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Old Boggy

Back to the hard slog

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On our last couple of outings, Stour Boy and myself have opted for shooting our favourite little wood involving minimum gear, just gun, cartridges, lightweight seat and a bit of food. However, in front of the wood is an expanse of rough cover consisting mainly of brambles. This has fairly recently been cut back leaving cut up brambles on the ground. Perfectly OK for us booted humans but not so for Stour Boy's poor old labrador Decker who has suffered with thorns in his pads. 

So yesterday being the best day weather wise, saw us back to our rape field once more laden with all our decoying gear. It was the least we could do for the dog as we certainly didn't wish him any further discomfort especially after his faultless retrieving during previous forays. The thought of leaving him behind was not even a option.

With a dry forecast and a strong SW wind we set forth for our few hours afield. Afternoons are our current preference so we set out and were parked ready for the 394 yard hike (Google Earth is a wonderfully accurate tool). This was in stark contrast to our 212 yard lightweight strolls to our wood.

Whilst getting loaded up, one of the farm lads came up (almost laughing at the amount of gear we had) armed with a rocket he was going to fire over an adjacent rape field which was attracting about a hundred swans doing obvious damage to the crop. We convinced him that any shooting that we were about to do would keep the swans away, as we knew that one of those rockets would have sent all our proposed pigeons into the next county.

On reaching our hide position in the lee of an ivy clad tree we quickly set up. This is done without a word spoken as we now know who does what. Stour Boy sets up the hide and I do the rotary and the dozen half shell flocked decoys on springy metal supports giving quite a lifelike movement in the wind. We no longer take dead birds as decoys, only two for the rotary. We know that dead birds are best but for our short trips out, further weight has to be eliminated where possible.

It was evident from a strip of 'mullered' (that's our term for where the rape's been eaten almost down to the ground) rape running from the hedge line out about 12 feet into the field that the pigeons had been landing in the trees and just dropping down to feed. There were also some larger patches similarly 'mullered' further out in the field. All other areas of the rape were a good foot tall. The rotary was set slightly upwind within some tall rape with the decoys set on the 'mullered' bits further in where they were more visible. Any shots taken would therefore be over the taller rape.

The wind was blowing from right to left slightly from behind so any birds approaching would be left to right, which for us two southpaws would be the optimum for body swing etc. That's the theory anyway. We were soon to dispel that one !

It wasn't long before we had birds coming in, some taking us by surprise being low from the left and out in front before we had chance to get on them. We tend to take it in turns to shoot with the other ready to perform an 'eye wipe' should a double miss occur. However, with the strong wind there was very little chance of this or even a second barrel as with the wind, they tipped a wing and were out of range in an instant. There were times when small bunches came in where the text books tell you to let one settle and shoot one behind etc. This scenario didn't occur and where in theory we should have each had a right and left, we were very lucky to have one each, or even one between us. It was certainly very tricky but sporting shooting.

Normally our 'lunch' is taken where we have a bit of a yarn. However, we decided to take it turns to eat with the other on 'watch', such was the lack of lulls between action. Due to dropping most birds in the taller rape, Decker was sent to retrieve straight away as he marked every bird as it fell so minimising any lost birds. It was a mixture of some easy birds in front, some stonking ones going away and many bad misses. 

Our 'tucker' this time consisted of our own sandwiches and the usual pork and pickle pies but this time it was 'sans moutarde' and not 'avec moutarde' as StourBoy, bless him, forgot the damn mustard :mad:. However, to make up for this misdemeanour he brought along two large chunks of homemade apple cake (Thankyou Mrs Stour boy :thanks:). With that finished, Stourboy then produced what looked like a packet of chocolate cup cakes. Chocolate on the outside, but filled with peanut butter ! An odd combination, but quite tasty nevertheless. I've never had salty tasting chocolate before.

Anyway we finished our three hour session picking up 21 pigeons with two hard hit and dropping dead way out on the other side of the field and irretrievable and one dropping from a nearby tree right in the middle of a wide dyke. It was decided not to send the dog as he would no doubt stink pretty badly after jumping in for the retrieve and we had to travel home with him in the car. Stour boy did suggest that we send him in to retrieve and let him run behind the car for the mile home, but I think that was a little tongue in cheek.

