I’ve been trying to write this post for a while, but I’ve been struggling with exactly what to say. I had a bit of a funny morning, leading up to the course. I had booked the whole day off work with an idea to have a relaxing morning to myself and be able to have plenty of time before the half 2 start time. But this was one of these days when things just didn’t want to go to plan. The start time moved forward to half one (a good thing given how much was being fitted into the course), which gave me less time than I planned. I spent the morning doing lots of jobs I never get around to in the week normally, and took the opportunity to take the puppy for a walk in the daylight. She had an amazing time playing with a 17 week old collie puppy, making friends with a horse that kept following her,
and rolling in muddy puddles,
which meant a bath was necessary, and time slipped away from me.
I’d booked on this course with BASC back around June time and had been waiting somewhat impatiently for it to come round. While I go out wildfowling regularly, I’ve never been to a flight pond.
Thankfully I had planned enough spare time that when I left 20 minutes later than I intended, I was still able to arrive on time!
After a presentation from Stephen Sellers and Terry Behan covering a wide array of items, from bird identification, cartridge types and choke sizes, we were given the opportunity to pluck ducks and was given a demonstration on a very tasty way to cook them.
It was getting dark quickly, and there was some mist bringing the light levels down as well, so we headed out to the pond with some haste, and were all paired up with our mentors. I was paired with the fascinating Peter Theobald (who kindly gave all of us, and signed, a copy of his brilliant book, The Woodpigeon, The Ultimate Quarry). Peter talked me through what to expect should ducks come in and explained that unlike with wildfowling, any ducks that visited would definitely be looking to land, and so to be patient and let them circle round a few times if necessary.
It was a still evening, not the best for flighting, and Peter kept me entertained with shooting stories from South Africa as well as closer to home. Eventually a few mallard arrived and started to circle the further end of the pond. Unfortunately, shots was taken a little early at the other end of the pond, and the ducks headed off to find somewhere else for the night. A moorhen landed nearby, giving some interest to the stillness of the evening.
A few more ducks came and went, leaving me with no opportunities. And then it was dark and time was called.
We headed back to warm up, have a quiz on what we learned from the presentation, and finished up with an amazing dinner cooked by Peter’s wife.
Altogether, it was a great day. It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to bring home a duck, but part of the joy of wild quarry is that you don’t know what is going to happen.
There is another course coming up (see here), and I would definitely recommend going.