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About Catamong

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  • Birthday 23/03/1955

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    Pigeon Shooting, also Clay Pigeon Shooting at grounds all over the UK and abroad, a bit of golf when I get the time..!!

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  1. I am useless with a rifle and usually end up doing most of the driving around the stubble fields, leaving far more talented shots to keep the foxes in check on the flatbed pickup. I am lead to believe that thermal is the way that most serious shooters are now heading, although I will miss the excitement of seeing that pair of eyes in the lamp beam being squeeked in ever closer to the moment of reckoning with the 30.06..! Cat😎
  2. I can feel your pain PC, I reckon 55 birds is about the maximum for a comfortable "over the shoulder" carry. I remember a Guy on here a good few years back, he was adamant that he could carry 100 pigeons in a black bin liner..! Good luck to him..!! Cat.😎
  3. A lot depends on if you are towing, or driving a Motorhome. I think Switzerland require a "Vignette" pass for Motorhomes and possibly caravans, costs about 35 Euros..? As far as I know, there isn't a Europe wide toll system, each Country has its own setup, some in Italy are now like the Dartcharge, i.e. pay online within a set time period. Ignore them at your peril, as they will come after you when back in the UK. Use your credit card at the Toll booths, quicker and easier, you'll avoid the long queues on the French Autoroutes of Brits wanting to pay by cash. Cat.
  4. Plaswads used for Steel loads tend to be signficantly longer than those used for Lead loads, you're doing a good job by picking them up PC.! I shoot over arable land that is already heavily polluted with all sorts of plastic waste which is mixed up with the "manure" that Farmers spread on their fields after harvest, they must source it via Local Authority "Green Bin Waste", as it is literally full of all sorts of plastic waste, mainly bottle tops, disposable lighters, biro tubes, shredded plastic bags and all sorts of small plastic fragments that must slip through the screening process. Cat.
  5. Yes, as Motty says, these are not Vining Peas, but Marrowfat Peas which are grown specifically for canning, (so I believe?), there are no Vining Peas grown in our area. They are harvested in Mid August, and are bone dry by that time, (I think they are sprayed with a dessicant, as they do with the Rape?). Back in the 70's and 80's the birds would be on the peas from the day they were drilled until the stubble was ploughed back in, but nowadays, their feeding habits have changed over time, and they will move off them for a few weeks as soon as the Winter Barley starts to ripen, as is happening now. I checked a large Pea field last Saturday, and there wasn't a bird on it, so I concluded that they'd moved onto some nearby Barley, which turned out to be correct, so I set up there for a few hours on Sunday and picked up 38. The birds were pitching into an area of laid crop, which was right next to a main road and therefore not safe to shoot, so I had to draw the birds upwind across the field using a rotary and flapper which worked well, also was very pleased to see that the Farmer had planted some very short, strong stemmed Barley, and I managed to pick up every bird that went down into the crop, real result.! Cat.😎
  6. Hi DP, Peas are a good draw for Pigeons, but in our area, (St Albans), the birds have just started to move off the peas and onto the Winter Barley, which is starting to ripen fast. They will come back onto the peas after the Barley is cut, normally late July / early August time. The peas have now reached their maximum growth height, and they will be cut around mid to late August time. Pea stubbles can be very attractive to the birds, so keep a good look out, as a lot seem to get spilled during the combining. Good luck, and keep some space reserved in your freezer.! Cat.😎
  7. I've always rated Wiltshire as the "Carlsberg" of pigeon shooting Counties.! Sadly, numbers continue to decline year on year in Herts, some say it's due to the vast increase in Red Kites, I'm not so sure, all I do know is that numbers are declining. Cat.😎
  8. Catamong

    Turtle Doves

    Agreed that the decline in Turtle Doves coincided with a big increase in the Collared Dove population, but they too are now on the decline in these parts. Swallows appear to be arriving later each year, and numbers of Swifts appear well down year on year.? Cat.😎
  9. Catamong

