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marsh man

Have Rape Got The Better Of Us ??

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    Now that pigeons are showing interest in the numerous rape fields up and down the country it's time pigeon shooters try and pit there wits against them and try to get a decent bag , this might well be easier said than done as many members ( apart from one ) have recently found , as an example both Mr JDog and Clodhopper have found it very frustrating trying to out smart the enemy and they can rest assured they are not alone.

    Why should this be ? , one logical answer is the sheer amount of the crop grown , yesterday I was driving the beaters to different plots of land the shoot have got which are up to six miles apart and during the journey there seem if there was a rape field every two or three fields apart and what was noticeable was there wasn't a gas gun going off anywhere .

    When I first shot on rape it must had been around the mid 70s , the farmer put the crop in on a 40 acre field in the middle of the marshes on which we hired off him for a rough shoot , he had heard they could do a bit of damage if left alone so he asked us to keep an eye on it , as there was very little cover he left us a pile of small bails for me and my brother to build a hide , we carted them to the middle of the field and built a decent hide and left a couple of extra bails in case we needed them if things turned cold , at the time we were both at work so we couldn't spend a lot of time shooting pigeon's apart from the odd day during the week and at weekends , the first time we saw any pigeons on there was about mid December and with little time to spare we left it till our Christmas holidays , the first time I shot it was Boxing day and by then the numbers had built up a lot , the pigeons had been sitting on the bails as there were no trees and hide was the highest place to land on the marsh , this was covered with a good half inch of droppings and the hide acted as a magnet which at the time the pigeon magnet wasn't even heard of. 

    After the Christmas holiday my brother was going one day during the week and I went either Saturday or Sunday , we didn't have a 4 x 4 so our means of carting the pigeons back to our cars was a builders one wheel barrow which was on permanent loan from the builders I worked for ☺️ , through the odd bouts of rain and snow we couldn't shoot it every week but we carried on till the Spring and then at that time the drilling's were good so the rape was left to grow although we did keep an eye on it but by them the pigeons have had enough , we had the odd three figure bag but most of the bags were between fifty and a hundred , by the time it had germinated and took off we had shot over 1400 off that one field , after that the rape went in on the uplands and more farms started to grow it and although we had more good bags we never had that many off one field from then and up to now . 

    So have the quantity of rape now got the upper hand ? , we often give out advice to up and coming pigeons shooters but is it good advice if it don't always work for us:lol:

     

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    Yes the amount of rape grown does give the pigeons a wide choice. However help may be on hand in the form of flea beetles. Farmers who are not straight onto spraying for these pests may have very poor crops. Those who are ahead of the game should have better crops, the fields of which may be of less interest to pigeons.

    Today I saw my first spring barley drillings of the season which had lots of pigeons on. They must be grateful for the change of diet.

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    There is loads of osr around our part of the world MM and it seems to be block drilled on several farms, up to two weeks ago there where very few if any gas guns out and I watched pigeons in there hundreds leave there roost (next to four fields of rape)and fly maybe two miles over acres of rape to get to one maybe 20 acre field, since then all those fields have guns and the flocks are smaller and are trying to feed in quiet corners of several fields, I’d image after February 1st even more gas guns will be deployed and the focus will be on any field un able to have one due to houses/livestock, so yes I’d agree that osr has the upper hand

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    20 minutes ago, JDog said:

    Yes the amount of rape grown does give the pigeons a wide choice. However help may be on hand in the form of flea beetles. Farmers who are not straight onto spraying for these pests may have very poor crops. Those who are ahead of the game should have better crops, the fields of which may be of less interest to pigeons.

    Today I saw my first spring barley drillings of the season which had lots of pigeons on. They must be grateful for the change of diet.

    That is very early to have Spring barley drilled in January Mr JDog with this mornings temp at minus four in my motor , although this day and age there isn't any set times no more .I have shot drilled barley in late February but never in January.

    As for the change of diet , we have had pigeons drifting out to the various rape fields but lately the main diet have been freshly lifted beet fields which have been late starting this campaign  due to leaving the beet to gain a bit of weight on after the long / hot dry Summer .

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    Some of the land I shoot has less rape this year, in fact one farm has grown winter oats as an alternative break crop. Not great news for a pigeon shooter!

    Anyway I digress, the problem I feel is the same old thing of pigeons been bunched up in big flocks and moving as one and playing the game of follow my leader. We have some very big flocks at the minute, some of which no doubt are migrants which have been pushed across by bad weather elsewhere.

    Gas guns are making them twitchy as is the vast amount of game shooting at the minute. When spring comes and the flocks break up some good bags will be made I'm sure and many of them on the rape. Meanwhile I will try and shoot a few in the woods and pick up the odd flight line where I can.

    1 hour ago, JDog said:

    Today I saw my first spring barley drillings of the season which had lots of pigeons on. They must be grateful for the change of diet.

    Very surprised at that JDog, even on the lightest of land, surely soil temps are way too low and set to be for sometime to enable germination?

