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Shoots go ahead despite flooding from Storm Babet

Although extreme weather caused many to have to change or cancel plans, a number of shoots were still able to adapt and enjoy good sport.

Sorm Babet hit the east coast of Britain last week, making landfall particularly violently in East Anglia. Over 1,000 homes were evacuated due to flooding and an estimated 100,000 homes suffered power cuts.

The extreme weather shifted a variety of sporting practices during the worst of the downpour, but shooters are a resilient bunch and many were able to overcome the severe flooding.

Chris Rogers, a Suffolk-based deer manager, told ST: “In the centre of East Anglia, we suffered with some localised road flooding, and I hear a few shoots cancelled days on 20 and 21 October. I had a number of deerstalking clients over the period, but luckily they were all local with not too far to drive. Due to weather warnings, we checked they were happy to travel, which they were.”

“While deer were not willing to venture out into open fields, we still had some success in the woodland under sweet chestnut trees where the deer are busy hoovering up the fallen nuts.”

Simon Garnham, an Essex-based farmer, wildfowler and writer, told ST: “Our shoot near Harwich still went ahead despite the deluge and the birds didn’t seem to mind too much. We are very lucky with the amount of hardstanding we have, so other shoots may not have fared so well.”

“The wildfowling is a totally different story. I do all my wildfowling on the coast. Tidal inlets and estuaries like Hamford Water, the river Stour estuary and Blackwater estuary have seen an exodus of wildfowl.”

“The intense rainfall has opened up enormous marginal habitats inland. Stubble fields that have been flooded are perfect habitats for dibbling duck. The widgeon and the teal have all left the coast
and headed to these new environments inland.”

Richard Negus, a Norfolk-based author and conservationist, told ST: “We still shot on Saturday. Those old wild pheasants are hardy. The cock birds didn’t want to fly understandably, and we all got wet. The roads were lined with stranded cars but the sane drive tractors in these conditions, so we got about well enough”.