Monday, 4 May 2009

Sam Devlin's gun punt

Sam Devlin is famous for his Oarling, a 17ft sliding seat dory, and he has designed a lot of practical but stylish cabin cruisers that I lust after as well.
He is also a wildfowler and has designed a couple of duck punts even though the market for this sort of boat must be tiny.
His Sculldugery design is aimed at the tiny number of wildfowlers who still like to sneak up to their prey with a sculling oar in the old-fashioned way - look carefully at the photo above and you will see the oar protruding through the transom. Devlin describes how it is used thus:
The boat is moved slowly and smoothly through the water towards raft of waterfowl with the hunter lying in prone position in the bottom of the boat. Propulsion is a single oar that extends out through the stern (transom) of the boat and thru a waggling motion the boat moves silently and smoothly forward. When the raft of ducks is closed to a shooting distance the hunter then sits upright in the boat, ostensibly at this time the ducks take off in flight and with some fine shooting a limit of ducks can be paddled or sculled out to and picked up. If you haven't limited out with the first batch of shooting then the whole process starts all over, first the sneak-up, then the shooting. It is a slow and methodical process, and I must state here that it is not the kind of hunting for everybody, you must be patient and careful, but when the success ratio is good this is the closest thing to market shooting that exists in today's hunting world.

Typical - hunting strategy is now designed to bag your legal limit in a reasonably short time and then go home. Though I suppose this is preferable to the olden days when hunting strategy was to use a bloody great cannon with a couple of pounds of black powder behind a load of scrap iron to create carnage with one shot.

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