Family business
Sporting Gun|October 2020
Family business
Tom Sykes reminisces about a 1 September fowling trip with his father and brother as they looked to kick the new season off with a bang – and a full bag
Tom Sykes

When my calendar signals the start of the wildfowling season, I switch my concentration from corvids to the foreshore and the dark, wintery months ahead. Wildfowling offers amazing freedom as it allows me to venture out, rain or shine, on any day between 1 September and 20 February in pursuit of some of the finest quarry the UK has to offer. The expectation of the shooting opportunities that lie ahead over the next six months is high as we await the first migratory birds to touch down in our area. There are plenty of resident birds, too, that can produce fantastic sport and an excellent harvest for the freezer, especially early in the season.

All relative

My brother, Jack, and I have a tradition whereby we begin the season with a bang by trying to bag a Canada goose or two for the pot. I believe that Canadas make fantastic sport, while providing a monumental amount of meat for your bang. I am always surprised to hear that they aren’t high on the quarry list for many shooters, as we believe that they are a wonderful meat source for a range of tasty recipes.

We like to hit a Canada hotspot on the first morning in the anticipation of bagging one of the wildfowl giants. Over recent years Jack and I have managed to rekindle my dad’s passion for the sport. My family has a strong connection to our local club, Morecambe Bay Wildfowlers’ Association, where we all serve on the committee. My dad, Keith, is now the president, a role once held by my grandfather. Dad now joins us regularly on the foreshore, including on our 1 September morning flight after the old honkers.


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October 2020