In fact one well known field sports celebrity said this of our club: “Woodspring Pigeon Shooting & Wildfowling Club are a gem in the sea of rough with all its members are true ambassadors, proving that Field Sports & Conservation walk hand in hand”. In addition your efforts have not gone unnoticed in the wider world too as we have been nominated for the Countryside Alliance (rural Oscars) for what we do with the rest of the volunteers at Pass It On Young Sports. Wow what can I say but a great honour for Pass It On Young Sports to be nominated for the awards both North and South and in many different categories. As a shooting club we not only fully support Pass It On Young Sports but also the whole club volunteers manpower for them and for us as a club associated with them let’s just say I am a very proud Chairman of you all right now.
All our conservation projects have paid off in a big way this year. A local senior school did a biology study on some of our wildfowling lands and they found it to be 18 times better for wildlife fauna and insects than anything else in the local area. So I say that’s a massive triumph showing yet again field sports and conservation truly do walk hand in hand and thus proving we live and breathe our shooting clubs motto “FINDING THE BALANCE”. We have always punched way above and beyond our weight in this little club and I say long may we continue to do just that.
Crop & Livestock Protection
Our duties this year have been at an all-time high with an up surge in the mink population of late as well as foxes and the nice man in a white van dropping off town caught foxes next to free range chicken farms and lambing fields. We have had a massive success both day and night and I think this is another reason we are gaining some very high profile sporting rights for the club
Keeping the pigeons off the crops kept us very busy and we have had some fantastic bags this year both over the decoys and roosting in our woods. Surprisingly the air rifle section in the shooting club have had some fantastic results with the pigeons on crops where a shotgun was unable to be used and had some very impressive bags of wood pigeon and corvids too. Keeping the rabbits under control as been at an all-time high especially on the many sports grounds the club looks after and again the air rifle section have done an amazing job.
Wildfowling we are having a simply brilliant wildfowling season and those Lads that make it out in the harshest of weathers have been rewarded with magical flights of duck and geese. With stunning sunrises and sunsets I think this is on par to be the best season yet and with our new ponds and access to the fore shore this truly is a season to remember.
The snipe bogs are teaming with them and as always prove to be a little too fast for some of the club boys and the Woodcock, man they are coming out of our woods like driven pheasant. The Mallard, Teal and Widgeon are all making up good numbers and some magnificent flights.
And what can I say about the famous Woodspring Pigeon Shooting & Wildfowling Club Christmas Dinner. We had guests from all over from as far afield as Buckinghamshire as well as local farmers, clubmen with their families and young sports a plenty.
The meal and venue was put on by one of the shooting clubs sports grounds that we look after doing the vermin control. The food was out of this world to say the least and not a plate went back with food on it apart from the bones of the lamb shanks.
After the three course meal we had the trophy presentation and everyone from the old guns to the young sports were eager to see if they had won a trophy. The results for this year were as follows;
- Top Clay Shot - Bob (The Vice Chairman)
- Top Marksman – Richard
- Best Pigeon Shot – Ryan
- Top Gun Trophy for Most Birds Bagged – Tom
- Sportsman Trophy – Ross
- Clubman Trophy - Bob (The Vice Chairman)
- Highest Attendance – Tom
- Most Improved Shot – Dan
- Marc Ray Memorial Trophy - Chris
- Wood Spoon for Least Amount Shot - Bob (The Vice Chairman)
- Bigs Girls Blouse – Ryan
- Clangers – Richard
- Young Clangers – Alfie
By far the stars of the evening were the young shots I have already mentioned Alfie, the others were as follows;
- Young Clubman Trophy – Connor
- Young Sportsman Trophy – Jake
- Young Shot Award – Emily
- High Bird Trophy – David
Emilie who scooped up the coveted and sought after Young Shot award as all the boys cheered her on with a hooray and clapping she was also presented. She was also congratulated for passing her marksmanship course at a recent Pass It On Young Sports marksmanship event.
The high bird trophy is normally reserved for the adults only, however David scooped it up with a remarkable shot with an air rifle (under supervision of course) dropping a rabbit in front of his older brother Connor who had already missed it. I was supervising him and at that point I knew there was only one clubman I could award this trophy to.
I think his beaming smile and sheer look of shock on his face said it all along with a rousing cheer from the entire room as the other young sports lined out clapping as he came to the front to be presented with his trophy. I must admit I did have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye presenting this one as it’s the first time in the clubs history a young sport had won an adult trophy and in fine Woodspring style too.
As you can tell I love teaching the young sports and the evening was not over yet.
A further award was presented to young sports Emilie/Connor/David & Jacob for their outstanding roll in representing the shooting club and volunteering all year helping at The Pass It On Young Sports taster days and events. Yet again a mighty cheer went up from the entire room for these inspirational Woodspring Young shots. Never to leave a young shot out, Young Sports Tyler,Oscar & Riley were presented with young sport Jack Pyke cammo caps for their part in the young sports programme.
We then held a sporting raffle with some top prizes being donated by Air Arms/Jack Pyke/Airgun Gear TV/Basc/NGO and oh so many more, too many to name,
The young sports danced the night away to young sport Emilie on her piano having a dance competition as the rest of the Woodspring Pigeon shooting Club and guests chatted and enjoyed the evening.
For the calendar are the usual boxing day meet and the New Year’s Day clay shoot of Farmers V Shooting Club. This is always a well-attended event with hot soup, bacon rolls, steaming coffee and lots of friendly banter. As always we will be having our simulated pheasant shoot which has now become quite a tradition for the farmers and shooting club and it is fast approaching our ten year Anniversary of doing it. I think we may have to make next year a big one and I will put my thinking cap on to see if we can make this an even bigger special occasion than normal. Maybe a wild boar roast or something.
Well I suppose all that’s left to say is “May I wish you all a very merry Christmas and an even better, healthier and prosperous New Year”.
Rob Collins (Chairman)
Woodspring Pigeon Shooting & Wildfowling Club
Never forget our Moto it’s all about FINDING THE BALANCE