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getthegat

Stubble disappointment & size

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The wheat, hay and haylege has all been cut around us, leaving beans, barley and maze. With obvious excitement, I was looking forward to some easy drives across stubble to my hide sites and some easier pick ups of shot birds. It seems nobody told the birds that they needed to play their part and my perms have gone very quiet, no flocks feeding at all, the odd dozen or so in a few places but nothing flighting in, it's the total opposite of what was around before combining. I've driven to a good few spots and looked on other farms, but they have gone, on to where and what? Stubble days are always looked forward to, so this year is really disappointing. Also, I did manage a couple of hours a week or so ago, in the corner of a bean field, just stood by a couple of oaks and had a nice dozen woodies off a flight line, which Soph retrieved perfectly out of the blackened dry beans. When plucking and preparing them for cooking, it seemed to me that they were all a bit small. None were juveniles, so I was wondering if this is now the norm and has it to do with the recent long hot weather. In their crops were either beans, wheat or one had some small round red seeds/berries about the size of #2 shot, possibly from someones garden. Anyone else having a lean time of it after the combining or is it the opposite and you've now suddenly gained more? 

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I'm sure that the pigeons are still around but with large acreages of stubble at the moment, they are spread over a very large area. Keep an eye out for any favourable flightlines as in my experience, some fields always attract more than others regardless of the crop. They do in my area anyway.

Also , as the stubble gradually gets ploughed in, less fields become available and concentrate the birds more. These should provide some shooting. But as has been said in another thread, shooting over stubbles is becoming more and more a small window of opportunity as the combine is followed very shortly by the plough these days.

Just got to take advantage of every opportunity.

OB

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Out last evening sorting a few rabbits in someones garden and the rape stubble alongside had a steady stream of pigeons feeding and a strong flight line.  Will be up there later but knowing my luck they will have decided to feed elsewhere ...isn't that pigeon shooting ?  As OB says above, often the bales are being loaded and the cultivator is in the field at the same time.

Also with the advent of the stiff short straw wheats available today almost no laid corn, so very little left after the combine passing over and failing to pick up some of that laid corn.

I go back to days when we stooked wheat in the fields cut with a binder.  A few decoys and one or two on a stook for great sport but these days agriculture is too 'clean'.

 

Here today gone tomorrow.....very frustrating.

Edited by Walker570

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i shot one farm 14 fields of stubble,no pigeons on it went to a farm yesterday afternoon, 2 fields of stubble shot 25 pigeons,

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7 hours ago, mossy835 said:

i shot one farm 14 fields of stubble,no pigeons on it went to a farm yesterday afternoon, 2 fields of stubble shot 25 pigeons,

 

  That's exactly what it's like in these parts too.

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im now waiting for 6 fields of spring barley to be cut, may be this week, we will see,i will then be on it.

Edited by mossy835

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It's difficult to be dogmatic about anything to do with pigeon shooting;This year is different again in so many ways with dry weather accelerating the harvest & so much choice for our quarry within a short time frame (in our neck of the woods anyway). I certainly think that rape stubble gives you better chances the sooner you can get onto it. I shot one stubble 8 days ago (one day after it was combined) & the birds decoyed reasonably well considering there were 3 or 4 other rape stubbles within half a mile. I shot the same field yesterday when a lot of the seed had germinated and of the 60 I shot only a dozen or so decoyed at all , the rest were passing trade as it were.Better shooting in a way but not such a bag as you might expect from the birds around.I can see the wheat harvest finished within a few more days & so will be looking at winter beans & spring barley over the next week or so as I would expect them to be more productive? But who can tell; As  our Guru Archie said reconnaissance is probably the key.

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I will do my rounds on Wednesday , but not expecting anything exciting , just got to work a bit harder to have a few shots , what do they say ,quality is better than quantity , but some this year have done o k  up to now , still there is plenty of time  for all of us yet , it's just finding them .

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Each dry day there are 100s of acres of land being opened up for our friend the pigeon , and like you we have had nearly none stop dry days which have been ideal for combining , in fact on our place they done 17 days on the trot ( nobody could ever remember it being done before ) , a couple of days off last weekend due to showers and back cutting again during the week , we have two tenant farms who were also combining last week , so the pigeons we had are still about , but are now spread over a large area , then just to make it a bit harder , on the way home today the dust was coming from a combine down the marshes which have wheat fields as far as the eye can see.

