Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I had a particularly disastrous experience duck flighting last year, and would not be too keen to repeat it (thunder, lightning, hail, sub-zero temperatures..). However, buoyed by my recent success shooting grouse over pointers, and now that I would actually have a gun in my hands, I decided to give duck flighting another go.
My father-in-law runs a small, informal shoot in Leaden Roding and on this evening, we were to be joined by five guests (with my husband and I sharing a Gun). With us would be Graham Seeley, who had black Lab Toby, who he’d only taken on a week ago from a dogs’ home where he volunteers, my six-year-old stepson Charlie (on his first duck flight with his Daddy), Phil Thurley, Richard Tattersall, David Lockie and David’s two young boys Charles and Scott, with Sue Hart a mile away on the smallest pond. We were a right motley crew, but within the group were some exceptional Shots, so hopes of a generous bag were high.
We sank into our allotted spaces around the ponds and, on a perfectly balmy evening, as the sun set, the ducks came
in thick and fast. Our two-year-old Labrador Boris launched himself into the water several times too many, nearly dragging little Charlie with him on one occasion (so much for gundog training school). After Shotgun had shot a few, I took over, and fired just seven shots, having been instructed by my husband to wait until the ducks were right on top of us, because of the three layers of feather on duck, and the fact that steel shot doesn’t have such an effective killing range due to its lighter density than lead. Despite these handicaps, I brought down a tufted duck and a widgeon – the two smallest birds in the bag of 21 mallard, 1 tufted duck and 1 widgeon, among a group of infinitely more experienced Guns. Not bad if I do say so myself!
And if you wanted to know, Toby behaved impeccably – Graham’s got himself a lovely little gundog there – the same, sadly cannot be said for misbehaving Boris!
Two bird roast of widgen and mallard to follow shortly!