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LGB

Can it be too windy for pigeons to feed?

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Afternoon all,

I am a novice pigeon shooter and fairly new PW member. I read as many posts as I can looking to pick up invaluable hints and tips.

I had a free afternoon on Saturday and headed out to a farm upon which I have permission to shoot. I had been reliably informed by the farmer that he had recently drilled the fields and "pigeons were about".

A friend and I turned up mid-morning, had a good stroll around the farm with some binoculars and to stretch our legs, in order to see where the birds were feeding. Unfortunately neither of us have the time mid-week to do as much recon (or any!) as we would like and so it is very much a "turn up on the day, have a look about, and choose what feels to be the best place to set up".

We spotted a good 50-80 birds feeding on a corner of a large, recently drilled field. There were a number of large oaks in the corner of the field acting as sitty trees. It seemed as good a place as any we had seen and so we walked them off, set up our hide in 25/30mph winds(!!) and placed out around 10 half shell decoys in an L pattern.

There we sat for four hours, mainly shivering and waiting, barring shooting the odd bird which decoyed or flirted with the pattern!

Apart from a very slow drip of about half a dozen birds committing/flirting with the decoys over the course of the whole afternoon, the large numbers we walked off had disappeared.

The wind picked up throughout the afternoon and was really gusting.

From your experience, do the pigeons like to hunker down and avoid feeding when it is THAT windy?

Any tips would be grateful.

Thanks

LGB  

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I have experienced good numbers moving around on windy days , but there seems to be a cut off point where they just give up and stay out of the wind, 

On very windy days I like to find a sheltered side of a wood or thick hedge, just put a few decoys out but no floaters or magnets, there will always be a few birds looking for shelter and other birds, but I have never had a decent bag on these days , just enough to keep it interesting, and there is always the super challenging down wind shots , well worth it if you get one or two of those. 

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14 hours ago, lakeside1000 said:

I have experienced good numbers moving around on windy days , but there seems to be a cut off point where they just give up and stay out of the wind, 

On very windy days I like to find a sheltered side of a wood or thick hedge, just put a few decoys out but no floaters or magnets, there will always be a few birds looking for shelter and other birds, but I have never had a decent bag on these days , just enough to keep it interesting, and there is always the super challenging down wind shots , well worth it if you get one or two of those. 

Cheers Lakeside, all noted.

I think we saw the good numbers moving around, just may have been a little too late to the feeding party!

My mate hit a cracker downwind within 5 minutes and we thought that would be the start of a good day... it just sadly didn't materialise that way.

Won't stop me trying. Out again on Sunday so hoping for some better conditions, the right spot and a solid bag.

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I prefer it to-be a bit windy 10-15 mph, 25-30 mph is a bit strong but I have shot some decent bags in those conditions, only problem is keeping your hide up right.

You say decent numbers moving about, were you not able to get under/pull those?

50-100 on the field at midday is not a lot of birds, did you sit and watch to see where any returning birds wanted?

Generally pigeon are happier on the wing in strong winds, always amazes me how they use the wind to just slip across fields in the blink of an eye, they must be doing 80-100 mph in strong winds.

To answer your question can it be too windy for pigeons, yes it can, but having said that I have only seen that twice in 50+ years where birds were unable to fly, I remember one outing during winter when the wind was so strong it was blowing pigeons out of the sky, the birds that were on the rape field were not feeding but lying close to the ground with their heads into the wind, occasionally one would get caught by a gust and get bowled over with feather flying everywhere, at one point I thought it was going to tip the car over it was so strong, needless to say I never setup.

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LGB, I'm sorry that you have not had many responses to your perfectly valid query. I will try to make amends.

In the really heavy winds pigeons still had to go out feeding and did so by either flying very low to their chosen field or they flew to either woods or hedges alongside rape fields and just sat up in the shelter until they simply dropped down from their perches to feed.

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Posted (edited)

I my expirence in very strong wind they tend to ground hug or fly along valleys or follow streams.,As JDog stated they will sit in hedges or trees and drop to the ground out of the way of the wind in the sun if possible. You did the right thing by watching the field and seeing the place they want to drop in but the problem is they do not always return.

Edited by pigeon controller

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As JDog rightly said above, pigeons still have to feed but will chose the lee side of any available hedge or wood in order to do so. They will also take advantage of valleys to flight out to their chosen field so that energy is conserved as much as possible. Just read PC`s post which slightly beat me to it but on the same lines.

