With the wildfowling season open ArdMoor’s Managing Director, Anthony Stodart, explains how to set up your pond and plan equipment and timings for an evening of duck flighting.
The anticipation of the wildfowling season opening on 1st September is always tempered by the knowledge that harvest will be ongoing on which affects planning an evening to flight a duck. Having picked a day, you can guarantee the sun will be shining and the combine will need to be cutting.
With the rubbish weather this year, we were able to be a little more confident in deciding on a last-minute flight with a couple of friends who live near enough to be able to appear at short notice.
It’s still warm in September so a light fleece jacket was good enough to keep the elements at bay and a cap to keep your face slightly hidden was all that was needed other than a pair of wellingtons, a set of ear defenders, a good torch, the dog’s lead and some cartridges with steel shot.
We have kept records of the time the first shot is fired for every duck flight we have had since the pond was created 34 years ago and, regardless of the weather, the first duck arrive within a minute or two of the same time, on the same day, year after year. We try to get down to the pond ten minutes before they are due in to allow time for a quick briefing and for everyone to get their bearings before the light starts to fade.
Having been putting some barley into the pond since the beginning of August and by noting the amount of feathers left on the water each day, one had a reasonable idea of what sort of numbers there might be around and we weren’t disappointed with a great mix of mallard and teal to keep things interesting with very different flight patterns and behaviours. Couple that with the fading light and you really have to have your wits about you.
We always stop flighting no more than 30 minutes after the first shot is fired or the first bird is seen. There is otherwise a temptation to keep going, particularly if there is a full moon but, by stopping then, we have time to pick everything up and leave the area allowing the duck to still flight in once we have gone. No change this time and we had a clean pick with the dogs working well before heading home to a dram and a late supper.
If you’d like to know more then read our introduction to duck flighting guide here.
If you would like to browse any kit that you might need for a duck flight then please click here