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Devon Wildfowlers


The Devon Wildfowlers Association was envisaged in January 1953 by three hardy men made up of both shoulder and punt gunners, with the aim of preserving the sport of Wildfowling on the Exe estuary following pressure on Parliament that reduced the length of the shooting season at the outbreak of WW2. This first gathering took place, after evening flight, in The Railway Inn out on the marshes, now know as The Swan's Nest.


They decided to call a formal meeting via a letter in the local Exmouth News and the Western Morning News to consider founding an association - it took place in the Queen's Hotel, Exeter. Ten or so 'fowlers attended and a committee and officers were agreed that night. In those early days the Devon WA started to breed Mallard releasing them each year well into the 1960s. They also had set certain areas of the estuary aside as 'quiet areas' for the birds. In 1981 the Wildfowl Association of Great Britain & Ireland (WABGI) to which the DWA was then affiliated, changed its name to the British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC). Subsequently our Association added the word 'conservation' to its title becoming the Devon Wildfowling & Conservation Association.


Our Devon club retains at its heart the commitment to the sustainable and ethical harvest of natures surplus wildfowl, whilst ensuring conservation works are carried out on and around the estuary for the betterment of all species that rely on it’s unique habitat. All members are subject to a stringent joining process to ensure that they comply with the club rules, the BASC Good Shooting Codes of Practices, and the Law. The club has around 60 members and carries out numerous conservation activities on the estuary and surrounding marshes including, litter picks, bird counts and the BASC wing survey.

Representing land-based activity  and conservation interest DWCA are a key stakeholder on the Exe Estuary Management Partnership.

The DWCA representative on the EEMP is Scott Harding, Honorary Secretary.

As A Club
Hamburgers in Grill
Image by Paul Levesley

As A Club

We have a regular social calendar of events / meetings that allows members to meet old and new friends; these include quizzes, auctions, BBQ, specialist speakers, together with the annual subscription evening and the choosing of which permit area(s) one would prefer to shoot

As Wildfowlers

We provide the opportunity to shoot over thousands of acres of farmland, marshes and river foreshore. Where needed we supply education & guidance on access for shooting, species recognition, the Law, gun safety and local tidal safety / conditions.

Our principal activity of wildfowling is centred around the River Exe estuary with somewhat reduced activity on the River Teign estuary. The majority of our shooting is provided by leases over the foreshore granted to us by The Crown estate and by its very nature is traditional mud based wildfowling.
We do own and rent areas of inland marsh adjacent to the estuary where there is the opportunity to shoot wildfowl over splashes etc.

Most of our shooting takes place in areas that are internationally important for visiting wildfowl and therefore covered by stringent controls in the main within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). As such we work closely with Natural England(NE) to obtain formal consents from them for our shooting activities.


We split our shooting into a number of permit areas and members annually subscribe to any number of shooting areas of their choice whilst as you would expect limited to maximum numbers of permits on issue. As a member you are required to pay the club subscription plus a BASC club affiliation fee. This does not provide any shooting opportunity and individual permits require a further payment.

Conservation Work

Conservation Work

We have been involved with conservation both as a club and in partnership with several other local organisations for many years, particularly with our foreshore clean - ups around the estuary. We have invested significantly in the freehold and leasehold purchase of land around the estuary and created / cleaned drainage ditches and ponds, removed trees / scrub from derelict areas. Bird & bat boxes have been made and erected, traps are regularly set for the predators of ground nesting birds each season. Mallard 'nesting rolls' have been made and installed above water in eighteen locations around our marshes. Most of these activities require consent from / with Natural England, including the controlled grazing by cattle / ponies annually on our own marshes,

Devon wildfowl and conservation association land.JPG
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