Saturday, 9 February 2013
Stalham and Havant is the thick 'breeching rope' running from a shackle at the bow to either side of the gun's breech. The rope absorbs the energy of the recoil, so the boat does not leap backwards like a startled porpoise but just drifts back by a couple of feet.
The gun is held on a shotgun licence, which shows a reassuring amount of common sense on the part of the police. After all, a gun longer than most naval cannon these days is not going to be an easy weapon to use in a bank robbery.
The guy on the left kindly got in his punt and sculled off to the other side of the marina to demonstrate how they approach their target, lying down in the boat using a paddle. The small frontal area and matt grey colour scheme make the boat virtually invisible to the unsuspecting duck.
But actually shooting birds is only secondary. They want to keep the sport going especially in Chichester Harbour where, they maintain, punt gunning was first invented back in Victorian times. And good luck to them, I say.