    Turtle Doves

    Yes, they were a common sight around here back in the 70's, but have gone into decline since. I was heartened by the large numbers of birds in the Hawthorn scrub at a big Clay shoot I attended in Northern France back in July 2010, but when I went back to the same ground last year in July, there was hardly a bird to be seen, very sad. Is this a natural decline in species, or is it the effect of them being shot in big numbers over North Africa or the Pyrenees as they migrate Northwards? On the other hand, I was amazed to see about a dozen White Storks sat in a stubble field just off the motorway between Boulogne and Calais last August, an incredible sight, I never realised they came so far North? Cat😎
  10. I'm now lost on this one I'm afraid, anyway, I'm off out to shoot some Munty's with Steel balls from a catapult, do I need to "put the shot upfront"..? Cat.😎
  11. Yes, **** law says that the birds are normally feeding on bare patches that are at the farthest point away from your motor, it pays to travel light, static decoys are just extra deadweight to carry. Cat.😎
  12. I've found that, generally speaking, the further North you go to shoot Clays, the cheaper it becomes, but the quality of the targets suffers. Northerners tend to focus too much on the cost of each clay, not the quality of the layout and the skill of the target setter. I haven't shot Grimsthorpe for probably 15 years, but it used to be a superb ground, and I do believe it's improved somewhat over the years. I would rate it in the top 5 grounds in England for Sporting. If you're a discerning Southern Sporting shooter, you won't be disappointed. Cat.😎
  13. As always, the subject soon goes "off topic", please enlighten me, what has shooting Duck & Geese with 32g 4's got to do with shooting pigeons over decoys with steel..? Cat😎
  14. I can well understand the comments that PPP has made, as his findings using Steel are pretty similar to mine. When I switched from Lead to Steel a few years back I was given a slab of "big bomber" 36g 4's on the cheap to try, but I was very disappointed with the results, even close birds were not being killed cleanly, and those that were killed were literally dripping with blood when I picked them up, I concluded that the pellets were, in many cases, going straight through the birds. I well remember dropping a young bird about 20 yards out, it came down apparently stone dead with wings folded like a brick, I went out to pick it up and it jumped up and flew away, this happened on more than one occasion that day. This would have been a very rare occurence using a comparable lead load, (I used to shoot Winchester Western's a good few years back, I think they were 34g 5's, a cracking if somewhat expensive shell, but it would poleaxe long birds with very few runners). I then switched to 32g 5's and 6's with pretty similar results, and mentioned to a clay shooting friend of mine, (Oliver Wilde, he now coaches at High Lodge, but was then full time keepering), he suggested I go down to a 28g 7.5 trap load. I was sceptical at first, but my ratio of clean kills improved significantly, and they are now my "go to" load for all shooting over decoys. Of course sometimes I will miss birds, (as Motty has witnessed..😧), but I do have quite a bit of experience using Steel for both Pigeons and Clays and I would recommend anybody looking to switch to Steel for use over decoys to give smaller shot a try. The photo was taken exactly a year ago at the "Classic Steel Challenge" in Holland, I won second in my class and picked up 750 Euros, a great weekend..! Cat.😎
  15. Westley, Some good advice given above, I would recommend a magnet from Shootwarehouse, with a 17ah battery. Don't bother with a 3 arm version, as the extra weight of a 3rd bird on the arms will dramatically reduce the battery life in the field. Batteries and chargers tend to be cheaper when bought from Battery Specialists online via Google, so purchase them separately. Make sure you get the correct charger to suit the battery, otherwise you'll cook it.! A hide seat is a must, I use the Bergara seat as sold via Teal on the forum, (with added padding as recommended by everybody that's bought one), don't go for a small fishing stool or something similar, they are too low to shoot from, you need to be reasonably upright to be able to take shots at incoming birds, not slumped down on a lounger.! I would also purchase a Clicker, (counter), as you need to keep a tally of birds downed, also a dozen or so spikes for dead birds are a must, all obtainable online. Flappers are also useful, my favourite is the FF5, (which I believe has now been replaced by the FF6?), together with a smaller 7ah battery and random timer, (don't get a push button remote as you'll be forever fiddling with it as birds are coming in..!) As for decoys, I don't bother with Crow or Magpie decoys, I use mainly very old HH or Flexicoy decoys, but if I am shooting over Winter Rape, I generally don't bother, as I find a magnet will draw the birds in well, and every bird that's shot is added to the pattern, either on a spike or a floater, (which is also worth investing in). Now that the drilling has finished, the only crop to shoot over currently will be peas, (in my part of Herts), they will be on the peas generally up until late June when they will switch to Barley that has begun to ripen and get laid, the problem with shooting over laid barley is that you will lose so many birds in the standing crop, which is never a good thing. As ever, doing a good recce the day before is vital, you need to find out exactly where the birds are feeding on the field, and if possible work out where to locate your hide, having regard to the wind direction on the day, position of footpaths, boundaries, adjoining horse paddocks etc, it ain't easy but it will come with experience. All the best. Cat.
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