With the fore­shore in full bloom and the prom­ise of some long-awaited sport, 1 Septem­ber can’t come soon enough for Alan, but not all as­pects of those early-sea­son days are an­tic­i­pated in equal mea­sure...

Sporting Shooter - - CONTENTS -

No mat­ter how many sea­sons have passed, each 1 Septem­ber is looked for­ward to with rel­ish. In fact, in many ways, the more sea­sons that pass by, the more the an­tic­i­pa­tion grows, for there is a de­gree of cer­tainty about what lies ahead.

There are a num­ber of cer­tain­ties about Septem­ber, not all of which are looked for­ward to with pleas­ant an­tic­i­pa­tion! It will be hot – it is of­ten among the most re­li­ably hot months of the year – and that is the root cause of so much dif­fi­culty and un­pleas­ant­ness.

With the heat comes flies to pester you, and any birds you hap­pen to shoot. A long day on the marsh can some­times even lead to birds start­ing to turn green, es­pe­cially if they hap­pen to be gut-shot. Which­ever the case, they must be pre­pared for the freezer or oven without de­lay, for there is none of the late-sea­son lux­ury of be­ing able to pre­pare birds at your leisure.

If a long walk is en­tailed the warm weather brings with it ob­vi­ous prob­lems of in­suf­fi­cient wa­ter for both wild­fowler and dog. On such days the dog can opt for drink­ing from the tide, and it seems even with the of­fer of fresh wa­ter they will of­ten do so. Mine has an in­fu­ri­at­ing habit of gulp­ing salt­wa­ter as she swims! This, in turn, has in­evitable con­se­quences, leav­ing you to hope that any re­sul­tant sick­ness is done on the marsh rather than in the back of the car on the way home!

For those long walks trav­el­ling light is es­sen­tial, but al­ways re­mem­ber that af­ter dark it is likely to turn much colder. The ma­jor prob­lem with trav­el­ling light, par­tic­u­larly at dusk, is the in­evitable at­tacks from mos­qui­toes; some peo­ple seem more prone to this than oth­ers – suf­fice to say that mos­qui­toes love me! My jun­gle-strength re­pel­lent will work well, but if you miss an inch of skin the brutes will find it!

But there are plenty of de­lights, too: no need for gloves or muf­fler, or all the other ac­cou­trements that are needed for a win­ter’s day on the shore; less need for hot drinks or copious quan­ti­ties of food to re­fuel a cold and weary body.

Then there is the shore it­self. In Septem­ber it will be a colour­ful and fra­grant place where the salt marsh plants are in flower and, in the case of marsh sam­phire, at their most suc­cu­lent best. It is a pure de­light to gaze across the salt marsh tops to see the blos­som­ing sea aster and the more sub­tle pres­ence of sea laven­der.

Af­ter six months of an­tic­i­pa­tion, bleary-eyed wild­fowlers, with ea­ger dogs in tow, will make their way down to the fore­shore in the early hours of 1 Septem­ber to fire the first shots of the duck and goose sea­son.

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