With more accurate shooting we should perhaps have shot double that amount but we convinced ourselves that would have only contributed even more to the slog back to the car. Good excuse for missing don't you think  :whistling:.

Like all days in the field, there is always something other than the shooting that is notable. This time, not only was it the amount of cormorants flying really low in the wind, or the buzzard hovering menacingly over the decoys but a sparrow hawk spotting the aforementioned pigeon as it fell into the dyke taking a swoop at it but too late, the pigeon was in the water and the hawk decided against a swim. It was in this field last year on a wheat stubble where we counted in excess of 2000 cormorants flying over our spot heading for lakes about three miles away. Just cannot imagine what that number do to fish stocks. Another shooting pal has a 'licence to cull'  4 in a year. That's really going to make inroads into their numbers !

A few of the birds were held back for home consumption and for the rotary next time out with the rest going to our local game dealer where we log up a 'tab' and then do a barter for pheasants or ducks. I returned home to the lovely aroma of a pot roast mallard that I had put on earlier complete with chunky veg etc. A day doesn't get much better than that and it's one more that cannot be taken away.

Sorry about the long drawn out waffle this time, but thanks for reading.

OB

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Old Boggy

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A great write up OB....lots of detail it felt like I was with you in the hide. Thank you for sharing

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5 minutes ago, pigeon controller said:

It's nice to read of someone getting out, we are just looking and not setting up as the birds move off and don't return.

Thanks for the write up.

Nowhere near the numbers that you and DB shoot, but we don't have your dedication, determination or stamina.

OB

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Well done boy that's a mammoth write up great day out, you do seem to eat an awful lot on your trips, i would be as fat as a pig eating all that for lunch. 

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That is exactly what we like OB , a long drawn out waffle , good to thinks about the dogs comfort as well as your own and I am sure if he could talk he would be saying Thanks .

I was with my young(ish) mate Saturday afternoon and we ended up with 20 , nice afternoon but it would have been even better with a nice slice of your Apple cake instead of my crusty roll with a lump of cheese thrown in , washed down with a cup of coffee .

We also had a young un in the bag and this afternoon I went down down the marsh and got seven before rain stopped play yet again , and in this small bag was another young one , never took much notice in the past ,but I cant remember getting young ones in February.

Look forward to your next report , and more so the culinary delights you two are going to indulge in , all the best MM :good:

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A sublime post OB.

One of my many pet dislikes is packing up food for an outing. Mostly I take nothing but a drink. One would have thought that some of the chaps I take out would have noticed this and provisioned for two. Sadly this never happens.

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45 minutes ago, JDog said:

A sublime post OB.

One of my many pet dislikes is packing up food for an outing. Mostly I take nothing but a drink. One would have thought that some of the chaps I take out would have noticed this and provisioned for two. Sadly this never happens.

Should i post this on to your nurses or do you think thy may read it themselves.

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13 minutes ago, dead eye alan said:

Should i post this on to your nurses or do you think thy may read it themselves.

It may have been a premature act but I have dispensed with the services of my nurses.

 

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1 minute ago, JDog said:

It may have been a premature act but I have dispensed with the services of my nurses.

 

That's a great sign your well on the mend, nice to here. 

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2 hours ago, JDog said:

A sublime post OB.

One of my many pet dislikes is packing up food for an outing. Mostly I take nothing but a drink. One would have thought that some of the chaps I take out would have noticed this and provisioned for two. Sadly this never happens.

Most of the time I am by myself with just my dog as company , but when in the warmer weather we go for longer periods my wife pack up the dogs dinner , when it is time for a break , I look forward to sharing part of my hard crusty cheese roll with Bobbie , in return for some of the goodies in his lunch box which is often far better than mine .

When your companions read your above post I can see you putting on weight with the delights that will be coming your way on your fore coming days out together . well we hope so anyhow .

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