OB

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Gentleman

I am very grateful you have taken your time to post these useful tips and comments. These will all be taken on board in the future.

 

Old'un - it was more a case that the numbers were apparent when we set up, they were walked off and simply did not return. It was as though the wind was spooking/keeping them at bay. Also, despite our best efforts, the hide was flapping slightly so I wonder if this movement put any birds in flight off.

J Dog - whilst we didn't see many generally, a handful of large (presumably older) pigeons appeared to be doing exactly what you described in a large oak to the left of our hide. However they did not drop in to the pattern and were out of range.

PC - that is very interesting to note as there is a river that cuts through the farm on which I shoot. Whilst technically it is a river, the part which flows through the farm is more stream-like. Will always look to keep by this if shooting in high winds again.

Old Boggy - Don't let PC beat you to the mark next time haha!! Thanks for commenting though.

 

Out on Sunday and forecast for where I am is a slight breeze but nowhere near the levels of last Saturday.

Hoping for a better day, looking to get over to the farm on Saturday with the binoculars for an hour or so. Stretch the legs and look to see where they are feeding and for any lines, then will set up accordingly on the Sunday.

Thanks again all.

LGB

 

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"Look for pigeons in the air, not on the ground" is a famous old pigeon shooting quote. Walking off a small bunch of pigeons (100) from a field is certainly no guarantee of sport. If you had spotted a good amount of birds on the ground, with fresh arrivals every 30 seconds, you would have perhaps had more reason to be optimistic. I have walked off clouds of pigeons from fields in the past for very modest reward. I remember a few years back, when I put off well over 1000 pigeons from a bean stubble. The day yielded just 40.

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Posted (edited)

Farmer phoned yesterday to say lots of pigeons on rape where  we shot earlier in the week with only a slight breeze.   Went across this morning 10 am and not  a pigeon to be seen, came home via 3 other farms including viewing a rape field which has been hard hit nothing.  33 miles in total and saw no birds in the trees or on the ground.  I am quite sure that under extreme windy conditions pigeon shall sit tight in shelter, especially at this time of year as days lengthen  and they have ample time to feed.

 

Blackpowder

Should have said it was blowing a gale this morning

Edited by Blackpowder

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19 hours ago, motty said:

"Look for pigeons in the air, not on the ground" is a famous old pigeon shooting quote. Walking off a small bunch of pigeons (100) from a field is certainly no guarantee of sport. If you had spotted a good amount of birds on the ground, with fresh arrivals every 30 seconds, you would have perhaps had more reason to be optimistic. I have walked off clouds of pigeons from fields in the past for very modest reward. I remember a few years back, when I put off well over 1000 pigeons from a bean stubble. The day yielded just 40.

Cheers Motty, will keep that saying in mind. Upon giving it some more thought I think it was as much about the fact that birds are still hitting the winter rape hard (as opposed to drillings) where I am in Essex. From above, I think the wind definitely went against me.

Unfortunately the farmer didn't sow any winter rape for this year and I will have to make best with what he has sown.

Oh well, still a lot to learn!

Not seen huge numbers like 1000+ on fields where I have permission... put it this way would be very happy with a bag of 40. It isn't a huge farm and I count myself fairly lucky to have pretty much exclusive shooting rights (with a small group of friends). Will help out where I can.

 

1 hour ago, Blackpowder said:

Farmer phoned yesterday to say lots of pigeons on rape where  we shot earlier in the week with only a slight breeze.   Went across this morning 10 am and not  a pigeon to be seen, came home via 3 other farms including viewing a rape field which has been hard hit nothing.  33 miles in total and saw no birds in the trees or on the ground.  I am quite sure that under extreme windy conditions pigeon shall sit tight in shelter, especially at this time of year as days lengthen  and they have ample time to feed.

 

Blackpowder

Should have said it was blowing a gale this morning

Thanks Blackpowder, sounds as though you had a similar level of frustration to me!

 

Back out Sunday, will keep trying and learning hopefully.

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You've been given lots of sensible advice already.

The other challenge is plentiful food supplies. If you put the pigeons up, they might just s*d off to another field if there is plenty around. You can't do much about that.

Ideally - you'd walk them off and then watch to see if they return. If not, it may be a non-starter. I've always had better days on skinnier flight lines with ones and twos coming in. I find a flock of 1000 can can just relocate and you see nothing all day. 

