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EHK-312

Starting Out Decoying Pigeons

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Help Please !

I`m still relatively new to the shooting world and have been lucky enough to enjoy some driven & walked up days however I`m very keen to get involved with decoying Pigeons.

I`ve had a couple of amateur days in the hide where we haven`t surpassed double figures (due to lack of pigeons decoying and also poor shooting) however this hasn`t dampened the spirits. I`ve got the decoys, poles, net and most importantly permission however I`m looking for a bit of general knowledge/advice as to how I can improve my chances to have a more productive day in the field.

Any advice is appreciated so please feel free, fire away.

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Have a search throughout this fine Forum. Read what you find and contribute to some of the threads.

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Posted (edited)

Me and a friend decided last Saturday was going to be our first attempt this year in the hide and we had some seriously strong winds in the South East of the country so we thought all the better for it. We had finally unloaded the car and set everything up by 10:30ish, the hide was set up backed up in to a tree line over looking a relatively freshly drilled field and so the birds would be landing in to the wind just in front of us, the decoys in an roughly placed L shape to offer some sort of a landing spot in the pattern for the pigeons.

And we were off, the day started well with a Pigeon committing beautifully and a fair shot be taken to have our first bird in the bag. Two more then came in which unfortunately were not taken due to a safety catch not being flicked up for the first and a miss on the second bird. Based on this we thought we`d be in for a good day however the birds then turned out to be very few and far between and although we managed to add another pigeon for a snack that evening we were restricted to watching the birds we did see have a good look and then decide it wasn`t for them before getting in to range or taking shots at bird just on the edge of our range who weren`t fully committed.

Never the less it was an enjoyable day in the field albeit a tough one, however it left me and my friend who are both relatively new to shooting a little bemused as to why the birds just didn`t want to seem to commit fully to the pattern after early success. I understand that there are a number of reasons why this could be however if anyone could shed some light on why they think this might be and what we could possibly do to enhance our chances next time out (this Sunday).

Edited by EHK-312

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Well done for getting out and having a go,  this time of the year is always a bit difficult, unless you are on a regular feeding spot like a bald patch in the rape, or newly seeded ground, 

There is so much for them to go after, tree buds, emerging crops, fresh rape growth and so on, whats more they are now thinking about mating and are looking for a mate so what I call 'fly past's' are very common, 

Once the larger flocks have broken up they will be easier to decoy, flying around in small bunches they are always on the lookout for other groups, but its no done deal.

Best times for larger numbers are winter rape before it has been sprayed, any new drilling's especially where seed is spilt on top, any pea and bean fields either at drilling, young shoots emerging or immediately after harvest, and for me the absolute best is stubble field shooting, rape, barley and wheat will draw good numbers as soon as the combines are off and its the warmest time of the year, so long sessions are a pleasure.

Getting out in the hide is ideal for watching the birds , getting to know their ways, and practising decoy patterns, testing different shapes and trying out equipment like floaters, flappers,magnets, lofters etc.but keep it simple and real, when birds are feeding hard they will come in to just a few dead birds on cradles.

I am shooting a new drilling area on one of my perms at the moment with just 3 lofters in a sitty tree, and 12 dead birds on cradles which I scatter over a very large area, no pattern, just heads into wind , birds are coming straight in and landing between decoys anywhere from 20 yards out to 50 yards but with a decent cartridge through a 1/2 choke they are all good targets. average bag for 3 or 4 hours is only 25 or so but it is good sport and better than sitting at home. best of luck, 😁

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On 19/03/2019 at 21:45, lakeside1000 said:

Well done for getting out and having a go,  this time of the year is always a bit difficult, unless you are on a regular feeding spot like a bald patch in the rape, or newly seeded ground, 

There is so much for them to go after, tree buds, emerging crops, fresh rape growth and so on, whats more they are now thinking about mating and are looking for a mate so what I call 'fly past's' are very common, 

Once the larger flocks have broken up they will be easier to decoy, flying around in small bunches they are always on the lookout for other groups, but its no done deal.

Best times for larger numbers are winter rape before it has been sprayed, any new drilling's especially where seed is spilt on top, any pea and bean fields either at drilling, young shoots emerging or immediately after harvest, and for me the absolute best is stubble field shooting, rape, barley and wheat will draw good numbers as soon as the combines are off and its the warmest time of the year, so long sessions are a pleasure.