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    11 minutes ago, aga man said:

    Some of the land I shoot has less rape this year, in fact one farm has grown winter oats as an alternative break crop. Not great news for a pigeon shooter!

    Anyway I digress, the problem I feel is the same old thing of pigeons been bunched up in big flocks and moving as one and playing the game of follow my leader. We have some very big flocks at the minute, some of which no doubt are migrants which have been pushed across by bad weather elsewhere.

    Gas guns are making them twitchy as is the vast amount of game shooting at the minute. When spring comes and the flocks break up some good bags will be made I'm sure and many of them on the rape. Meanwhile I will try and shoot a few in the woods and pick up the odd flight line where I can.

    Very surprised at that JDog, even on the lightest of land, surely soil temps are way too low and set to be for sometime to enable germination?

    Yes spring barley. Last Sunday I saw some sugarbeet which I thought might have been harvested this week. Today when I looked the sugarbeet was gone, the fields cultivated and drilled. There were an awful lot of pigeons on the fields. Sadly I had no gun. That will be remedied tomorrow.

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    Quote

     

    osr😭every year hundreds of pigeons,one shot and they are all gone,tis the season to sit in hedges and just watch the sky,thinking of becoming a stubble shooter😎

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    12 hours ago, JDog said:

    Yes the amount of rape grown does give the pigeons a wide choice. However help may be on hand in the form of flea beetles. Farmers who are not straight onto spraying for these pests may have very poor crops. Those who are ahead of the game should have better crops, the fields of which may be of less interest to pigeons.

    Today I saw my first spring barley drillings of the season which had lots of pigeons on. They must be grateful for the change of diet.

    My 1st 2 fields of barley went in in the 10th of Jan!!!!! 75 acres and by the 14th had the biggest number of pigeons on it I have ever seen - estimated between 1-2000!! Got on it in a hurry and................................................... 1 shot all gone, never to return just like rape. In fact, worse than rape because the week before a pal and I had a 70-bird day on rape on the next farm. Now the barley has been sprayed with pre-emergence spray and either this has put the pigeons off or they have cleaned it up because none on it now, except crows.

    Back to the rape.....

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    It would appear that pigeons hitting the rape at the moment varies greatly from county to county or even area to area. In my particular part of Kent the rape has hardly been touched. The pigeons are either on ivy berries in the woods and hedgerows or en masse still finding maize cobs from last year's crop among acres of wheat. Yet just 10 or 15 miles west, Wooder on here has seen many down feeding on rape. I think that rape is their least favourite option if there is more nutritious food available.

    The maize in my area grown for biofuel has sustained the pigeons over winter as much is still in evidence on the acres of wheat, but with vast acres, they are spoilt for choice and thus difficult to decoy. Much the same as when trying to decoy them when on rape, they just move to the next available and nearby field.

    OB

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    i have a farm with 5 fields of rape,one shot and there off to the next one all im doing is walking back and forwards one field to another. waist of time.another farm the same thing,and same on another one.

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    At the end of the day we are all up for a challenge when it come's to shooting , I along with most pigeon shooters enjoy a easy ( if there is such a thing ) day now and again , but I think we would soon get fed up if every day was easy , in a way I am glad I don't get to many phone calls this time of the year about pigeons doing damage on the rape fields , for a start I don't no longer get any enjoyment in sitting around in cold / damp conditions for very little reward , also this time of the year I help out on two game shoots that get me out at least once and often two times a week and then popping down the marsh two or three times a week for a quick duck flight.

    Once the game and inland wildfowl season finish I then turn my attention to the rape shooting , this is where the fun start , you name it I have most probably tried it , tried a hide in the middle of the field , tried decoying on a different crop next door to the rape , putting gas guns on the other end of the field I intend to shoot and so on , and yes there have been days when I have had some success but overall the rape fields had got the better of me .

    I remember reading one of P Cs posts where he was saying , you should get at least half the pigeons you see working on , or using the field , I cant remember the exact details but I very rarely get either , that's why I have often said , if there are leagues in pigeon shooting , he would be in the super league.

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    10 hours ago, Old Boggy said:

    It would appear that pigeons hitting the rape at the moment varies greatly from county to county or even area to area. In my particular part of Kent the rape has hardly been touched. The pigeons are either on ivy berries in the woods and hedgerows or en masse still finding maize cobs from last year's crop among acres of wheat. Yet just 10 or 15 miles west, Wooder on here has seen many down feeding on rape. I think that rape is their least favourite option if there is more nutritious food available.

    The maize in my area grown for biofuel has sustained the pigeons over winter as much is still in evidence on the acres of wheat, but with vast acres, they are spoilt for choice and thus difficult to decoy. Much the same as when trying to decoy them when on rape, they just move to the next available and nearby field.

    OB

    Shot a small field of rape today,  I had seen birds on it Saturday and watched them Sunday  i didn't have permission so went door knocking on Sunday found the owner, he said he rented it  to a farm up the road 10 mins later i had permission but for Monday only as he said he had some regular guys that shoot it, where were they!!