I've never had much success in windy conditions as there just seem to be so many variables.

Hope you have a good session at the weekend.

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On ‎25‎/‎03‎/‎2019 at 13:13, hedge said:

You've been given lots of sensible advice already.

The other challenge is plentiful food supplies. If you put the pigeons up, they might just s*d off to another field if there is plenty around. You can't do much about that.

Ideally - you'd walk them off and then watch to see if they return. If not, it may be a non-starter. I've always had better days on skinnier flight lines with ones and twos coming in. I find a flock of 1000 can can just relocate and you see nothing all day. 

I've never had much success in windy conditions as there just seem to be so many variables.

Hope you have a good session at the weekend.

Hedge

Many thanks, more good advice which will be taken on board.

I think my friend and I have found a "skinny" flight line at the farm this weekend.  Had some nice ones, twos and threes committing to the pattern (at the moment it is a stationary pattern of half shells, with dead birds added as shot)... only trouble was we both shot poorly this time! Still a handful of birds for the pot and another lesson learned.

I also borrowed my Boss' semi auto to try and despite a thorough clean the day before it was not cycling well, and was inconsistent. Don't get me wrong, I did not shoot brilliantly, but the bag should have been well into double figures comfortably but for the first cartridge not ejecting. Frustrating! Stupidly I left my O/U in the car a good way away and stuck with the semi all morning.

Next step is back to the O/U firstly. Then I want to try sillosocks over our half shells (the half shells seem quite shiny). Also it was very apparent that we need to add a magnet and/or flapper to the pattern. Whilst birds committed fairly regularly, a lot more flew over and didn't really give the pattern a second glance.

Funds permitting, hoping to pick these up before my next outing.

Only my fourth time in the hide so it is all a learning curve.

Cheers

LGB

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Glad to hear you are making progress.

Ref the semi-auto, what cartridges were you using? Mine only likes 70mm. Anything else won't cycle properly. If you don't have 70mm, try loading only 2 shells (1 in mag, 1 in breech). Mine can cope with that.

As for your shells/pattern. Magnets and flappers are no guarantee that the passing pigeons will commit. If they are going somewhere else, they'll just keep going. Depends if they are browsing for food or just passing through. I've had mixed success with and without.

Shiny shells aren't great. You can get matt grey spray paint and just add the white bits  - nice bit of DIY. Archie Coats used to use grey socks, so anything works!

Keep us posted.

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4 hours ago, LGB said:

Hedge

Many thanks, more good advice which will be taken on board.

I think my friend and I have found a "skinny" flight line at the farm this weekend.  Had some nice ones, twos and threes committing to the pattern (at the moment it is a stationary pattern of half shells, with dead birds added as shot)... only trouble was we both shot poorly this time! Still a handful of birds for the pot and another lesson learned.

I also borrowed my Boss' semi auto to try and despite a thorough clean the day before it was not cycling well, and was inconsistent. Don't get me wrong, I did not shoot brilliantly, but the bag should have been well into double figures comfortably but for the first cartridge not ejecting. Frustrating! Stupidly I left my O/U in the car a good way away and stuck with the semi all morning.

Next step is back to the O/U firstly. Then I want to try sillosocks over our half shells (the half shells seem quite shiny). Also it was very apparent that we need to add a magnet and/or flapper to the pattern. Whilst birds committed fairly regularly, a lot more flew over and didn't really give the pattern a second glance.

Funds permitting, hoping to pick these up before my next outing.

Only my fourth time in the hide so it is all a learning curve.

Cheers

LGB

Firstly , learn by your mistakes , it don't matters how long we have been pigeon shooting we all make mistakes , maybe not so many now, but we still make the odd one .

Try setting your decoy pattern up to how you like shooting the best , either head on , right to left or left to right , this will make you shoot better and then you will get the confidence to take the harder one's on . 

Stick with the gun you are used to , by trying other guns you will be shooting all over the place and there wont be any advantage whatsoever .

If you are going to use shell decoys use the ones that are flocked , not perfect but dont shine as much as the ones that are not flocked.

Set your decoys up on cradles or spikes so they show above ground level and add the dead ones as soon as you get them .

Invest in a magnet or flapper , the magnet might not be every ones choice but I still believe overall you will get more shooting with one than if you didn't use one , 

GOOD LUCK  and keep experimenting with the set ups , each day will bring a different challenge.

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