I think the days of letting them build up are long over , if you see enough to have a go , then go for it because tomorrow is another day and what is here one day could well be gone the next .

 

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18 minutes ago, marsh man said:

 

I think the days of letting them build up are long over , if you see enough to have a go , then go for it because tomorrow is another day and what is here one day could well be gone the next .

 

I couldn't agree more.

All the rape stubbles around here have been disced and then further cultivated. Wheat still being combined but most of the stubble already disced. As Marsh man rightly said you just cannot wait for numbers to build up but have to take any opportunity while it lasts.

OB

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20 minutes ago, marsh man said:

Each dry day there are 100s of acres of land being opened up for our friend the pigeon , and like you we have had nearly none stop dry days which have been ideal for combining , in fact on our place they done 17 days on the trot ( nobody could ever remember it being done before ) , a couple of days off last weekend due to showers and back cutting again during the week , we have two tenant farms who were also combining last week , so the pigeons we had are still about , but are now spread over a large area , then just to make it a bit harder , on the way home today the dust was coming from a combine down the marshes which have wheat fields as far as the eye can see.

I think the days of letting them build up are long over , if you see enough to have a go , then go for it because tomorrow is another day and what is here one day could well be gone the next .

 

 

20 minutes ago, marsh man said:

Each dry day there are 100s of acres of land being opened up for our friend the pigeon , and like you we have had nearly none stop dry days which have been ideal for combining , in fact on our place they done 17 days on the trot ( nobody could ever remember it being done before ) , a couple of days off last weekend due to showers and back cutting again during the week , we have two tenant farms who were also combining last week , so the pigeons we had are still about , but are now spread over a large area , then just to make it a bit harder , on the way home today the dust was coming from a combine down the marshes which have wheat fields as far as the eye can see.

I think the days of letting them build up are long over , if you see enough to have a go , then go for it because tomorrow is another day and what is here one day could well be gone the next .

 

I still think there is plenty of scope to let birds build up. I still have rape fields that have been left alone for nearly three weeks. This will be the case for some wheat/ barley fields.

I shoot for several different types of farmers. Some are big, some are small and some decide to leave stubbles for a long time.

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2 minutes ago, motty said:

 

I still think there is plenty of scope to let birds build up. I still have rape fields that have been left alone for nearly three weeks. This will be the case for some wheat/ barley fields.

I shoot for several different types of farmers. Some are big, some are small and some decide to leave stubbles for a long time.

Lucky you , We are now entering the time where young game birds are being put in release pens and all the surrounding fields will become a no go area , you certainly wont get on the fields if they are only stubble , then how do you know on the day you have looked the maximum number have already built up ?, 

I think you would be doing well getting a good bag of pigeons off rape stubble after three weeks , more so if you have had rain during that duration . 

Also next years rape crop is normally on this years barley fields , so how long do you expect the farmer to leave them if the rape is going in on those fields ? . unless of course he direct drill into the stubble's.

 

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Barley is nearly ready to combine and there are less of these fields for the birds to choose to feed on, so maybe a couple of days with a reasonable number, might be on the cards. To be honest I'm happy with double figures. Also I have one large bean field which has been attracting nice numbers at times. I've never shot over bean stubble, and the hot weather has split a lot of pods and there seems to be beans on the ground even before the harvest. I'm hoping that will mean good feeding after the cut.

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1 hour ago, marsh man said:

Lucky you , We are now entering the time where young game birds are being put in release pens and all the surrounding fields will become a no go area , you certainly wont get on the fields if they are only stubble , then how do you know on the day you have looked the maximum number have already built up ?, 

I think you would be doing well getting a good bag of pigeons off rape stubble after three weeks , more so if you have had rain during that duration . 

Also next years rape crop is normally on this years barley fields , so how long do you expect the farmer to leave them if the rape is going in on those fields ? . unless of course he direct drill into the stubble's.

 

Yeah, next year's rape will go in after some of this year's Winter barley, but the spring barley may be left stubble a while. I have had some of my better bags on spring barley stubble that has been left for a while. These are the kind of fields that I look for.

