WILDFOWLING SURVEY – Lough Erne
The purpose of this survey is to complete an accurate account of the annual harvest of quarry species and wildfowling activity on Lough Erne to help monitor the effectiveness of the refuge system while maintaining the quality of wildfowling.
1. This Wildfowling Survey Form must be completed and returned to either Club Secretaries or LEWC Secretary.
2. This form must arrive with the LEWC Secretary before 28th February next. Failure to return this form will disqualify you from receiving a wildfowling permit for the following season. It should be clearly understood that the responsibility for the return of this form rests entirely upon you, the Permit Holder, and in consequence, no excuse for failure to do so will be accepted. Two sets of forms have been supplied in order that you may retain a duplicate of the completed form to enable the return to be made in the unlikely event that the original is lost in the post.
3. It is very important that you record EACH wildfowling visit even when no birds were shot. Such ‘NIL’ returns are essential if a false picture of wildfowling is to be avoided.
4. All returns are treated by LEWC as strictly confidential regarding the identity of the individual wildfowlers and the areas of Lough Erne in which they shoot.
5. Please use block capitals and ink/ballpoint pen when completing the form.
6. In the ‘Area’ column, please write Upper (Enniskillen to Newtownbutler) or Lower (Enniskillen to Belleek). If more than one part was visited then use a separate line
for each part, recording the appropriate bag information against each.
7. In the Flight Time column please complete one line for each Morning Flight (MF) or Evening Flight (EF) you went out to the lough (including when you stay out over
mid-day). Note : (TF) represents ‘tide flights’ and is not relevant for Lough Erne.
8. In the cartridge fired column enter the amount fired per visit.
9. If you have recovered ringed birds, observed colour marked or branded birds or anything else that may be of value, please note the facts under the comments heading or use a separate sheet if necessary.
10. There are four ‘No Shooting’ refuges on Lough Erne; Knockninny, Enniskillen, Castle Archdale and Castle Caldwell. Detailed maps for three of the four refuges have been issued with LEWC shooting permits. The Enniskillen Refuge area is designated to lie between the Killyhevlin approach and the Portora Lock Gates. Please respect the Wildfowl Refuge areas.
CONSERVATION – WHY DO WE NEED TO RESPECT WILDFOWL REFUGES?
There are four ‘No Shooting’ wildfowl refuges on Lough Erne, all exist to provide a sanctuary for locally reared and returning migrant wildfowl.
‘No Shooting’ refuges give wildfowl access to areas where they can feed and roost undisturbed. During late winter wildfowl accumulate the food reserves necessary for migration back to their breeding grounds. They must arrive ready to produce and rear offspring for the following year. It is a critical time as disturbance is most likely to have an impact when food resources are low and birds have difficulty in meeting their energy requirements.
In winter, wildfowl attempt to minimise time spent in flight, as this requires considerably more energy than any other activity. As wildfowling is the dominant winter recreational activity on Lough Erne, disturbance to wildfowl in refuge areas must be minimised. Prolonged and extensive disturbance from shooting causes wildfowl to expend valuable body reserves and to migrate elsewhere.
Wildfowl are an international resource. It is our responsibility to protect this resource by respecting refuge areas. We must allow ducks to return to their breeding grounds in peak condition, thus promoting maximum return of migrants the following year. If at all possible always try to navigate around refuge areas, keeping unnecessary disturbance to a minimum.
Sources: – Hunting disturbances on large shallow lakes: the effectiveness of waterfowl refuges by Evans & Day – University of Ulster; Human disturbances of waterfowl: Causes, effects and Management by Korschgen & Dahlgren – US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Certain areas of foreshore, which are not in Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure ownership, are closed to Permit Holders. Details are shown on maps, which are available for inspection from Club Secretaries and the LEWC Secretary.