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Christmas Break Success

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Friday afternoon 21st December Conor and I broke for a two week break. Having already this season Conor had get a claimed numerous First's shooting Fallow Buck Snipe Woodcock and  Parakeets which included two spectacular doubles .

With a Full Moon due 23rd December which Conor was keen to try shoot Widgeon under the Moon ( something he'd never tried ) i took him to a local River  after some Duck having heard him shoot what was obviously a high Duck due to the noise it made hitting the water as my dog retrieved it i stopped shooting due to wanting to feed this plash . As my dog got closer i saw what i  believed to be a Widgeon but soon realized it was a cracking Drake Pintail now I've regularly shot this area for over 40 years an only ever seen one Pintail which was a Drake that i shot. The look on Conor's face back at the truck when i asked him to get the Widgeon out of my Rucksack will be with me forever as he took his first Pintail out. Saturday night saw use tucked into a creek on the Norfolk coast. Within minutes Conor's first shot killed a Widgeon although he has shot plenty of Widgeon this was his first under the Moon by 11.45pm Conor had shot 17 Widgeon an 7 Pinks . Christmas Eve Conor shot a Greylag with a O/U 20ga again he has shot numerous Greylag but had never shot this gun or ever shot at a Greylag with a 20ga. Throughout the next week or more Conor shot more Ducks Geese along with Fallow Roe CWD and Muntjac Deer.

 Today was to be Conor's/our last chance of a flight so local River to try and get a first Greylag of 2019. Having shot Widgeon Mallard Teal in the half-light but the few Greylag had managed to pass either side a single Duck sped by Conor's shot downed it into the River as my Lab swam back with what i took to be a Gadwall two Greylag flew towards use getting hid up Conor said take the left I'll shoot the right two shots as one had both smack into the River brilliant Conor's first Greylag of 2019 as Conor's was taking the Geese from my Lab who had dropped the Duck i walked back with my other young Dog who found a Female Shovler with a Big smile carrying two Greylag Conor's smile got even bigger as i passed his first Shovler.

So it came to our last flight of our Christmas break which we decided to go to the same place of this morning's success. As we arrived two skiens of Greylag flighted over more could be heard across the River on the gravel pits. Choosing our spot's i told Conor as soon as the Geese have gone get by the River 40 yrd up from me. Yet again Geese slipped by just out of Range. I was about to shout Conor when two pairs a single a skien or five Geese came looking to pass between us both out of range so i stood up causing them all to flare towards Conor praying inside i saw the gatepost turn into Conor who's single shot stuffed a Greylag . Taking his place beside the River he flared four Ducks which my single shot dropped a female Shovler by now several duck was flighting mainly high or to wide suddenly a shot from Conor dark shapes above me my shot some how connected something nearly hit me my experienced lab went for my Duck whilst i took the young one for what ever nearly hit me quickly he found the Duck for a few seconds i stood speechless as i admired ANOTHER First for Conor a fine Drake Pochard taking mine from the other Lab it to was a Drake Pochard telling don't you dare fire another shot you jammy so and so as we walked towards each other he said i know they was Divers ( he has shot Tufted Duck ) it ain't is it my comment of  "what" you should know what you are shooting at was not received very well but i followed it by saying yet again your having one Helluva season and a truly remarkable Christmas break here's your First Pochard which is a Drake. Cuddling his prize on the journey home the cheeky sod said if you can get permission where we looked today perhaps I'll get my Whitefront before the season ends my remark of that's if i don't shoot them tomorrow night ( I've got to take the Wife to Hospital so I'm not working tomorrow ) whilst your working got me a right tongue bashing from my Wife. 

 

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Very good report and young Connor is having a much better season than most I know.

Great read and look forward to more.

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What a fantastic experience for the youngen that many could only wish of experiencing in a lifetime. What a superb write up, memories forever!

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Nothing more magical than shooting under the moon glad for Conor well done mate something hel never forget 👍

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Thank you Gentlemen for all your kind comments.

