Friday afternoon saw me heading to a very large field of peas that JDog and I had shot a few weeks ago. I had watched the field on Thursday evening and having seen the birds using the flight line we had shot before I made my mind up to shoot the same position as the last outing.
My cousin Giles was invited to join me, he loves his pigeon shooting but has been very busy on his farm of late and has had little chance to get out. The plan was to meet at 4.30 pm. I had no dead birds for the magnet but as I called in to my brothers, on the way to shoot, we noticed a bird with a broken wing in his garden. This was duly dispatched and put in the decoy bag.
The weather forecasters had got it spot on with a heavy sky and occasional showers being pushed along by a westerly breeze gusting up to 30 mph.
The field itself is around 110 acres and had been drilled in two halves about 3 weeks apart. Having glassed the field on arrival, it became immediately apparent that plan A was not going to work as the line had changed and the pigeons were now entering the field across an old railway 600 yards from where I saw the line on Thursday. They were skimming in low and dropping down in the shelter of the boundary hedge. This spot was where the two different stages of growth met. Having watched this field for the last month or so I was questioning what I was seeing, was it a false line? Would the birds revert to the old line when we started shooting? In the end we decided that we had to go with what we saw and so made the 400 yard walk across the field to where we had seen the line.
The set up was both of us shooting over the same pattern, with Giles just to my left. The wind was from behind and the birds should enter the field from behind and curl back round into the decoys. And this they did in spectacular fashion. Whistling over our heads, banking round on the wind and coming into the pattern, battling the wind 3 feet off the ground.
The shooting was sporadic, when the showers came the birds stopped but as soon as the last drops where falling the birds came out again. Giles has 4 memorable doubles where the first bird was dropped over the decoys and the second was taken flaring high and fast on the gusting wind. We took it in turns to shoot and where both pleased with the way we shot, managing ever so slightly better than 2:1, which is not the norm, certainly for me.
After 2 and 1/2 hours of great sport we packed up with 47 picked and 3 that dropped over the railway that we didn’t managed to pick.
On the walk back I think the clay soil clinging to my boots was as heavy as the bag of birds on my back.
Thanks for reading.