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At last the tide turned - what a day!!

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My shooting this winter has been sad - too many game shoots and not much OSR (flea beetle).

One farm has a large block of OSR, gas guns all around, long hike to get to the middle. 1000's there but they won't decoy, they just "Flock-string" from one place to another. Gas gun goes off, fly to one wood or another, then "Flock-string" to a new place. If you guess where they will go next you can get a shot from behind a hedge before they change the string-line. If you get 10 all day, that's good work.

One other farm has a small block of OSR, gas guns all around, which soon send them off. Farmer patrols on a quad, shooting at them. However, before the guns start, birds would land in large numbers in a nice copse, then drop on the crop for breakfast. If I'm in the copse I can get an hours "roost shooting" at dawn and get a few, once or twice a week. Nice the meet the farmer coming out as I walk off with a handful. Great PR! However, they do wise up and bags get smaller and harder.

BUT, on Monday, only a few single birds show up at my copse, no flocks even come close. (still got 4) Where have they gone? Drive all around and check a nearby couple of fields, recently drilled with beans. I'd seen a few there over the weekend but now they are building up. Went in to see the farmer's son, Matt, and we set yesterday as the day to hit them. It's a long carry to the best spot but Matt will give me and the gear a lift out on the quad at 7.00am, go in for breakfast, then join me in the hide. I set up, GALE force wind on back, but soon-to-rise sun in face. Wind tries to destroy hide, blows birds off magnet. Set up a magnet, 2 floaters, flapper plus 8 dead birds on cocktail sticks.

They start coming from the surrounding woods right away but the wind keeps then so low (2-4 feet off the ground) that the backdrop is the woods and in the half-light they are really hard to even spot, let alone shoot. I do badly, my normal average of 1.5 or 2 to 1 is hammered! Then the sun clears the wood and it gets worse. Sunglasses make it too dark, can't see anything at all. I move to my right and hide behind a tree, the light gets a better angle but they can see me, one movement of a wing and they are gone!

Matt comes back (brings me a coffee - fine Lad!) and we both struggle as we take it in turns to shoot, especially Matt, who is learning. Still, he doesn't get downhearted and is pleased when he does hit the odd bird.  They are very tricky, very cautious and quick to turn away. (Also, there are stock doves mixed in, very hard to ID then in the difficult light.) We change the pattern, take things in, put things out, no change.

At last the pendulum swings a bit in our favour as the sun moves round and get higher, we can ID the incomers by their wing bars, see them better without being dazzled and the hit ratio improves. I even have a few L&Rs. Still very tricky but what sport!!

At the end, we pick 90, God knows how many shots, but an epic day.

More drillings and mashed maize to look forward to!!




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90 on osr is a good day in anybodys book dont bother to count the carts.your rape sounds like mine always there but hard to get a bag.i also struggle to see low birds and cant shoot with sun glasses some times a bit of guess work occurs i think its an age thing. I got a bag of 58 last friday but since then they have left for drill.

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An excellent detailed report which showed that perseverance and determination definitely paid off with a very good bag for this time of year. You are lucky to have drilling where  you are as many areas are far too wet.

Many of us would love to shoot that many in a day so very well done and thanks for posting.


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18 hours ago, Dave-G said:

You did very well there considering the tide. 

Yes, the tide may have come it but at least I filled my boots (also there was water in the ditch!)

They are back today so might tray again tomorrow.....

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