Personally I'm over the Moon what Conor has achieved with shotgun and rifles as when i was younger i feel the opportunities was far easier eg i had numerous washes to shoot on the Ouse Washes where the shooting was unbelievable an most Duck species i shot regularly in a single flight Whitefront Geese again i shot each season on a regular basis. Times have changed dramatically over the last forty plus years Whilst Conor is willing myself being able I'll do my very best for him to keep achieving First's and ambitions. 

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Well done to the both of you, Conor by the sounds of it is on his way to becoming a consistent shot, It helps that he has a good mentor to teach him what is and what isn't in range of his capabilities. :good:

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Thanks Wayne 👍 

Jason the change in Conor's shooting consistently is remarkable now I'm shocked to see him miss if a bird is killable. 👍

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Well done to you both. Only ever seen two Pochard on my flight pond when i did not have the gun with me. Thought they had been taken of the list now?

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I would very much doubt if there are many ( if any ) teenagers up and down the country with a list of firsts and as many left and rights at geese as young Conor , then to put the icing on the cake , with never shooting a Widgeon under the moon getting 17 and 7 Pinks on his first attempt , truly amazing , when I was 17/18 I was still quite green around the gills and I found shooting under the moon an art that took me a long time to get used to , although we never had someone like your good self to tell us what we were doing wrong , through trial and error we started to connect with a few but never with a bag as big as young Conor's.

Seventeen duck in a flight equal my biggest bag of duck in a single flight , although my ones were all Pintail and not Widgeon and these were shot early in the morning before I went to work and not under the moon , you can never say never but I think it's a good possibility that around our way no one will ever get 17 Pintail in a morning before they went to work again , at the moment I doubt there are many more than 17 Pintail on the estuary ( which is now a reserve ) at the time of writing this post .

GOOD LUCK for young Conor in his quest for getting his first Whitefront under his belt and I wouldn't be surprised if it don't end up being a right and left , this was the only species of wildfowl that eluded me getting a right and left in my early years , I eventually got a right and left at Whitefronts nearly 40 years after getting my first single one , a long wait but well worth waiting for .

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Thanks Clodhopper 

Happy New Year to you John thanks for your comments.

Many years ago on a certain Norfolk foreshore with a setting Moon a good offshore wind holding the tide on the green edge shooting with my Youngest Brother we shot a very large bag of Drake Pintail along with 13 Whitefronts memories treasured never forgotten. I've seen reported on the Web 200+ Whitefronts knocking about in your area 😉

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12 hours ago, marsh man said:

at the moment I doubt there are many more than 17 Pintail on the estuary ( which is now a reserve ) at the time of writing this post

Double digit drake pintail bags are a reality on the Norfolk shore .. and in 2019 too🤗

Looks like Conor had a Xmas to remember .... I hope all of this is being recorded, as it’ll make a great book in years to come!!

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2 hours ago, Smokersmith said:

Double digit drake pintail bags are a reality on the Norfolk shore .. and in 2019 too🤗

Looks like Conor had a Xmas to remember .... I hope all of this is being recorded, as it’ll make a great book in years to come!!

As you are well aware, the numbers of wildfowl can change by the mile along the Norfolk and N / Norfolk coast , at the moment we have got several 1000 geese around the area where a few miles up and down the same coast line the numbers would change dramatically , this is also the same with the different species of ducks .

Regarding Pintail the numbers have mainly been declining for a number of years with the odd exception where one year the numbers might be slightly up from the previous year , up until two years ago I was regular shooting over 100 wild duck each season with Widgeon being the most common , there was a time where Mallard made up the biggest number of duck shot by the end of the season , during those days Pintail were shot virtually every season with some years better than others , now , by bad luck or the lack in numbers I haven't shot a Pintail for the last four years and when you consider four years ago I had one of my seasons with Widgeon in getting nearly 100 in a season and that year not one Pintail.

Here is a extract from the web magazine Birds of Britain.

Breydon regularly attracts Pintail , A peak was attained during the mid 1970s when totals approached 300 birds . During January 1996 172 were in residence . Pintail stay on this estuary from mid September until late April . But there are no other concentrations in the whole of Broadland .

Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve have been the stronghold for Pintail on the North / Norfolk coast , Here , reed fringed pools provided undisturbed daytime resting for over 500 ..........

So as you can see , it might still be possible to get double figures in a flight up your way , but I very much doubt you would get them down here .

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