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Blackpowder

Narrow window on peas

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First and last since spring sowing started around here it has been a difficult season, personal best bag has been 17 and one crow. I've sat 5 hours for 6 shots and 5 pigeon awaiting for birds to find this field with some grain on the surface, which they did not. Last chance was late sowing vining peas in a field adjacent to where three of us shot 170 or so pigeons on an Easter Sunday 10 years ago. Then that farm was one of the best around for pigeon shooting but pigeon numbers have steadily declined since that memorable day when a spec in the sky was a pigeon with wings set heading into the pattern- even when we were out setting up more dead birds. Move on to Tues the 2nd May 2017 when the farmer told me the field was going to be sown. Give it a day for the pigeon to find it so Thursday the 4th came around with me setting up in a bitter cold day of NE winds and glad of the shelter from a bridge over a disused rail line. Plenty of seed peas on the surface which was unusual to say the least.

 

The result:-

Thursday 5 hours 5 shots for 3 pigeon

 

Friday 5 hours 4 shots for 1 pigeon

 

Saturday had a look to check if birds had cleaned up but no no feathers or droppings and still plenty spilled seed peas. still bitter cold sat for 3 hours in car seeing little or no activity.

 

Sunday Gave it until 1 pm before setting out, several pigeon certainly less than 10 rose from the corner where I had been set up. Would this be the day? No the ground was well scuffled up with pigeon activity, most of the seed gone. Gave it a 3 hour session just in case for 1 woodpigeon and 1 feral. Driving home the farm next door had dozens of pigeon on a pea field there, as was the case on other fields nearer home. Cant win em all I suppose, there are still vining beans to sow on another farm close by so fingers crossed.

 

Blackpowder

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Hi Blackpowder, I certainly feel your pain, its been the same here in Norfolk for weeks, we have waited for the peas to show green with absolutely nothing showing interest, then Friday on a tour of the fields we found a few birds starting to pick the now 3 to 4 inch plants, so we are planning to start this week , but no real enthusiasm,

At one time years ago we would see hundreds moving around the fields, but now we can sit for hours only to see a handful of birds passing by.

A dear friend was out last week on a large estate where he has shot over peas and other crops for years, getting large bags, but last week after patiently waiting for the birds to show managed 37, quite an accomplishment in the circumstances.

Where are all those hundreds of birds now, who knows, it can't help with the terrible weather we are getting here on the east coast, with winter conditions, north and east winds blow almost every day, temperatures for weeks have been dropping at night to 3 or 4 and only getting up to 10 or 12 during the day, and with the wind chill its unbearable for us oldies , even when a bird comes in its hard to react quickly when your freezing cold and restricted by 6 or 7 layers of clothing.

All we can do is keep watching and hope that things will change, for the better. :/:/

Edited by lakeside1000

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Cold was intense over the days above, never felt anything like that cutting wind. On the bright side went to another farm today after a shooting mate phoned he was getting some sport. Modest result for me 13 picked, one in dense gorse bushes and one in trees behind. Bonus was the shelter of dense conifir plantation between me and the wind total bliss.

 

Blackpowder

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It's the same in Northamptonshire chaps, we covered a lot of miles sat for hours watching over sat, sun and today guns never even came out their slips totally dead everywhere.

Been pretty cold and breezy as well here.

Oh well things can only get better. We hope

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You are having a lean time Blackpowder. I hope it improves for you.

 

When I lived in those parts pigeons were everywhere and spring drillings were dead certs for reasonable bags.

Edited by JDog

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You are having a lean time Blackpowder. I hope it improves for you.

 

When I lived in those parts pigeons were everywhere and spring drillings were dead crest for reasonable bags.

Yes its not what it used to be,but. A friend shot 78 in a day recently and it was him who called me to yesterdays pea field, I think he had high 50s. Yesterday I saw quite a number of pigeons but they veered away from my decoy pattern, dont think they could see me as I was well hidden among gorse bushes but my pals magnet seemed to be doing the trick at the other end of the field as he had lots of shooting. Hey ho a magnet for next year me thinks, more expense more weight to carry but seems worth it.

 

Blackpowder

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Magnets are essential pieces of the pigeon shooters armoury in most, but not all, circumstances.

 

Yesterday on tall cauliflowers they were the only means of attracting birds to the part of the field we were in. On the other hand I rarely use them on drillings.

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Magnets certainly have their place, usually when the crop is higher, flapper seems to work best for me at the moment, though the rain this week should have given the peas and rape a growing spurt. Hoping for a few hours this saturday morning. As for numbers; I blame the likes of Geoff Garrod. Anything under 75 is a bad day for him (if only) Where the heck does he find them all and couldn't he leave a few for the rest of us. May be it's just good editing and the numbers aren't really that big :lol: Thinking if number 3 son doesn't want to come along on saturday, that I'll just take the new-ish acquired Pedretti Hushpower 20 bore. It's a risk only having a single barrel, but the reduced noise really can help keep the birds in the area. Another bonus is the reduced weight of the gun and cartridges. What with hide poles, nets, deeks, battery and flapper or magnet; it's more than enough for a near 61 year old to hump across a field and leaves very little room for shot birds on the return trip. May be that's the very slim silver lining of only getting a small bag. :lol:

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Magnets certainly have their place, usually when the crop is higher, flapper seems to work best for me at the moment, though the rain this week should have given the peas and rape a growing spurt. Hoping for a few hours this saturday morning. As for numbers; I blame the likes of Geoff Garrod. Anything under 75 is a bad day for him (if only) Where the heck does he find them all and couldn't he leave a few for the rest of us. May be it's just good editing and the numbers aren't really that big :lol: Thinking if number 3 son doesn't want to come along on saturday, that I'll just take the new-ish acquired Pedretti Hushpower 20 bore. It's a risk only having a single barrel, but the reduced noise really can help keep the birds in the area. Another bonus is the reduced weight of the gun and cartridges. What with hide poles, nets, deeks, battery and flapper or magnet; it's more than enough for a near 61 year old to hump across a field and leaves very little room for shot birds on the return trip. May be that's the very slim silver lining of only getting a small bag. :lol:

As for Mr Garrod and similar, if YOU had complete knowledge, sole shooting rights and control of the acreage these boys have available,the OK to cut whatever trees you wanted, plus the truck access, unlimited free stuff etc etc, you might get a few more birds in the bag. I shoot not far away in Essex, which I have to share with many others and don't even SEE the numbers Geoff shoots, and those I do see generally don't decoy like his do.

I did have a decent winter this year though but that is the exception not the rule.

Edited by kitchrat

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