THE CLUB TODAY
The Association shoots on the East shore of the Wash from the mouth of the Great Ouse heading five miles North East to the R.S.P.B reserve at Snettisham.
We are indeed very fortunate to be based on the East coast of the Wash with the backdrop of the great Sandringham Estate behind us to the East, and the thousands of acres of mud flats and saltings in front to the West. To be able to watch the sun setting over the sea on the East coast of Britain is a very rare sight indeed and one we treasure very much.
As I have already said we are fortunate indeed to be based on the Wash, not only do we have winter counts of pinkfeet geese that now exceed 50-60 thousand head but play host to the most amazing concourse of wildfowl and waders. Our wildfowling is conducted against a backdrop of vast flocks of waders and other, now non quarry species, that congregate against the saltings edge as the advancing tide pushes them into tighter masses before they are forced to flee to higher roosting grounds, either North East to the high sands of Snettisham beach or inland on the arable fields behind the sea wall.
The Wash in winter is home to internationally important numbers of Pinkfeet geese, Widgeon, Pintail, Shelduck, Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin, Black and Bar Tailed Godwit, Curlew and Redshank and a host of other species whose numbers are at a nationally important level. Not only that but according to official figures, the numbers of most of these birds has consistently risen over time indicating, surely, that what ever we are doing it is not adversely affecting the interests of the birds.
This assemblage of wildfowl and waders has of course brought its problems, human bureaucratic ones. The Wash like many other sites has come, very much, under the microscope of European and governmental scientists and has now been designated an SSSI, SAC, SPA, AONB, a Ramsar site and a National Nature Reserve to name but a few.
Currently we shoot tide and time, morning flight, evening flight, tide flight, moon flight as and when we wish - subject to Statutory exceptions, with a bag restriction of four geese per member (midnight to midnight). The unwritten rule being what you shoot you carry, and the shortest distance being approximately one mile from your car is restrictive enough. We would not wish to see desk bound bureaucratic scientists who have no concept of wildfowling - who cannot tell us apart from from duck shooters deciding on what day and between what hours on what tides we may or may not shoot. That said, in the changing nature of the politics of the country it would be foolhardy indeed not to worry for the future of our sport.