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Hammeronhammeroff

Two Things Learnt Today

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Been watching a small rape field (barely big enough for 2 guns) for the past 2 months and shot it a couple of times but due to the lack of cover and the wind direction it has never been an easy shoot. There is always Pigeon on it and for the past 3 days in groups of 30 - 50. Today the wind direction was perfect. Set up at 8:30 with the wind behind me and put out a classic horse shoe pattern with a traitor floater around 60 yards out. Birds kept on coming into the field all day in large groups but would not decoy, landing either at the other side of the field or annoyingly 80 yards away from the hide.

Thinking something was wrong with the hide, the pattern or the floater, I moved stuff around all day. Floater further out, taking the floater in, putting it back out again closer to the pattern, further away from the pattern changing from a horse shoe to a J pattern, altering the height of the deeks, checking the hide from the pattern. Throughout the day, the pattern had movement due to the brisk wind so everything seemed right. I had moved flags around the field to try and get them to come in to my deeks during the morning and afternoon but whatever I did, the woodies just kept on going elsewhere in the field

At 2:45 having fired just three longish shots in 5 odd hours (and missing) as well as 8 - 10 shots to keep the birds from settling, I thought, sod it and giving no thought to wind direction or pattern, I put all the deeks in a group with barely a yard between them (something I will always refer to from now on as a dollop of decoys).......Bingo!

The pigeons came in twice in the space of 10 minutes in groups of 30 - 40 both times. Final tally 2 pigeons, 1 Rook.

I am sure on reading this you will probably think what a lot of effort for very little gain but I have learnt two valuable lessons today

1. At this time of year when the birds are flocking, decoy patterns don’t seem to count for a lot (I am sure someone will correct me or tell me that is obvious, in which case fair enough)

2. Lo my Labrador will not retrieve a Rook! no idea why but she was just not having it. When I shot it, she saw it drop and marked it. I sent her out and she went straight to it but when she got there, she just looked back at me and despite the usual commands and encouragement, she was not interested. She trotted back in to the hide. I sent her out again with the same result. When I picked it up and put it down next to the hide she nosed it a bit but other than that, again showed no interest.

Very strange as this is the same dog that has gone for anything that has got into our garden, including chickens, rabbits, pigeons, pheasants, cats and is a great wood pigeon retriever when out in the field

 

 

 

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Corvids are notorious for going for a dog if they are not dead, so perhaps your dog has experienced this and is wary. Just a thought.

Not always advisable to get the dog to retrieve crows, rooks etc. in my opinion, but other's views may differ.

OB

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At this time of year on rape pigeons are used to seeing large groups or flocks on the rape fields. It is quite possible that you didn’t have enough decoys out.

Never send your dog for a corvid.

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if they where dropping short sounds  like a rotary would of pulled them towards  you 

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I've had this also, when I've had no ovement i the pattern sometimes they just wont commit or even notice my decoys, wack some movement in there and its like flies to sheet.

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16 hours ago, JDog said:

At this time of year on rape pigeons are used to seeing large groups or flocks on the rape fields. It is quite possible that you didn’t have enough decoys out.

Never send your dog for a corvid.

Yes I think that was probably the cause as I did have movement with the strong wind.

Just read up on retrieving corvids. Didn’t know that so thanks for the tip

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I would also be of the opinion that a rotary may have helped. Your report shows why I do little pigeon shooting at this time of year.

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I agree a rotary would have helped, on one of my sessions last week the rotary was only three metres from the hide just for movement. You could also use " Angels, Landers, " or whatever people call them to show approaching birds that others are joining. This time of year you also get the " Follow the leader"syndrome they sit in trees and one goes in and they all want to follow. Food for thought.

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Depending on the size of this field, were you in the right place? Forty or fifty yards can make a big difference, as suggested a magnet may have helped.

With regards the number of decoys, I only start with around six or eight dead birds laid out in a random pattern and two on the magnet, apart from the days when they are magnet shy they seem to pull well to this setup.

You need to-be where the pigeons want, not where you would like to setup.   

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Pigeons are still a mystery to me, what works one week will scare them another, one week they cant keep out of the pattern another week nothing.

This time of year big flock decoys in twice a day and that's ya lot,much prefer drillings and harvest for me.

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it's always a fickle time of year can be very testing at times even in good conditions , the good the bad and the ugly season , still fair bags can still be had for those who persevere , but as said not everybody's cup of tea.

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