Apart from one early barley stubble, my shooting has pretty much all been on rape stubble so far this harvest. I still have a few rape fields that are yet to be cut, but I think they will be cut within the next day or two. Then, in the next few weeks I shall be watching the wheat and barley.

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7 hours ago, motty said:

 

Apart from one early barley stubble, my shooting has pretty much all been on rape stubble so far this harvest. I still have a few rape fields that are yet to be cut, but I think they will be cut within the next day or two. Then, in the next few weeks I shall be watching the wheat and barley.

You are quite fortunate then, Motty, still having rape yet to be cut. All the rape has been cut in my area and already disced and further cultivated. Most wheat has been cut and immediately cultivated with one or two exceptions but I know that those also will be cultivated in the next day or two, so I have to make the most of what's available at the time with no waiting for numbers to build up. The stubbles hereabouts are just not left like they used to be. Furthermore, barley is not grown much here and two farmer friends have ceased growing beans as being uneconomic. Obviously these things vary from area to area and farm to farm.

My most productive shooting was on a small farm where the farmer was 'old school' with fairly ancient and inefficient equipment. As a consequence there was always an abundance of whatever crop was being harvested, left on the ground with the stubbles left for long periods. This gave the chance for numbers to build up and very good shooting was assured.

In the past, I've had some great shooting on standing beans where a convergence of tramlines has made for easy picking up with little damage to the crop, but for some reason, once cut and with loads of beans still on the surface, the pigeons just weren't interested. Never could understand that. Perhaps a more nutritious crop became available.

Still got large acreages of maize to be cut later, so we'll have to see what that brings forth this year. Sometimes good, sometimes, for whatever reason, not so good.

As has been said, that's one or the vagaries of pigeon shooting which make it such a challenge.

OB

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1 hour ago, Old Boggy said:

You are quite fortunate then, Motty, still having rape yet to be cut. All the rape has been cut in my area and already disced and further cultivated. Most wheat has been cut and immediately cultivated with one or two exceptions but I know that those also will be cultivated in the next day or two, so I have to make the most of what's available at the time with no waiting for numbers to build up. The stubbles hereabouts are just not left like they used to be. Furthermore, barley is not grown much here and two farmer friends have ceased growing beans as being uneconomic. Obviously these things vary from area to area and farm to farm.

My most productive shooting was on a small farm where the farmer was 'old school' with fairly ancient and inefficient equipment. As a consequence there was always an abundance of whatever crop was being harvested, left on the ground with the stubbles left for long periods. This gave the chance for numbers to build up and very good shooting was assured.

In the past, I've had some great shooting on standing beans where a convergence of tramlines has made for easy picking up with little damage to the crop, but for some reason, once cut and with loads of beans still on the surface, the pigeons just weren't interested. Never could understand that. Perhaps a more nutritious crop became available.

Still got large acreages of maize to be cut later, so we'll have to see what that brings forth this year. Sometimes good, sometimes, for whatever reason, not so good.

As has been said, that's one or the vagaries of pigeon shooting which make it such a challenge.

OB

I find the advantage of leaving a field alone for a few days is to let the pigeons get into a routine rather than for the amount to build up , this time of the year I dare say the majority of the fields hold food or water for pigeons to eat or drink , last week I saw pigeons on the edge of a spud field that was being irrigated , so with the vast amount of food available they wont take to much stick before they move on to somewhere else , they also have a knack of following the combine about , maybe to get fresh pickings or for whatever reason only known to them .

One thing for certain , there is far more to pigeon shooting than pulling the trigger , in a way , pulling the trigger is the easy part , finding them , being in the right place and getting the numbers to come in range to your decoy pattern is the hard part. 

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35 minutes ago, marsh man said:

I find the advantage of leaving a field alone for a few days is to let the pigeons get into a routine rather than for the amount to build up , this time of the year I dare say the majority of the fields hold food or water for pigeons to eat or drink , last week I saw pigeons on the edge of a spud field that was being irrigated , so with the vast amount of food available they wont take to much stick before they move on to somewhere else , they also have a knack of following the combine about , maybe to get fresh pickings or for whatever reason only known to them .

One thing for certain , there is far more to pigeon shooting than pulling the trigger , in a way , pulling the trigger is the easy part , finding them , being in the right place and getting the numbers to come in range to your decoy pattern is the hard part. 

