Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TDS1

Introduction to pigeons

Recommended Posts

Having enjoyed reading the reports on this page for some time I thought I’d add my own.

 

I’m still pretty new to shooting, having started about a year ago, but I’ve had a few lessons and my friend has been patiently showing me the ropes and encouraging me on the bad days.  Just before the game season started I’d reached the point where I was typically getting high 20’s/low 30’s out of 50 at our local clay club and I was lucky enough to get a few game days during the season when I’ve not disgraced myself, plus our beaters day (I’ve enjoyed beating almost as much as the shooting itself). 

 

To continue my education my friend has taken me roost shooting the past few weekends with the warning that it can be “quite challenging.”  That has proven to be a huge understatement.

 

I’m normally OK at snap shooting (the oscillating trap is my favourite at the clay club), so I thought pigeons might be ‘my thing.’  It turns out that I think they are, but not for the reason I thought.

 

The first afternoon I had over 20 shots before I first connected, and I ended up with a ratio of over 10:1.  However, in amongst that was a real belter of a right to left crosser about 40 yards up that I was really pleased with.

 

The second afternoon my ratio improved to 8:1 so still pretty dire, but learning from my first experience I made a conscious effort to be much slower with my movements so there were fewer occasions where I was right on the bird only for it to flare and jink just as I went to shoot.  I’d also bought a face mask to better conceal myself, which I’m sure helped, together with the fact we’d pulled a load of fallen braches together to make a hide in front of the tree I’d chosen to stand under.  Again, in amongst the many misses were a few shots I was really chuffed with, but this visit was also particularly pleasing as I took my young dog with me.  He’s my first dog and it’s fair to say he’s got the better of me in most respects (I needed an old banger but I’ve managed to land myself with a Ferrari with the traction control turned off!), but he sat beautifully throughout, never making so much as a whimper.  When I eventually got the chance to send him for a retrieve he was out like a rocket, picked the bird beautifully and brought it straight back to hand.  It was the first bird I’ve shot that he’s retrieved and I’m really not sure who enjoyed it the most, but it was a special moment.

 

We went again this weekend just gone, and again my ratio improved, this time to just over 6:1 by the end.  Still not brilliant, I know, but at least I keep improving.  We got there early this time and for the first few hours I had little luck.  I’d built myself a little hide by the very edge of the wood thinking it would make it easier to see the pigeons as they came in, but I must have done a pretty poor job as they kept flaring away at the last minute, resulting in numerous wasted shots. Then the last hour it suddenly came together.  I’d moved back into the wood to the hide I’d used before and as the light started to drop the pigeons came in thick and fast.  I dropped 10 birds in the space of as many minutes, including one really high bird that my friend saw from over the other side of the wood and congratulated me on at the end, so it must have been a good shot.  Once again my dog was out with me and filled his boots, clearly loving every second.

 

So, in summary, I’m hooked.  The shooting is really challenging, but all the more rewarding for it and has pushed me to up my game.  In the process I’ve also found an activity my dog not only loves, but (so far) seems willing to work with me at – he may never be a beating or peg dog, but maybe pigeons is what he was meant for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant report................:good:

truthful as well...........hope to see many more reports from you....................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that report TDS1 very well written and enjoyable read, hope you and the dog enjoy many more such adventures and you continue to report your exploits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with ditchman , a good honest report of your introduction to roost shooting and the early signs of a good gun dog in the making .

Welcome aboard and looking forward to more reports over the coming months .:good:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found roost shooting one of the hardest forms of shooting there is last game day first drive 4 out of 6 pheasants next I was sat in the field waiting for the birds to be flushed but they all went back on themselves so I had a go at pigeons   5 out of 6 being pushed by a strong wind , later roost shooting still windy small window to it them 27 shells later 1 pigeon so I thought s** this so I started having a go at the crows 3 out of 5 , so don't feel to bad about your efforts ,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice write up. Don't measure the day by the size of the bag, or the number of shots, but by the pleasure you get out of it. 😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad the shooting is going well.

A word of warning, however. Be careful with giving your young dog too much activity, too soon. It can be very easy to ruin a dog without realising you are doing it. Act in haste - repent at your leisure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good honest and well written report of your introduction to roost shooting, the cream of sport.

