Despite the continued cold weather causing shooting to be suspended in Northern Ireland and Scotland earlier this month, wildfowlers around the country remain positive about their sport. The 14-day suspensions prohibited the shooting of wild birds including duck, geese, woodcock, snipe, golden plover and reared mallard.
This is the second time this year that temporary legal suspensions, introduced by each government in the UK on the 15th day of severe weather, have been put in place. Bans were still in place as this magazine went to press, but are usually reviewed after seven days, and may be lifted if the weather has greatly improved.
Wildfowlers in England and Wales escaped a ban,though BASC had already called for shooters there to exercise restraint. Shooting Times?s mid-season report (opposite) shows the effect that the weather has had on the birds, but Gloucestershire Wildfowlers? Haydn Jones remains optimistic. He said: ?Like elsewhere in the country, our patch is frozen up at the moment, but we?re still hoping for a reasonable season.?
Though the ban only concerns duck and waders, the cold weather has also affected other wild gamebirds. Shooting Times?s Upland keeper Lindsay Waddell said: ?It?s worse than last year because it?s come sooner. If this weather carries on it will cause severe problems for wildlife such as blackgrouse and wild greys following the losses of last winter.?
The rest of this article appears in 22nd December issue of Shooting Times.
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