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Old Boggy

Our first roost shoot this year

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Earlier this week Stour Boy and myself ventured out once more fully laden to our hedgerow alongside a rape field, but like the previous week, it was still a great effort again, but this time for little return, namely three pigeons. Our plan therefore today was to have an easier time and so decided to go to one of our favourite little woods for a roost shoot. Today, instead of being burdened with loads of decoying equipment, we had just gun, cartridges and a lightweight seat each, oh and a bit of grub.

We are fortunate that only the two of us plus one other pal shoot this wood, so we have built two permanent hides along the Eastern edge such that with a prevailing SW or W wind, pigeons fly into our sheltered side of the wood. The forecast was for a pretty strong WSW wind so it was ideal. Our hides consist simply of two hazel poles hammered into the ground about eight foot apart with camo netting securely fixed by cable ties, so just a screen about five foot high. Now some may say that one person in each hide would maximise the number of shots and the total bag, but that is not our priority. We tend to share one hide so that we can engage in conversation and banter covering a wide variety of subjects during the usual quiet spells. One such subject this week was sex, where Stour boy stated that he can still get sex at 75, which is handy as he lives at No.68 and it's just a short walk up the road. Sorry, but I must apologise for  including that very very old joke !! 

 Exact wind direction determines which hide we use as experience has taught us how and where the birds will enter the wood. That's the theory anyway. The pigeons sometimes have other ideas.

Having entered the wood from the Western edge, we put out about 50 pigeons downwind with the hope that some may return, not en masse, but in smaller numbers. Our theory of some returning was soon dispelled as nothing came back for the first half an hour.

This particular wood consists primarily of hazel, a couple of oaks and some ash trees, but many are ivy clad on their lower sections, so not only is it used as a roosting wood, but currently used throughout the day by the pigeons feeding on ivy berries. Hence the number already in the wood when we arrived just after midday. It also has much blackthorn along two edges, which along with the hazel shoots provide a good supply of sticks for seasoning and my new found hobby of stickmaking. 

Like all pigeon shooting, anticipation is part of the excitement, but for me, it was not knowing what cake treat Stour boy's wife had sent him out with for us today. I was not disappointed. Some savoury rolls and two large slices of lemon drizzle cake. Marie Antoinette certainly had the right idea "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche". Perhaps in a slightly different context though. My contribution to our 'lunch' were some mini pork pies and hot cross buns, all shop bought and pretty bland by comparison to Stour boy's offerings. Similar to sea fishing in my younger days, it was always inevitable that as soon as I was about to take a bite of a sandwich, I seemed to get a bite. Today was no different. I had a large lump of cake in my mouth when a pigeon approached on my side of the hide. Decker, Stour boy's lab had spotted the pigeon, but was undecided whether to keep an eye on the pigeon or the piece of cake now half in my mouth in the hope that I should drop some. As it turned out, I missed the pigeon anyway. It's such moments when Decker gives us a look as if to say "Well I've spotted, marked, retrieved and bought to hand faultlessly the few that you've managed to shoot so far, but come on boys this is a partnership after all, get a grip and hold the gun a bit straighter". If only we could retain the same concentration as the dog, then perhaps we would do better.

Anyway, a few did return to our wood whilst more were overflying to a larger wood further West, but due to the strong wind, some of these were kept just within range and made for some exciting but very tricky shooting. A few fell way back in the wood but all marked by the dog, if not by sight but by the sound of the drop and all successfully retrieved. Without a dog my guess is that we would have lost about 3 or 4 birds due to the thick undergrowth further back in the wood. My biggest failing is not having the confidence, or ability, of taking the birds well out in front, but waiting for them to be almost overhead. Another fifty seven years shooting might just correct this !  Stour boy on the other hand was shooting well with his 16g Darne with some cracking snap shooting and had four in the bag before I'd managed to touch a feather !

One retrieve of note was a bird that fell and lodged in the ivy about six foot from the ground. Decker heard the fall, went to the spot and whether he could scent the bird or not, but sat there looking up into the tree. He knew it was there somehow. Fortunately, the bird gave one final flap in its death throe and fell out of the tree. The dog very nearly caught it before it hit the ground.

Due the the strong wind the birds only had to flip a wing tip and were away quickly out of range so chances of another barrel were impossible, consequently the few birds that we managed to shoot were most challenging.

The very modest total for our few hours out was a well earned 11 pigeons. We therefore had a most enjoyable afternoon's sport.

Our short return trip back to the car was therefore only very slightly more laden than our walk to the wood, but so different to our last two trips out. Roll on our next dry day out with a strong Westerly and hopefully a few more coming into roost. 

OB

 

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One of the best write ups for a long time. You have now set the bar high for yourself.

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For the entertainment and the enjoyment you three members of your small syndicate had , those 11 pigeons were priceless .

Excellent write up and I hope you have got many more similar days to come.