Please keep us informed of further forays.

Thanks for posting.

OB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, motty said:

Glad the shooting is going well.

A word of warning, however. Be careful with giving your young dog too much activity, too soon. It can be very easy to ruin a dog without realising you are doing it. Act in haste - repent at your leisure.

just to add to what motty said.................

dont let your dog pick every bird to begin with..........when you drop a bird ...just leave it there for a while....then walk out and you pick it............then the dog will realise that it is not its god given right to everything that is downed ...and it will steady the dog up more ...

its only a little thing but it will make a difference in the long run.....it will train it to look at you for instruction..:good:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First time I went roost shooting was in 1976 or thereabouts. Aged seventeen. I fired off a box of Eley Grand Prix 20 Bore #5. I managed to hit one pigeon. And even that wasn't dead but brought down and i had to dispatch it humanely! My father said when we were re-united after dusk and we were back together at the car that he was expecting a "plague of pigeons" from all the shooting he'd heard! So well done...you average first time out was three times better than mine!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a good day just don't get hung up on the cartridge ratio just enjoy it who gives a toss if its 25_1 as long as you had a good time that's all that matters. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn’t agree more with the comments , esp the shots - kill ratio , don’t get that in your head just go out and  enjoy ! If I can get out in the countryside and enjoy the day I don’t worry if I used fifty carts and came home empty , enjoy the day and good luck 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice write up. Reminds me of myself when i first got my gun and licence. When i was working day shift I finished early on fridays... straight home grabbed my jacket, game bag, gun and a full belt of cartridges. For a while I was coming home with an empty belt and empty game bag. Perseverance and getting educated through the advice of my next door neighbour...a through and through shooter and countryman led to eventual success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Pigeonaholics Anonymous.

😃😃😃

Mate you're already shaping up nicely, it sounds like you're a natural, but even so in 5 years time you'll realise the learning curve you've been on.  Your friend was very honest with you, shooting pigeons flighting/roosting is at times a form of addictive self-torture.  It's the only pigeon shooting I really get now as my other commitments have pretty much stopped me from decoying, but it's the kind of shooting I enjoy the most.  I say that with a pang of guilt, as I'm heavily involved in the game syndicate I'm a member of and we have just finished a really special season of the kind probably never to be repeated!

I do agree with the above comments that you shouldn't get too hooked up on your cartridge/kill ratio, BUT it can help you to improve, by trying to discipline yourself not to take too many no-hope shots.  You never know how many incoming birds you scare away that you might have been able to shoot because you let loose on a silly one you had no chance of downing.  Try to imprint in your memory both the ones you miss and the ones you hit.  The idea is to build up a memory bank of how to deal with differently presented targets so after a while it becomes second nature, and you're only shooting at the ones you've got a decent chance of hitting....

Cartridge economy all depends on the situation you're in (and how lucky or not you are in terms of access to good, reliable roosting woods).  For example, there are the rare (for me) occasions when you find yourself in the right spot and the pigeons are just so intent on roosting in that wood that you just can't scare them away no matter how many shots you fire at them.  You'll get good value for money out of your cartridges.  (That sort of thing normally happens on a stormy, very windy afternoon).

In contrast, you'll have a day like I did last Saturday when your chosen wood was stuffed with birds the week before but a week later very few are coming in - and no matter where you re-position yourself you can't get under them.  I had 14 shots for 3 picked and I left in a huff because I shot like a **** and squandered a lot of chances!

Then you'll get days like I had today, a short session, only a few birds shot but a big smile on your face.  That's the beauty of this sport in my opinion, it's never the same twice so it always keeps you on your toes and interested in what you're doing.  You never think you've sussed it, you just keep going out and trying to improve, and as long as you're enjoying yourself that's what it's all about :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your report reminded me of a very windy day in Hertfordshire flight lining. The 2 folk I was with are far better shots than I yet none of us connected at all over around 3 hours - not even a white b** feather. When you have a calm evening and you are not connecting that will be the time to question yourself, not with the current winds we are having.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick update from me.

 

We were back in the woods again this weekend for a tale of pros and cons. 

