Wildfowling in Langstone Harbour has a long history, and documentary evidence exists of wildfowling with firearms as far back as 1630. In the period from 1800 to 1945 the Portsmouth, Langstone, Chichester Harbour complex supported some 140 professional or semi-professional wildfowlers. Today traditional wildfowling is carried out on a far more modest scale than in the past, but nonetheless remains an important recreational use of the harbour.

Colonel Hawker visited the area in 1827 and in his diary described it as "without exception the finest gunning place I ever saw, but if possible more infested with gunners than Keyhaven". During the 1930's and 40's Christopher Dalgetty and Sir Peter Scott both shot the area.

Much of the early wildfowling in the area was punt-gunning, and there is a body of evidence to support the theory that the south coast harbours were the "cradle" from which this branch of the sport originated. Punt-gunning is still practiced in the area today.

In 1956 a group of far-sighted sportsmen formed the Langstone & District Wildfowlers & Conservation Association, their aim being to protect and preserve the sport of wildfowling, and the wildfowl and their habitat, without which there could be no sport. It is interesting to note that the word "conservation" was incorporated into the association's name nearly thirty years ago.

Shooting in Langstone Harbour prior to the formation of LADWACA had been totally unregulated. This changed once the association obtained shooting rights in the harbour and could control the "cowboy" element of the time. A code of conduct was produced and a wardening scheme implemented.

Shortly after its formation the association affiliated to WAGBI, which was later to evolve into BASC, an organisation that LADWACA continues to support to this day.

LADWACA is the oldest conservation group within the harbour and has established and managed refuge areas since 1963. In 1972 the association was instrumental in the formation of the Langstone Harbour Conservation Group, a forerunner of today's estuary strategy groups. LADWACA has also been responsible for the long-term wet-land management of a gravel pit on Hayling Island, which was recently designated a SSSI.

Over the years LADWACA has pioneered the use of bag-returns as a management tool, and also began practical field-trials of non-toxic shot as early as 1986.


The association has recently negotiated extended leases from its landlords and continues to set high standards to ensure the survival of the traditional sport of wildfowling on the south coast.

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