My last very short session out lasting just 90 minutes on triticale stubble on the hottest day of the year, taught me once again to choose more comfortable conditions in which to shoot. So yesterday with an overcast sky and fairly brisk South Westerly breeze gave ideal conditions.
This same field had far less pigeons on and more corvids, so I looked elsewhere for my few hours out.
Knowing that several fields of rape had been cut or partly cut (postponed due to a couple of days of rainfall), a discussion with another shooting pal (not Stour Boy this time, he was busy) it was decided that A would set up on a large partly cut 70 acre field of rape stubble and I had two other fields to look at.
The first was a 30 acre field fully cut, but not many pigeons down. The other, a larger 52 acre field partly cut had some interest with a reasonable line into the field. I watched for about twenty minutes and was just about to set up when a phone call from A saying that he already had about 40 and please join him if I didn't find anything better as they were all over his field.
I therefore quickly loaded the gear back into the car and headed for his field. He was set up at one end of a long hedgerow, so I quickly set up about 100 yards away just with the rotary upwind of my hide position.
The pigeons were coming to his rotary even as I was setting up.
However, having set my rotary upwind, it was positioned almost underneath some telegraph wires and I quickly realised it was having little effect as all the incomers were going straight towards the other rotary. Correcting my mistake, I very quickly moved it to a position immediately in front of and thirty five yards out from my hide. The change was remarkable.
We were now having pigeons coming in and almost hovering over each rotary. I'm convinced that these pigeons had forgotten or perhaps had not seen a rotary and were not at all spooked by them. I think that I read somewhere that after two weeks, pigeons forget the danger that can lurk a few yards away in a hedgerow. These pigeons certainly had.
Anyway, we were both getting regular shooting and A was on good form bringing off some really high shots, not that he had to under these circumstances, but just to prove that he could.
I on the other hand, tried to restrict my shots to those within my capability and chose the easier ones. There were occasions when birds that were shot overhead fell in the standing wheat behind us and after this happened a few times, I vowed not to shoot anything going in that direction. However, I just could not resist the temptation of wiping A's eye after he had missed one bird with both barrels which then was heading for the wheat. It was dead in the air to my first shot. This seemed only fair as he had done this twice to me already. Fortunately we picked this and a couple of others afterwards. I was using my little 20g Macnab Highlander to good effect, for me anyway, and used RC Sipe fibre wad 6s which I find give good clean kills, pointed in the right direction.
We had agreed to finish at 3pm when both of us had shot sufficient for our ready market plus a few for home consumption, decoys etc. I had set up by 1pm and was most satisfied to have had an eventful 2 hours which hardly gave me time to eat my Marmite sandwiches or a great big chunk of bread pudding kindly made by my daughter, knowing that I would not be receiving anything sweet this time out normally curtesy of Mrs Stour Boy.
I had 42 on my clicker and picked 36 ( 3 dropped out at a distance and 3 lost in the wheat)
A picked up 76.
All in all a cracking afternoon with some good distance banter, bird poaching and eye wipes.
Next time out will be with Stour Boy where we will share a large hide and hopefully enjoy the normal banter. However, with social distancing two metres apart, there may be some shouting involved as we are both rather deaf, so some of the conversation might just be a little confusing. We will see.