Film ID:
NEFA 22294

PUNT GUNNING FOR WILD FOWL

1930

Visitor Tabs

Description

Amateur or educational documentary in two parts on the sport of wildfowling using manually propelled gunning punts in the north east, filmed off the Northumberland coast near Lindisfarne. The punt gun was a massive smooth bore gun.

Title: Punt Gunning for Wild Fowl

Title: Round the shores of Britain are a few places where there are dozens of square miles of tidal mud flats 

Panorama of the mud flats off the Northumbrian coast near the Holy Island. Closer shots of the mud flats with sunk wooden posts marking pathways. A wildfowler in waders strides through the mud flats using a stick, testing each step.

Title: These mud flats, saltings, or slakes, are the home of many wild birds.

Birds paddle around the pools at the sea’s edge.

Title: The Wildfowlers are after the wildest, and most unapproachable, birds of all – duck and geese.

Three wildfowler stand and chat at the edge of the mudflats. Portrait shot of a wildfowler in a beret.

Title: An outsize cartridge is required.

A wildfowler prepares his punt gun, displaying the metal cartridge construction for the barrel of his punt gun. Close-ups of him crafting the cartridge for the gun and feeding in Curtis and Harvey’s extra course grain for punt guns. He pours in the grain and compresses it in the barrel. Wadding is then pushed into the barrel and compressed. A sack of Newcastle firm, Walkers, Parkers & Co’s patent shot is displayed to camera. The wildfowler then pours it into the barrel, and again compresses it. Snipping the metal end of the cartridge, he folds it down at the base of the gun barrel.

A wildfowler looks out across the mud flats with binoculars, and up towards the sky where birds are flying. Ducks bob in the sea.

Title: Launching the duck punt.

A wildfowler unlocks his shed at the waterline and pulls out his punt gun. He and a colleague drag out the punt.

Title: Mounting and loading the two inches bore stanchion gun.

The two set up the gun on mounts on the narrow boat. Cartridges are fed into the massive gun. A brief shot follows from behind the gun mount as the boat bobs in the water.

Title: When the tide is out the burn is dammed to enable the sea to be reached.

The two wildfowlers drag the punt across the mud flats along a dammed burn, opening makeshift wooden locks to allow water to flow. They make their way gradually to the sea. They board the punt and use stick paddles to manoeuvre the boat away from the mud flats. Portrait shot of one of the men as the punt sails out further.

Title: The slakes are alive with sea birds and waders.

Travelling shot of the partly submerged mud flats from the punt where birds are dotted around. The gun pokes menacingly into frame.

Title: A heron.

More travelling shots of sea birds follow.

Title:

Ugh! – just gulls!

Seagulls fly around. The wildfowlers shift in the punt.

Title: Sailing down on a few young cormorants.

Young cormorants paddle and dive or fly away as the punt closes on them.

Title: One and two man methods of approaching within gunshot.

A solo wildfowler moves his punt along with his stick, laying low in the punt as he stealthily pursues his quarry. Travelling shot, gun barrel in frame, as the punt closes on flocks of birds at the water’s edge, which then take flight.

Title: Elusive duck at last!

 A two-man punt crew now float towards their quarry, one man manoeuvring with the stick while the other looks through the sight of the mounted gun. Travelling shot from the back of the punt, the two wildfowlers low in the boat. More point of view shots looking along the barrel of the gun follow.

Title: Aiming, elevating and FIRING!

In range of the wildfowl, one of the men fires the gun, which explodes, the punt engulfed in smoke. Birds take flight.

Title: Now comes the job of collecting the dead.

Close-up of a pair of dead birds laying in the mud.

Title: Some are floating away on the tide – a few cripples are attempting escape – the rest lie on the slake.

The two wildfowlers wade in the sea, pushing the punt, collecting the dead birds. Dead birds are thrown into the punt. Injured birds struggle and are killed by hand.

One wildfowler makes his way on foot across the mud flats, a smaller gun over his shoulder. Carcasses float in the sea. He takes aim with his gun and shoots injured birds on the water. He strides across the slake collecting dead wildfowl. He joins his companion at the punt, throwing a brace of dead birds in the boat, and laying down his rifle. The collecting continues. They heave the punt back across the mud flats, the boat filled with dead birds. One of the wildfowlers unties wooden boards from his feet, an aid to walking on the mud without sinking. One cartridge is removed from the punt gun ad a replacement inserted. The wildfowlers display the tidy row of birds now filling the punt. The two sling birds over their shoulders and work their haul back to shore.

Back on land, the two wildfowlers celebrate by swigging back a bottle of ale, smiling.

Title: Unshipping and cleaning the gun.

The punt is pulled onto the mud and the gun is dismounted. It takes both men to carry the huge gun back to shore. The barrel is rested on metal posts and cleaned. View down the barrel, now cleared of cartridge and gun shot. The two men now enjoy a cigarette after the hard work.

A bird is plucked of its feathers. A pair of roast ducks lie on a platter surrounded by peas on a table set for dinner.

Title: The End [over picture]