The fifth clay, a floating crosser coming from left-to-right, was intended to look like a duck scouting or skirting the edge of a pond. Graham’s advice: “This isn’t a quick target and using a gentle pull-away on this clay should work well. Most decoyed duck at dusk are shot at fairly close range.”
“Routine is one of the vital aspects of becoming a good Shot”
So, did Graham’s range of clays and advice work? Jeremy and Giacomo, accompanied by gamekeeper Bill Smith, headed for their pond with the sun not quite starting to sink. Jeremy had some excellent rubber decoy ducks that were hollow with an open, weighted ring in their bases. When dropped on the pond they filled with air to form a full- bodied decoy that floated merrily on the water. They folded flat when not in use. With the decoys deployed, it was time to set up in the hides and wait to see what dusk brought. Flights of cormorants and some geese passed in the distance and three mallard that had risen when they arrived wheeled high overhead. Dusk came and the birds were late arriving. Finally they came, flickering in the half light. Giacomo scored a teal and mallard, Jeremy a teal, some single mallard and the finale of two shots followed by two thumps in the darkness — a fine left and right at mallard. For novices, their first outing to a flightpond can be daunting. The darkness and unfamiliarity is unsettling. It is important to know exactly where other Guns and their hides are for safety reasons. Also, dress according to the weather and, as Graham advises, if possible practise at a clay ground and don’t rush your shots.