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About LGB

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    Cooking what I shoot!

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  1. Hedge Many thanks, more good advice which will be taken on board. I think my friend and I have found a "skinny" flight line at the farm this weekend. Had some nice ones, twos and threes committing to the pattern (at the moment it is a stationary pattern of half shells, with dead birds added as shot)... only trouble was we both shot poorly this time! Still a handful of birds for the pot and another lesson learned. I also borrowed my Boss' semi auto to try and despite a thorough clean the day before it was not cycling well, and was inconsistent. Don't get me wrong, I did not shoot brilliantly, but the bag should have been well into double figures comfortably but for the first cartridge not ejecting. Frustrating! Stupidly I left my O/U in the car a good way away and stuck with the semi all morning. Next step is back to the O/U firstly. Then I want to try sillosocks over our half shells (the half shells seem quite shiny). Also it was very apparent that we need to add a magnet and/or flapper to the pattern. Whilst birds committed fairly regularly, a lot more flew over and didn't really give the pattern a second glance. Funds permitting, hoping to pick these up before my next outing. Only my fourth time in the hide so it is all a learning curve. Cheers LGB
  2. Cheers Motty, will keep that saying in mind. Upon giving it some more thought I think it was as much about the fact that birds are still hitting the winter rape hard (as opposed to drillings) where I am in Essex. From above, I think the wind definitely went against me. Unfortunately the farmer didn't sow any winter rape for this year and I will have to make best with what he has sown. Oh well, still a lot to learn! Not seen huge numbers like 1000+ on fields where I have permission... put it this way would be very happy with a bag of 40. It isn't a huge farm and I count myself fairly lucky to have pretty much exclusive shooting rights (with a small group of friends). Will help out where I can. Thanks Blackpowder, sounds as though you had a similar level of frustration to me! Back out Sunday, will keep trying and learning hopefully.
  3. Gentleman I am very grateful you have taken your time to post these useful tips and comments. These will all be taken on board in the future. Old'un - it was more a case that the numbers were apparent when we set up, they were walked off and simply did not return. It was as though the wind was spooking/keeping them at bay. Also, despite our best efforts, the hide was flapping slightly so I wonder if this movement put any birds in flight off. J Dog - whilst we didn't see many generally, a handful of large (presumably older) pigeons appeared to be doing exactly what you described in a large oak to the left of our hide. However they did not drop in to the pattern and were out of range. PC - that is very interesting to note as there is a river that cuts through the farm on which I shoot. Whilst technically it is a river, the part which flows through the farm is more stream-like. Will always look to keep by this if shooting in high winds again. Old Boggy - Don't let PC beat you to the mark next time haha!! Thanks for commenting though. Out on Sunday and forecast for where I am is a slight breeze but nowhere near the levels of last Saturday. Hoping for a better day, looking to get over to the farm on Saturday with the binoculars for an hour or so. Stretch the legs and look to see where they are feeding and for any lines, then will set up accordingly on the Sunday. Thanks again all. LGB
  4. Cheers Lakeside, all noted. I think we saw the good numbers moving around, just may have been a little too late to the feeding party! My mate hit a cracker downwind within 5 minutes and we thought that would be the start of a good day... it just sadly didn't materialise that way. Won't stop me trying. Out again on Sunday so hoping for some better conditions, the right spot and a solid bag.
