers who live in larger conur­ba­tions en­counter clubs whose mem­ber­ship num­ber many hun­dreds. this makes places for as­pi­rants less read­ily avail­able and wait­ing lists can abound.

in some other clubs, prospec­tive mem­bers are re­quired to un­der­take rig­or­ous tests on wild­fowl iden­ti­fi­ca­tion from pho­to­graphic images or prac­ti­cal gun safety test­ing.

my re­search has yet to un­cover any rolled trouser legs or bared chests at mid­night, but this may be due to the dif­fi­culty in do­ing so while wear­ing neo­prene chest waders.

how­ever, the ma­jor is­sue fac­ing wild­fowl­ing, it seems, is not the dif­fi­culty in new­bies find­ing and join­ing a club but the clubs re­tain­ing their new mem­bers. mark’s re­search re­vealed that for ev­ery new mem­ber join­ing a club an­other one leaves. the leavers tend to be those who have been mem­bers for less than three years.

Why do they leave? Per­haps the re­al­ity of a wild, wet, muddy marsh with birds fly­ing miles away from your lo­ca­tion doesn’t match the 26 • Shoot­ing times & Coun­try mag­a­zine ex­pec­ta­tions raised by the books of BB, eric Beg­bie and James Went­worth Day? is it that new mem­bers find their loved ones get fed up with early morn­ings and ooze-cov­ered clothes lit­ter­ing the house? are the new kids ig­nored by the big boys?

More mun­dane

i sus­pect the an­swer may be more mun­dane. re­ten­tion and en­gage­ment hap­pens when clubs fos­ter a men­tor­ing ethos to­wards those of us who are new to the sport; equally the wild­fowl­ing stu­dent must get in­volved, ask ques­tions and be­come part of the team.

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