    Arrive about 9;30 watched the field, I set up under some large oaks at the top of the field which the birds were using as sittey trees. started shooting about 11 ish, birds all cleared off to a rape field far away, but small groups returned to use the trees and some committed to the decoys, hard work for 8 birds should have been 28 but for the first part of the session I was a good bird scarer. they are extremely head strong in large flocks ! 

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    In my area there are thousands of acres of rape grown. Some fields fields are very attractive pigeons and some are untouched. The birds definitely have their favourite fields. However this does not mean they will return to these once I start shooting. The birds will often decoy well after a cold night when they are hungry but this is not a given. 

    On Friday I watched over a thousand birds feeding on and dropping into one field, I watched today and there were none. 

    Tomorrow I will be out again to have a look and see what I can find. I may have another blank but just maybe I might get on a few.

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    Well, I met up with JDog at around 09.30 this morning,where I had seen a lot of pigeons. We looked at 4 fields around the village and did find the birds. Around 800 or so. They were feeding at the far end of a very long rape field, with a good line going in. The issue was that it was 3/4 of a mile walk just to walk them off and no guarantee they would return. Due to only having a couple of hours to shoot we decided to leave them for another day. We headed off a few miles to a permission of JDogs where there were a good few birds and others joining. It looked promising. We shot 4 in about 10 minutes and then they all clears off to pastures new. Typical rape shouting. But it was a lovely day to be out and I definitely would not have shot any at home.http://a63.tinypic.com/33ufhxx.jpg

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    At least you had a go Clodhopper , They say you don't know until you try, although on some rape fields after you have been there for around an hour you have got a pretty good idea how it is going to turn out.  :no:

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    There’s loads of pigeons on the rape I can shoot but during the pheasant season I can’t touch them.

    ive seen a good 1000 birds on one field and when talking to the farmer he’s saying we have a week after the season to get stuck into them before he puts the bangers out. 

    Every farm I have has a pheasant/partridge shoot on otherwise I’d be out everyday!

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    My very best day on rape was 196 some years ago. From my lounge window I saw a steady flight line into the rape which was well on. My shooting buddy arrived and we drove up to the hide position and shots for three or four hours, only interrupted by the odd walker and a local gamekeeper from another farm, who lived a couple of hundred yards away. You could see he was annoyed with himself for not spotting the birds before I did. Still, it was a great day. Since that time, if I shoot ten birds, I have done well. At the moment I have some 100 acres of rape and despite visiting it on a daily basis, not a bird to be seen.

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    After next Friday ( 1st Feb ) it will be worth keeping an eye on any Maize cover strips that might be cut down , these would be normally allocated to the beaters or other members who have helped out throughout the shooting season , another reminder for those looking for shooting to get involved with your local shoots , far to late for this season but it wouldn't do any harm to make enquiries for next year and to ask for the dates a s a p so you can put in days holiday if they are week day shoots and avoid taking on any other commitments on that day of the shoot .

    The more effort you make , the more you will be rewarded , Good luck

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    I notice that no one mentions the pigeon " resistant" varieties of rape being increasingly grow in the UK....varieties such as Compass, and Scimitar.........pigeons drop in, one peck, then head off elsewhere. High levels of Glucosinolates could be the reason pigeons find it distasteful....in the 70,s when only one or two varieties were grown, and in a relatively small acreage, during hard weather, we had regular big bags of pigeons.  In this area (east Midlands) those bags have dropped dramatically, over the last 20 years.

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    8 hours ago, pinfireman said:

    I notice that no one mentions the pigeon " resistant" varieties of rape being increasingly grow in the UK....varieties such as Compass, and Scimitar.........pigeons drop in, one peck, then head off elsewhere. High levels of Glucosinolates could be the reason pigeons find it distasteful....in the 70,s when only one or two varieties were grown, and in a relatively small acreage, during hard weather, we had regular big bags of pigeons.  In this area (east Midlands) those bags have dropped dramatically, over the last 20 years.

    I haven't heard of these varieties. I don't know of any farmer that grows them.

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    8 hours ago, pinfireman said:

    I notice that no one mentions the pigeon " resistant" varieties of rape being increasingly grow in the UK....varieties such as Compass, and Scimitar.........pigeons drop in, one peck, then head off elsewhere. High levels of Glucosinolates could be the reason pigeons find it distasteful....in the 70,s when only one or two varieties were grown, and in a relatively small acreage, during hard weather, we had regular big bags of pigeons.  In this area (east Midlands) those bags have dropped dramatically, over the last 20 years.

    I don't find these varieties to always deter pigeons, I have shot good bags on Compass varieties, which the agronomist promised the farmer pigeons wouldn't eat. I have found if its grown in a field which they like they will eat it!

     

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    A couple of farmers whose land I can shoot over, and who have grown rape for 40+ years, have  sown Compass  for 3 years now, and the same fields that were once productive for woodies are now barren! Not one bird seen feeding in the last 2 seasons! I used to have bags of 80 - 100 birds regularly, not anymore! 300 yards away, a couple of fields that I cannot shoot have regular flocks on, and gas guns are used to disperse them, but they do not come to my permission. So what.s the answer?

     

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