  5. Afternoon all, I am a novice pigeon shooter and fairly new PW member. I read as many posts as I can looking to pick up invaluable hints and tips. I had a free afternoon on Saturday and headed out to a farm upon which I have permission to shoot. I had been reliably informed by the farmer that he had recently drilled the fields and "pigeons were about". A friend and I turned up mid-morning, had a good stroll around the farm with some binoculars and to stretch our legs, in order to see where the birds were feeding. Unfortunately neither of us have the time mid-week to do as much recon (or any!) as we would like and so it is very much a "turn up on the day, have a look about, and choose what feels to be the best place to set up". We spotted a good 50-80 birds feeding on a corner of a large, recently drilled field. There were a number of large oaks in the corner of the field acting as sitty trees. It seemed as good a place as any we had seen and so we walked them off, set up our hide in 25/30mph winds(!!) and placed out around 10 half shell decoys in an L pattern. There we sat for four hours, mainly shivering and waiting, barring shooting the odd bird which decoyed or flirted with the pattern! Apart from a very slow drip of about half a dozen birds committing/flirting with the decoys over the course of the whole afternoon, the large numbers we walked off had disappeared. The wind picked up throughout the afternoon and was really gusting. From your experience, do the pigeons like to hunker down and avoid feeding when it is THAT windy? Any tips would be grateful. Thanks LGB
  6. Following up on my last shoot report (posted 22nd Jan), I was rewarded with a great afternoon's shooting on Saturday 26th Jan. Again it was a rough/walked-up shoot on the Essex/Herts border. I was shooting a friends farm, consisting of about 150 acres of mixed woodland, cattle grazing, ponds and bogs. My friend, his 1 y.o. Springer and myself were the guest of the farmer. We were also joined by two other gents who were complete novices shooting live quarry for the first time. Given that fact, safety was paramount and we were very much trying to introduce two guys to the sport in a safe, friendly, no pressure atmosphere. After a slow start meeting at the farm mid-morning, waiting for a late guest to arrive, we eventually set off around lunch time. The farmers brother dropped us to the far end of the farm in a vintage Landie (always an experience in itself) and the plan was to walk back to the farmhouse, stopping for a campfire lunch halfway through. The first beat was a mixture of rough ground with a tributary of the river Stort running parallel and left of us. As we arrived and got out of the Landie, a cock pheasant broke metres in front of us. A good sign. My friend and his Springer beat the right hand hedge/cover. One of the novice guns was placed in the middle and keen to walk and observe the first beat without cocking the over and under he was borrowing from the farmer. I was walking to the right of the tributary and the farmer supervised the other novice gun to woods on the left of the water. About 100m into the beat, the farmer called up three mallard from the water. They crossed to the three of us in the field, rising at tree height from left to right. Despite missing the first hen I shot at, I took a Drake clean in front of me with my second barrel. It was nicely retrieved by my friends Springer. Whilst the dog had been sent, my friend shot the third mallard, a plump hen, with his first barrel. It landed between two established trees and was a difficult retrieve for a dog who was only on his third outing hunting - however he made it look simple after being well signalled and it was some great work. The duck's were both my friend and I's first of any species so we were both chuffed to bits! We followed on through to the end of the beat and all that was in our way was a herd of cattle which were expertly moved on by the farmers blue heeler cattle dog. After regrouping, we then headed to our second beat. Instantly we were rewarded with yet more ducks lifting off of a pond to our left where my friend was working his Springer. Around a dozen or so leapt into the air quickly at varying angles, directions and heights. We spotted Mallard, Teal and Gadwall. My friend missed (what I think was) a Teal rising in front. I took a Gadwall, dropping it near my friend's position. I then shot at another for a left and right but missed! Another simple retrieve for the Springer who was getting the hang of it by now. By this point I was beaming! Apart from a cock pheasant going away which was too low and far to shoot at it, that was all for that beat. We passed through a woodland pass, past a lake, and stopped for a campfire lunch of toasted mackerel sandwiches, chocolate orange shortbread and a swig of my own sloe gin. Bliss! Our next beat took us into some reedy boggy marsh. Snipe were fair game and often spotted, according to the farmer. Around 50 yards into the beat, the farmer (who was not looking to do much shooting himself, more mentoring one of the novices) shot a screaming second barrel woodie which appeared over a tree line almost grouse-like in speed and flight. It fell into heavy cover but was successfully picked from a stream bank on our way back through. His second barrel going off caused a hen bird to lift straight in front of me (again!) in alarming fashion. I successfully dropped the bird, which was retrieved heavy mouthed by the farmer's blue heeler! Enthusiastic all day, but it makes you appreciate the softness of a Spaniels mouth! As my first shot went off, another hen then crossed me left to right from reedy cover. She too was shot for my first left and right - yet unfortunately as the Springer neared her for a difficult retrieve, she managed a surge of adrenaline and was away. Sadly we didn't manage to catch up with her later into the beat despite getting a good mark on where she landed. Our next beat resulted in some action for the novices and my friend, who was as much concerned with diligently working his Springer. A handful of pheasants broke out of some thick grass, a cacophony of shots rang out, yet surprisingly no further pheasants were added to the bag. Upon walking through, we kicked up a Muntjac which dove into thick cover and the farmer nearly then drove a huge cock pheasant over us. Unfortunately it just curled the wrong side of a tree line for anyone to take a shot. We were nearing home and had two beats left. One was a rough field with a hedge up the right hand side. As I had received a considerable proportion of the afternoon's shooting I volunteered to go into the least likely position for a shot. Naturally the only pheasant that rose on the drive curled to my right and behind me. I managed to shoot it first barrel and added it to the hen in the bag. We walked the remainder of that field up to an established hedge where the farmer attempted a mini driven scenario. He successfully pushed two soaring, curling hens over the two novice guns who gave it a fair crack... but unfortunately the birds flew off for another day. Admittedly, many an experienced gun would have been satisfied shooting either bird so we ensured that we made a case of telling the slightly disheartened duo. Our final beat was a marshy/boggy wetland where the farmer was optimistic of snipe. He wanted to work it as a mini driven scenario. Myself and the two novices would stand. My friend and his springer would join the farmer and his keen blue heeler, which worked surprisingly well all day, in pushing the wet land through. After only a short period of time, around 6 Teal shot directly towards us standing guns, and curling to our left. We gave them a salute but in truth they were very, very testing birds well over the height of an established treeline. Tricky. A widgeon took flight to the farmers right and we saw him tracking the shot only to pull out as it did not reach a suitable, safe height. The final action of the day was a hurried shout from the dog men as around 4 or 5 snipe jinked up and towards us. I missed a bird clean in front with my first barrel yet managed to connect with a second as it rose through. It dropped and spiralled down and unfortunately landed into a large area of blackthorn bushes. I marked it well (I thought!), we cleared a path through and 5 men and 2 dogs spent a good 10 minutes looking for the bird. Very sadly we were unsuccessful and with the light now fading, we had to call it a day and head back to the farm. The final bag consisted of 2 mallard, 1 gadwall, 2 pheasant and a pigeon. Yet but for some unfortunate luck we should have had two more birds in the bag. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant few hours shooting, in good company and was a fine way to show two novice guns the nature of the sport. They were safe, eager and respectful. My friends Springer worked excellently given its inexperience and it was a great way to end the season. On a personal note, it was a day of many firsts and I had the lion's share of the shooting. I am well aware it doesn't always fall that way so I will take this one for now!