 

We got there a bit earlier and settled in.  After another week of rain ‘my tree’ had a lot of standing water around it so I spent the first 20 or so minutes covering that over with branches and deadfall to provide a stable, dry base to stand on.  I’d also bought a military surplus basha mid-week that I plan to use for a hide later in the season, but which doubled on this occasion as a bed for the dog.  I’d also brought a longer lead with me, to see how he reacted with a bit more freedom.  Once sorted we both settled in and waited.

 

After about 20 minutes of nothing a pigeon drifted along the hedgerow and up over the top of me (I stand under a tree about 40 yards into a wood on the edge of a hedgerow).  This time I didn’t rush and waited until it was right in my sweet spot then, bang, down it came.  However, before I could congratulate myself I sensed something to my right, twisting 90 degrees just as another pigeon flared up over the edge of the wood from the side.  This time there was no time to think and I shot on instinct. Down it came too.  2 for 2.  Moments later another came along, this time moving faster and slightly higher up.  Buoyed with my early success I went after it, hitting it flush and down it came too, hitting the ground hard.  Two more followed shortly after to leave me 5 for 5 within the first hour.

 

I was tempted to leave at that point and of course my form didn’t continue, but it was a brilliant start and showed me that waiting and only taking birds I knew were in range was the right strategy.  After that it was a bit of a strange afternoon with long periods of no or out of range birds (that I eventually lost discipline on and started to take a pop at out of frustration), followed by short flurries of in-range activity.  I ended the day 17 for 57, so only a little over the 3:1 ratio I aspire to (I know you’ve all told me not to count, but I do like to keep tabs).  My friend, sitting on the far side of the wood, bagged over 40 so it was a good afternoon for both of us.

 

Unfortunately, my dog didn’t go as well this time.  Previously, I’ve tied his normal lead to my tree and he’s sat beautifully, but this time I took a longer lead to see how he’d react with more freedom.  Either he’s worked out what’s going on or my improved shooting has taught him that a bang normally means a retrieve.  As a result, he kept standing up and a few times he even started to dash out, only for the lead to stop him and me to put him back in his place.  As a result, I kept him tethered and only let him have a couple of retrieves, deliberately walking out to pick the birds he could see and making a show of doing so.  He clearly wasn’t best pleased by this as the few retrieves I did give him weren’t as clean as before and on one he dropped it by my feet rather than offering it up to me as he normally does, before then dashing back off into the wood and hunting around, ignoring my recall whistle.  As a result, I had to go and bring him back, and I only gave him one more retrieve after that much later on when I was confident that he’d calmed down (which, to his credit, he did deliver nicely to hand, albeit he tried to dash off again only for me to give a gruff shout and he begrudgingly skulked back). 

 

I try to focus on the positives (the good retrieves, no whining (etc.)), and I know that he’s still young at just over 2, but whereas other dogs seem to love to please, and want to do the right thing, mine seems intent on doing precisely what he wants despite all my efforts to the contrary. The funny thing is that he’s the biggest softy in the house and foot perfect on dummies when training on the drive and in the garden.  However, get him out in the field and on the real thing and he turns into this ferocious 100mph hunting machine that, in truth, I am barely in control of even at the best of times.

 

We’ve got a few weeks off now, so I’m going to do plenty of steadiness work and hope that helps.  I’ve also made friends with a local gun dog trainer so I will hopefully pop over to see him too and see what tips he’s got (this time last year my dog was so wild outside the house that I was at my wits end, but he’s helped me turn him around to the point we’re at now, so I’m sure he’ll know what to do).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm guessing it's a spaniel? 😝

In my experiences you've got what you've got.  Mine are 8 and 10 now and despite all my best efforts they'd not exactly fare well in a field trial!

Ironically, I think pigeon shooting ruined them.  They were pretty steady to shot until I took them roost shooting; also their steadiness declined noticeably when I started shooting ferals around a grain store - they used to pile out of the car and run as fast as they could to the spot where I most often dropped the birds, then dance about looking skyward waiting for them to fall!  What they didn't realise is that in doing so they scared off the birds that were sitting up there before I was even within 100yds of them with my gun!  :angry:

I didn't like having them both on leads whilst walking along with the gun because the ground was a bit rough and slippery and I had to be ready to take a shot with no notice.  Even after quite some time of tying them down whilst shooting they would still go beserk when off the lead, they never lost the habit.  Prevention is better than cure!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...