Shooting and wildfowling
Wildfowling is the pursuit of species such as duck and geese, using a smooth bore shotgun, either on foot or under certain conditions by boat over foreshore.
Wildfowling is largely a solitary activity and bag sizes per visit rarely number more than two or three birds. Most wildfowling takes place around dawn and dusk.
Wildfowler hunters need certain qualities to be successful. They need to be patient. Wildfowl hunters also need to quickly spot whether a potential quarry (a bird that you intend to shoot) is legal to hunt or not, sometimes in poor visibility. You need to do some research to become familiar with what constitutes a legal quarry.
The British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has downloadable information to help you become knowledgeable about what is legal and illegal in wildfowling.
Using lead shot is prohibited
In Northern Ireland shooting with lead shot on or over wetlands is prohibited. Lead shot can poison water fowl like ducks, geese and swans. While feeding, birds swallow the spent lead shot, which has fallen onto the wetlands they inhabit. This damages a bird's nervous system, liver and kidneys. It also damages the gizzard preventing a bird from feeding. Many birds die after ingesting lead shot.
A sustainable harvest of waterfowl is perfectly acceptable, but the loss of ducks, geese and swans due to lead poisoning is not – particularly when some species are under increasing pressure from other factors. It makes sense to ban the use of lead shot on and over wetlands, as it causes unnecessary losses.
'Protecting waterfowl from lead shot in wetlands' has advice on identifying wetlands, alternatives to lead ammunition and more general shooting information.