I`ve often been tempted to set up on a spud field that they often visit when being irrigated. There`s one near me with much pigeon traffic recently all day long. Perhaps set up on the flightline although this is invariably over a very wide front. 

OB

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7 hours ago, Old Boggy said:

I`ve often been tempted to set up on a spud field that they often visit when being irrigated. There`s one near me with much pigeon traffic recently all day long. Perhaps set up on the flightline although this is invariably over a very wide front. 

OB

I have heard of decoying around a water hole although I have never done it myself, never really seen enough to worry about , they need to drink as well as taking on food , so if enough pigeons are heading towards the water outlet it might well be worth giving it a , one of those situations where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain , Good Luck if you have a go . 

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6 minutes ago, marsh man said:

I have heard of decoying around a water hole although I have never done it myself, never really seen enough to worry about , they need to drink as well as taking on food , so if enough pigeons are heading towards the water outlet it might well be worth giving it a , one of those situations where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain , Good Luck if you have a go . 

I have done this for crows next to the farm. Hiding out in the adjacent maize and shot over an overflowing trough. Good sport as i remember. 

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3 hours ago, marsh man said:

I have heard of decoying around a water hole although I have never done it myself, never really seen enough to worry about , they need to drink as well as taking on food , so if enough pigeons are heading towards the water outlet it might well be worth giving it a , one of those situations where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain , Good Luck if you have a go . 

We used to shoot doves in Texas, coming in to drink at 'tanks'  Texan for large dammed off shallow valleys 'draws', to catch the occasional rainfall and I have shot a few woodies coming in to galvanised field cattle tanks over here but you will rarely get the numbers.  The irrigation deal looks interesting though.  I have only managed three forays so far this harvest but the two on rape stubble have produced some shooting, the wheat stubble was only crows and jackdaws and one or two pigeon pulled from a flightline....youngsters reacting to the decoys.

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41 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

We used to shoot doves in Texas, coming in to drink at 'tanks'  Texan for large dammed off shallow valleys 'draws', to catch the occasional rainfall and I have shot a few woodies coming in to galvanised field cattle tanks over here but you will rarely get the numbers.  The irrigation deal looks interesting though.  I have only managed three forays so far this harvest but the two on rape stubble have produced some shooting, the wheat stubble was only crows and jackdaws and one or two pigeon pulled from a flightline....youngsters reacting to the decoys.

I am sure in areas where crops are grown a lot less than round our way it might be possible to find where pigeons get there liquid requirements and after a bit of homework about timing and directions from ( a ) to ( b ) might be able to get a bit of sport , but to be honest , a poorish day for me on the stubble's  I believe would be a better day than me waiting near a watering place .

 

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Have these fields been cut with a combine and chaff-cutter, or baled? I have a theory which says that a chaff-cutter lets cut chaff drift down onto any lost grain and covers it up. Don't forget that pigeons cannot/do not scratch like chickens do.  Then, sometimes, as mentioned on other posts, a field seems to get more attractive to pigeons once it is roughly cultivated. Is this because the chaff has been tipped off the grain??

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2 hours ago, kitchrat said:

Have these fields been cut with a combine and chaff-cutter, or baled? I have a theory which says that a chaff-cutter lets cut chaff drift down onto any lost grain and covers it up. Don't forget that pigeons cannot/do not scratch like chickens do.  Then, sometimes, as mentioned on other posts, a field seems to get more attractive to pigeons once it is roughly cultivated. Is this because the chaff has been tipped off the grain??

My experience says there is no difference.

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Pigeons have been hammering the standing rape on my perms then they dont come any where near once the combine has cut it. Thats not just in 1 area 70 mile apart some of the places we have permission on totally does ya head in

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31 minutes ago, motty said:

My experience says there is no difference.

Yea I go along with that , it don't matter how efficient a combine is they will never get every head of grain , it still amaze me how much is left on the field once the combine have done its job .

With the shortage of straw this year I don't think you will see as many fields that had its straw chopped as other years , in fact a lot of the rape stubble have been baled , some Pea fields and a farmer I know bale up his bean stubble , although he uses that for his straw burner to run his central heating system , he swear by it and says it burn better than wheat or barley straw , and i believe the pea stubble is used for cattle feed in the Winter .

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