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GingerCat

Pesky winter rape and the curse of flock

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    So we went out to a large field of rape, there were literally thousands of pigeons feeding. I actually wondered if I had enough cartridges with me.

    I need not have worred too much. We walk the birds away, they went to a wood half a mile or so away and then fed in the bottom corner of the field.

    We set up where they had been and got ready for the no doubt stupendous volley of shots to follow....... They didn't.

    Those pesky birds just went off else where.

     

    No worries we can pack up, travel light to another wood and intercept them as they fly between a strip of game cover they seem to like and some rape.

     

    Only they didn't. They just ******** off again.

     

    What am I doing wrong (apart from trying to shoot on winter rape). Has the almihhty jdog winter rape extraordinaire got any tips (or anyone else for that matter).

     

    I'm all ears.

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    Sadly I have no idea how to shoot those large flocks other than to wait for a good wind. You might do better in the fog tomorrow.

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    Same with me today, smashing our rape to bits, just walking them off and an hour for 15 on the wing is enough to make me feel I've done something.

     

    I'll be putting kites out and having a Hawkman to deal with winter pigeons (locusts) tomorrow.

     

    The flocks here are astounding, I've never managed good amounts shot, unless I invest in 300 decoys.

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    As the man above says,its not easy.

     

    Edit to say,the man above the man above.

     

    I rarely try and shoot the big flocks or use deeks and stick to sitty trees and flight lines at this time of year.Pick a good day of wind and disturbance is pretty minimal to the flight and can make for some great sport.

    We have huge numbers here just now and the next wild day ill be trying for a good bag.

    Edited by sako751sg

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    That's the thing it was still which I know is far from ideal however there was no real flightline.

    Birds were appearing from all over and the flock went off in a general direction but a flightless? Nope.

    I wanted a windy day and may well have a pop tomorrow when the boiler chap has been.

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    I still prefer to arrive at the fields before the pigeons at this time of year.

     

    Yes, me too, although I wouldn't bother going out in the current weather conditions of fog, with no wind, it's a total waste of time.

     

    If you do a proper recce the day before, work out exactly where you will put your hide and get set up before first light, you can very often have a couple of hours very brisk sport, particularly if you have plenty of movement in the decoy pattern, with as many rotary's and flappers as you can get set up.

     

    They've not yet started on the rape in any numbers around here, they're still scoffing acorns and beech mast, with a few on Ivy Berries and Hawthorn berries.

     

    As regards GingerCat's dilemma, you've got to have a plan in place to try and block off their alternative feeding locations, either with other guns, or banger ropes.

     

    Easier said than done, particularly if you don't have permission on adjoining farms, but, rest assured, the birds will sod off elsewhere to feed on nearby fields of rape if you don't have a plan in place to stop them... :yes:

     

    Cat.

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    Blocking alternate feeding sources is not going to happen. There's thousands of acres of surrounding land stuffed with game shoots and rape.

    I think I'll have the odd wonder round till spring.

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    I still prefer to arrive at the fields before the pigeons at this time of year.

    +1, best advice, if you get there before the birds you can sometimes get a good first couple of hours but large flocks feeding together are notorious for disappearing as soon as you disturb them, I prefer February and March as the main flocks start to break up, you are more likely to get a steady trickle of birds all day rather than all or nothing,

    If we could predict where they would be at any given time we would all be getting large bags, my average bag is around 25, a good day would be 50, but I'm happy with that ,I don't want to be dragging hundreds of birds back to my car and paying out for all those cartridges.

    My aim is to get a few birds, keep them off the crop, have an enjoyable day out and last but not least, leave plenty for future days out :yes::yes:

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    nothing out the ordinary they are a pain in backside 90% of the time of the time on winter rape we all go through it but the other 10% they will play ball and you get a bag of 20 to 60 rather than a dozen or so

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    they are not showing any interest on our rape fields yet but have to turn up and show interest keeps farmer happy but as others have said shooting over rape very hit and miss but nice to be out in the country side

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    Day before yesterday sat under a tree for a few hours good sport they were flying in 50 .to 70 a time ..from 12 till 3 today pack muled all my gear same spot flappers decoys the works not had a shot off..not looking forward to packing up and carrying all the gear back to car will give it another hour.....shotgun shooting is a dark art

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    I suspect i will be in a similar position on new years day, but the wind is picking up according to the bbc so who knows. At the very least a nice way to begin the new year

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    psycho, on 30 Dec 2016 - 1:46 PM, said:

    Day before yesterday sat under a tree for a few hours good sport they were flying in 50 .to 70 a time ..from 12 till 3 today pack muled all my gear same spot flappers decoys the works not had a shot off..not looking forward to packing up and carrying all the gear back to car will give it another hour.....shotgun shooting is a dark art

    why is it ?

    how did you get on by the way

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    why is it ?

    how did you get on by the way

    It is never the same you can go to the same spot 50 times and get large bags or no bags.yesterday's shoot I carried enough stuff to drop a pack horse,decoys.flappers .spinners the works and only got 3 pigeons and a crow.48 hours earlier got 14 with no gear but a face vale..sometimes I can use a 410 and never miss.other times an automatic putting up a wall of lead and never hit a thing.it can be frustrating for 3 hours and you then have the best ten minutes of your life..in comparison long range rifle shooting is easy..to me shotgunning is a dark art . hopefully the earth.fire.water.wind gods favour myou shooting in 2017

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    My advice for winter pigeons - Do plenty of reccies, wait for a windy day and get out and set up (on a flightline if possible) before the pigeons arrive ..... AND never expect a big bag!

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    I've been over in France for five years and barely seen any wood pigeons. The area I cover on my mole trapping trips is about 200 square miles and we get about quite a bit in the camper van yet I never see more than a half dozen or so at any one time. Until three weeks ago that is. I saw a flock of several hundred birds in one small area and over the last three weeks that population has grown to well over 2,000 pigeons. And they are all clustered in an area of about 2 square miles. There is no rape planted. The crops locally are a bit of wheat, barley and maize with sunflowers the predominant crop. I never see them on the ground and always near woods.

     

    I was watching them yesterday and it would appear that they are indeed feeding in the woods, probably on acorns. They were split into two large and one small flock wheeling around the small, 2 hectare wood situated in a vast area of bare or semi-bare fields. Somebody was having a pop at them, three barrels at a time and they just kept coming around time and time again like a fairground ride. Whoever was flighting them must have been having the time of his life.

     

    The only thing I can think of that would account for the unusually large numbers hogging such a small area is the weather and the locality. There has been severe cold in eastern Europe and even right down into Spain. The area where the pigeons are has some warm springs that have been used by man since prehistoric times. I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking that the area the pigeons are congregating might be an isolated warm spot. Whatever, I have never seen a huge flock of pigeons so intent on being shot before. I was a jealous as hell!

    Edited by UKPoacher

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    Huge flocks still over here and all concentrated in a very small area. There was some guy shooting from inside a copse where two large flocks wanted to be. They kept wheeling around and presenting themselves to a three shot salvo over and over again. He dropped a few too. I'll bet he's talking about that bag for years. :)

     

    It will be interesting to see whether they are there next week when I go through the area. Last night was the final sub zero one of the lest ten and it will get progressively warmer and wetter in the next couple of weeks.

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