Getting out in the hide is ideal for watching the birds , getting to know their ways, and practising decoy patterns, testing different shapes and trying out equipment like floaters, flappers,magnets, lofters etc.but keep it simple and real, when birds are feeding hard they will come in to just a few dead birds on cradles.

I am shooting a new drilling area on one of my perms at the moment with just 3 lofters in a sitty tree, and 12 dead birds on cradles which I scatter over a very large area, no pattern, just heads into wind , birds are coming straight in and landing between decoys anywhere from 20 yards out to 50 yards but with a decent cartridge through a 1/2 choke they are all good targets. average bag for 3 or 4 hours is only 25 or so but it is good sport and better than sitting at home. best of luck, 😁

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it.

Leading on from my last post we were out again on Sunday which was a lovely day, the sun was out and there was a slight breeze. We set up again with ten-twelve 1/2 shell decoys and so the birds would be landing in to the wind. We had a relatively steady flow of birds all day none in great numbers just coming in, in ones & twos and I was relatively pleased with the set up and results based on the equipment we had and the poor shooting that took place.

My next question would be is there a major benefit for having a whirly & or flapper in the pattern ? As many birds just seemed to fly over the field out of range taking no notice of our pattern, I wondered would the additional movement catch their eye and draw more attention for our benefit.

Your thoughts please.

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My thoughts are that a whirly CAN help, my bags have gone up since I bought one just over a year ago, however they don't work all the time, you might find that those birds were on a fixed course and may have ignored your setup anyway. As for flappers? I haven't got one so can't comment although I would expect them to increase your chances.

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The basic rule is try it ,if it doesn't work it doesn't mean its wrong as another day it will work well, but you can fine tune as you shoot, take time to watch the birds reactions as they approach , if you have birds flaring away at the last minute, then something looks unnatural and needs changing, but not always the decoy's, it could be a movement in the hide, a flash of reflected light from glasses or flask etc, a dog moving, almost anything will spook them,

As to birds flying past without looking twice at the decoys, thats something I find at this time of the year is very common, as the main flocks break up and birds start to pair off for breeding they seem to become preoccupied either by other groups of birds or going back and forth to a favourite feeding area, my son and I shot one of our regular spots today, even with 20+ dead birds out they still just flew over, we tried a flapper, floaters, lofters but nothing would pull them in, we had a few who came over close enough to get off a shot but the main bag today was crows who are very active at the moment, they were much easier to decoy in. I would much rather shoot pigeon but when they are playing hard to get a few crows make a reasonable option.

So dont worry too much about birds passing by , once we get into summer laid areas in standing crops or when we get into harvest time and shoot the stubble fields it all changes, you should find decoying in stubble with flappers or a magnet will get a very different response from most birds , they can become obsessed with finding a crop full of seed as they compete with other birds for any seed available.

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On 28/03/2019 at 14:32, martinj said:

My thoughts are that a whirly CAN help, my bags have gone up since I bought one just over a year ago, however they don't work all the time, you might find that those birds were on a fixed course and may have ignored your setup anyway. As for flappers? I haven't got one so can't comment although I would expect them to increase your chances.

 

17 hours ago, lakeside1000 said:

The basic rule is try it ,if it doesn't work it doesn't mean its wrong as another day it will work well, but you can fine tune as you shoot, take time to watch the birds reactions as they approach , if you have birds flaring away at the last minute, then something looks unnatural and needs changing, but not always the decoy's, it could be a movement in the hide, a flash of reflected light from glasses or flask etc, a dog moving, almost anything will spook them,

As to birds flying past without looking twice at the decoys, thats something I find at this time of the year is very common, as the main flocks break up and birds start to pair off for breeding they seem to become preoccupied either by other groups of birds or going back and forth to a favourite feeding area, my son and I shot one of our regular spots today, even with 20+ dead birds out they still just flew over, we tried a flapper, floaters, lofters but nothing would pull them in, we had a few who came over close enough to get off a shot but the main bag today was crows who are very active at the moment, they were much easier to decoy in. I would much rather shoot pigeon but when they are playing hard to get a few crows make a reasonable option.

So dont worry too much about birds passing by , once we get into summer laid areas in standing crops or when we get into harvest time and shoot the stubble fields it all changes, you should find decoying in stubble with flappers or a magnet will get a very different response from most birds , they can become obsessed with finding a crop full of seed as they compete with other birds for any seed available.

Thank you both for the advice, I`ll certainly keep persisting and trying different things to get the results and I`ll keep you posted on my progress.

Shoot Well Gents !

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