All the best   MM 

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3 hours ago, JDog said:

One of the best write ups for a long time. You have now set the bar high for yourself.

 And the rest of us! follow that as the saying goes, most enjoyable read.

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On 01/02/2020 at 22:56, Old Boggy said:

Earlier this week Stour Boy and myself ventured out once more fully laden to our hedgerow alongside a rape field, but like the previous week, it was still a great effort again, but this time for little return, namely three pigeons. Our plan therefore today was to have an easier time and so decided to go to one of our favourite little woods for a roost shoot. Today, instead of being burdened with loads of decoying equipment, we had just gun, cartridges and a lightweight seat each, oh and a bit of grub.

We are fortunate that only the two of us plus one other pal shoot this wood, so we have built two permanent hides along the Eastern edge such that with a prevailing SW or W wind, pigeons fly into our sheltered side of the wood. The forecast was for a pretty strong WSW wind so it was ideal. Our hides consist simply of two hazel poles hammered into the ground about eight foot apart with camo netting securely fixed by cable ties, so just a screen about five foot high. Now some may say that one person in each hide would maximise the number of shots and the total bag, but that is not our priority. We tend to share one hide so that we can engage in conversation and banter covering a wide variety of subjects during the usual quiet spells. One such subject this week was sex, where Stour boy stated that he can still get sex at 75, which is handy as he lives at No.68 and it's just a short walk up the road. Sorry, but I must apologise for  including that very very old joke !! 

 Exact wind direction determines which hide we use as experience has taught us how and where the birds will enter the wood. That's the theory anyway. The pigeons sometimes have other ideas.

Having entered the wood from the Western edge, we put out about 50 pigeons downwind with the hope that some may return, not en masse, but in smaller numbers. Our theory of some returning was soon dispelled as nothing came back for the first half an hour.

This particular wood consists primarily of hazel, a couple of oaks and some ash trees, but many are ivy clad on their lower sections, so not only is it used as a roosting wood, but currently used throughout the day by the pigeons feeding on ivy berries. Hence the number already in the wood when we arrived just after midday. It also has much blackthorn along two edges, which along with the hazel shoots provide a good supply of sticks for seasoning and my new found hobby of stickmaking. 

Like all pigeon shooting, anticipation is part of the excitement, but for me, it was not knowing what cake treat Stour boy's wife had sent him out with for us today. I was not disappointed. Some savoury rolls and two large slices of lemon drizzle cake. Marie Antoinette certainly had the right idea "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche". Perhaps in a slightly different context though. My contribution to our 'lunch' were some mini pork pies and hot cross buns, all shop bought and pretty bland by comparison to Stour boy's offerings. Similar to sea fishing in my younger days, it was always inevitable that as soon as I was about to take a bite of a sandwich, I seemed to get a bite. Today was no different. I had a large lump of cake in my mouth when a pigeon approached on my side of the hide. Decker, Stour boy's lab had spotted the pigeon, but was undecided whether to keep an eye on the pigeon or the piece of cake now half in my mouth in the hope that I should drop some. As it turned out, I missed the pigeon anyway. It's such moments when Decker gives us a look as if to say "Well I've spotted, marked, retrieved and bought to hand faultlessly the few that you've managed to shoot so far, but come on boys this is a partnership after all, get a grip and hold the gun a bit straighter". If only we could retain the same concentration as the dog, then perhaps we would do better.

Anyway, a few did return to our wood whilst more were overflying to a larger wood further West, but due to the strong wind, some of these were kept just within range and made for some exciting but very tricky shooting. A few fell way back in the wood but all marked by the dog, if not by sight but by the sound of the drop and all successfully retrieved. Without a dog my guess is that we would have lost about 3 or 4 birds due to the thick undergrowth further back in the wood. My biggest failing is not having the confidence, or ability, of taking the birds well out in front, but waiting for them to be almost overhead. Another fifty seven years shooting might just correct this !  Stour boy on the other hand was shooting well with his 16g Darne with some cracking snap shooting and had four in the bag before I'd managed to touch a feather !

One retrieve of note was a bird that fell and lodged in the ivy about six foot from the ground. Decker heard the fall, went to the spot and whether he could scent the bird or not, but sat there looking up into the tree. He knew it was there somehow. Fortunately, the bird gave one final flap in its death throe and fell out of the tree. The dog very nearly caught it before it hit the ground.

Due the the strong wind the birds only had to flip a wing tip and were away quickly out of range so chances of another barrel were impossible, consequently the few birds that we managed to shoot were most challenging.

The very modest total for our few hours out was a well earned 11 pigeons. We therefore had a most enjoyable afternoon's sport.

Our short return trip back to the car was therefore only very slightly more laden than our walk to the wood, but so different to our last two trips out. Roll on our next dry day out with a strong Westerly and hopefully a few more coming into roost. 

OB

 

Excellent reading Chris, scare some over my way please !

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