Joining the Club

If you want to join the Club in order to go wildfowling on one of the best coastal marshes in the country, what do you have to do?

For many years there has been a belief that it’s almost impossible to join the Dee Wildfowlers but this is a myth. There is a waiting list but most people are on the list for only a year or so, indeed, many applicants are now able to join in the same year that they apply to the Club.

So this is the process from initial application to becoming a full member.

1. After showing interest by contacting the Secretary (see section on “Contact”) you will be invited to attend a committee meeting for an interview. The purpose of the meeting is for the committee to find out how much knowledge and experience of wildfowling you have so we can assign the right full member to mentor your period of probationary membership. The interview also enables you to ask any questions you might have to assure yourself that you have made the right decision. If both sides are happy, you’ll be offered a place on the waiting list for which we require a deposit of £50; this is to deter time wasters. When you are offered a place as a probationary member there is an entry fee of £125 to pay but the deposit already received comes off that amount.

As a waiting list person you’ll receive circulars and be able to attend all Club events but not shoot.

2. Subscriptions are due on 1st April and must be paid by 20th April but in practice it’s usually the middle of May before we close off. We then know how many vacancies we have to fill and we then contact the necessary number of persons on the waiting list and invite them to attend an induction night; this is usually held in early June.

At that meeting we will take you through everything that is involved in being a member and we will try to answer any questions you may have. You will be expected to pay the balance of the entrance fee i.e. £125 less the deposit = £75 and the annual membership subscription which is set in March each year at the AGM. Arrangements to pay by instalment are possible if necessary.

Induction

Induction night when new members meet some old hands.

3. As a Probationary member you will be required to take part in a training programme before you can become a full member. Wildfowling on the Dee can be dangerous and it can take many years before you can expect to become a proficient wildfowler and the purpose of the training is to help you through the learning process. The training scheme is divided into the following sections:

  • Marsh walks – there are 3 distinct areas of the estuary that we shoot and every summer we arrange 2 walks around each area to show access points, boundaries and hazardous areas. As a probationary, you must attend at least 1 walk in each area but the more you do the quicker you will learn about the marsh.

Probationary members on a marsh walk.

  • Tide Walk – The tides on the Dee are amongst the most dangerous in the country and we insist that new members come out for a walk to see an incoming tide so they can appreciate the power of a Dee tide.

New members await a tide; 45 minutes later they would have been under 10 feet of water.

  • Classroom sessions – we do 3 classroom, or theoretical, sessions when we try to cover everything members need to know about wildfowling. In September we do “what is wildfowling” when we cover the history of wildfowling and all the equipment required. In October we do “wildfowling and the law” when we cover all firearms and wildlife legislation, both UK and European that allows you to go wildfowling. In November we do “the Club” when we cover the Club, its Rules and why the Rules are there, followed by a wash-up session when we can answer any questions you may have after 3 months of membership.
  • Wildfowling visits – as a probationary member you can’t go wildfowling on your own and must be accompanied by a full member. Before moving to full membership, you must do a minimum of 10 escorted wildfowling visits, at least one of which must be with a committee member, and you must do a minimum of 1 full season so you experience everything a winter’s weather can throw at you.

When you’ve completed all this, which will take at least a year, you can apply to move to full membership and can then go wildfowling on your own. However, most probationary members, at this stage, say they will continue going out with a full member until they feel more confident – that’s fine by us. If you like wild environments, and want to learn about a beautiful and sometimes savage places, and believe there is more to life than watching television you might consider contacting us to find out more about the marshes, wildfowling and the conservation of this wilderness.

To apply for membership email the secretary using our 'contacts' page.