  7. Thanks JDog. The "step-o-meter" on my mates iPhone clocked his entire day at 14 miles. I would say our little stroll would account for around 12 of those! Slept well that's for sure. I will enjoy the pheasant that bit more this weekend! Scutt - I agree, it was. The bag is always a bonus really for the 4 of us who are all stuck behind a desk mid-week and just enjoy getting out there. If we get a bird each for the pot generally we are happy and anything on top of that is great but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable if we don't.
  8. A handful of friends and I meet once a month during the season on a patch of relatively un-shot land, which neighbours an established wood, for a rough/walked up shoot. Last Saturday was our last shoot of the season. The farmer keeps the hedgerows fairly thick across the farm and there are two large copses of trees/small woodland areas. The River Chelmer trickles through the farm in an S shape from South to North - more stream-like here than its name suggests. As a result, the farm is teeming with an abundance of healthy, mixed wildlife - a decent sized proportion of which are of "wild" Pheasant, canny Woodpigeon and Mallard. Hare are regularly seen, as well as the rare glimpse of Woodcock. We were dog-less (farmer has some anti-social Jack Russell's and a rather large German Shepherd, so the Springer was left at home!). We set out as 3 guns and a spare man beating. Having worked tirelessly all morning we got to elevenses having flushed a number of birds near the farm's boundary hedges which naturally flew the wrong side of the hedge and didn't present a shot. We also walked along the river and kicked up a pair of Mallard a little too soon for them to be in range for my old AYA SxS hide gun. They escaped unscathed. During the morning we did flush one fair sized cock pheasant out of a dry ditch, covered with tall grass. He rose perfectly going away from my AYA, the barrels were brought up to touch the bird and as the trigger was squeezed nothing happened! The safety catch had got caught halfway (gun neglect!) and so I failed to take the bird. Although we had positioned the other two guns well, the wily old crosser was unscathed despite 4 goes at it. To elevenses, with nothing to show for our hard work. Buoyed by some home made scotch eggs and sloe gin, we made our way to the most established and historically fruitful "patch" of the farm. A patch of dense woodland. We had a gun on the left boundary for any escaping birds, 2 beaters through the woodland, either side of another walking gun. After a short traipse through, we were rewarded. A large cock pheasant rose in front going away and was nicely shot by the gun. At the sound of the shot, a second cock bird rose and quartered away to the guns left. This was equally well downed. The second bird was retrieved quickly by one of the lads beating, yet the first had dropped into heavy cover. Despite a thorough and lengthy search, unfortunately the bird was not picked, which left us all feeling a tad deflated after what was the guns first left and right. We toiled away for the remainder of the day and despite flushing many Woodcock (9 flushes in total, but off limits due to a lean few years in the area), we were nearing the end of our day. We attempted to work one more established hedgerow before calling it a day mid-afternoon. We worked 2 guns on the left side, and myself on the right. About halfway up a large cock pheasant quartered right and going away. It fell to the first barrel of my AYA, no mistakes with the safety catch this time! It was a hard day's graft for a brace of pheasant, but one which makes you appreciate any day where it all falls into place and the bag is plentiful. Our view is that it is never a day wasted in the field, and with one final walked up day in Herts this coming Saturday, it has only built up my anticipation even more.
  9. Google Scrofa Hunting and look to get in touch with a chap named Mark Boulton who runs it. He will point you in the right direction
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