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kitchrat

What a difference a week makes, or does it??

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Posted (edited)

Adzyvilla has beaten me to it again, I went down the pub instead of to the keyboard!

Still, I hope it's worth writing/reading:

My scouting showed that the drilled beans fields had dried up, not 1 bird there compared to the 1000's last week, so I was not optimistic. Arriving at the wood at 2.00pm again, the departure of 2 birds instead of 500 confirmed my fears.

The wood I can shoot is 21 acres of huge  trees. Although it's a good roosting wood, the chance of birds coming to land where you can reach them is slim, so unless there are loads about (like last week) you are in trouble. I have noticed that large groups of birds tend to circle before plumping into the middle of the wood, whilst small groups of 1-5 tend to go straight in, especially later in the evening. Of course, nothing attracts pigeons like a group of pigeons. My normal plan is to wait until a group land in the middle of the wood , then work round to be downwind of them and intercept the next lot going to join them. I don't usually try to stalk birds as it's usually non-productive and frustrating but as I'm early and I expect few birds, it's the only game in town.

So, I sneak about a bit until I see a single bird 150 yds away, up wind so his back is to me. I flit from tree to tree, Indian style. (Sorry can't say that, not PC). I flit from tree to tree, First Nations style, getting into a clump of laurel bushes/trees until I'm only about 45 yds away from my intended victim. A 36gm, #4 Black Gold goes into the 1/2 choke barrel, bead on the bird, bang, he flies away seemingly untouched! DAMM, you know it doesn't often work!, especially shooting from behind them but otherwise they see you.

So I go back to my window of last week and wait.

A long pause...….

At last a good group show up but from the wrong direction and catch me out but circle round and land in the middle but not far away. I wait for more to join them.

A long pause...…

I get frustrated and resort to plan B, First Nation style to 45-50 yds, 36gm #4, bang, stone dead bird!! No blank tonight!!

Back to the window, A long pause.....

At last another group show up but from the wrong direction again, not in my "wheelhouse" but I shoot at one anyway, no result. At least I know where they are coming from so move to a new window, where a gap in the trees offers a temping way in for small groups to land straight in, when coming from today's approach direction. I pretend to be a bramble bush.

A long pause...…A long pause...…A long pause...…A long pause...…

After these 4 pauses I am rewarded by a sight of 4 paws as a badger pops out of a sett about 10 yds away and trundles off!! Makes my day!!

My luck has changed! Soon after badger sighting, lone bird (Nobby No-mates) dives straight into the top of a larch tree. I see him at the last second and nail him as his landing gear comes out. He doesn't drop but is lodged in the top of the tree. Initially I'm cursing but soon a reasonable number of Nobbys are drifting into my window. I'm sure Dead Nobby was pulling them. I reckon 50% of the (few) birds coming to the 21-acre wood come near my window.They are still not simple but I'm back in the game.

Finish with a dozen, including 2 (yes 2!) lodged in trees.

A good end to 2020 roosting, the last Saturday Feb 29th I'll be shooting as the next one isn't for 28 years....

Edited by kitchrat

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Great report,  was right there with you.  Yeah why is it so easy not to nail a sitter, very frustrating. Sounded very typical winter pigeon shooting,  but better than couch potatoe-ing

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nice effort the roosters always feel like they are worth ten easy ones over the decoys i just came of a couple of hours on the rape only had half a dozen but a good day because i notice the ivy berries are almost gone so they should hit the rape now they had a real taste for them round here this year it’s kept them of the rape for weeks 

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11 hours ago, kitchrat said:

A good end to 2020 roosting, the last Saturday Feb 29th I'll be shooting as the next one isn't for 28 years....

Wow I'll be 70 then!  I wonder if shooting will still even exist as we know it...

Thanks for a series of great reports -  you have a talent for it :)  Very honest too!

If I may share my experiences and thoughts....With the long range sitters, try just lifting your barrels slightly so you partially blot out the bird, to allow for a slight drop in trajectory of the shot.  I think sometimes depending on which way round the bird is the problem is their wings are closed and you can't get a really penetrating hit into the body through all those feathers.  I suffer the same frustration myself, I've gone to pick up shot sitters that have apparently vanished!  When they take flight in a hurry they tend to dip down out of tree to accelerate before climbing up again so it does look like you've knocked them out of the tree sometimes.  I do suspect we injure them like this and they probably won't live long thereafter so I try to discipline myself to only shoot if I think I've got a decent chance of taking the bird home with me.

Funnily enough I too lost a shot bird yesterday up a huge leylandii tree!

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Jim Neal said:

Wow I'll be 70 then!  I wonder if shooting will still even exist as we know it...

Thanks for a series of great reports -  you have a talent for it   Very honest too!

If I may share my experiences and thoughts....With the long range sitters, try just lifting your barrels slightly so you partially blot out the bird, to allow for a slight drop in trajectory of the shot.  I think sometimes depending on which way round the bird is the problem is their wings are closed and you can't get a really penetrating hit into the body through all those feathers.  I suffer the same frustration myself, I've gone to pick up shot sitters that have apparently vanished!  When they take flight in a hurry they tend to dip down out of tree to accelerate before climbing up again so it does look like you've knocked them out of the tree sometimes.  I do suspect we injure them like this and they probably won't live long thereafter so I try to discipline myself to only shoot if I think I've got a decent chance of taking the bird home with me.

Funnily enough I too lost a shot bird yesterday up a huge leylandii tree!

Thanks for the support Jim!

I've been thinking (a mistake I know) and put these missed shots down to pellet density. At 45 yds a typical pattern for half choke is said to be about a 50-inch circle. That is nearly 2000 squ inches. If the back view of a pigeon is a 4 inch circle (and that's generous!) that's about 12.5 squ inches. So the pigeon only catches about one 160th of the load ie about 1 pellet, less any that hit the odd branch en route. At that range I use No 4 shot (a few less pellets but 36gm) so that any that do hit the target do maximum damage. However, it seems to be a bit of a lottery, so should we do it? Pest control, I say "Yes" but are shots at "70 yard" pheasants really "sporting" or just a game of chance??? OK, you can use full choke but at 70 yds the typical pattern for full choke is said to be a 70-inch circle or 3800 squ inches!! Admittedly a pheasant is much larger than a pigeon but the proportions remain about the same, especially if it's going away.

BASC advise 4-5 pellets in a bird to almost ensure a clean kill. It bears thinking about?? To get 5 pellets into the target at 70 yds (if you started with 160 pellets, 1 1/4 oz No 4,) the bird would need to be about 120 squ inches, ie about a 1-foot circle. A dinner plate is 10 inches and could expect 3 1/4 pellets on average. If the kill zone of a pheasant is 9in x 5 in (generous) he could expect just under 2 pellets. Now, all these shooting organisations say we should give up lead shot...........

Sorry, my mind was wandering into new subjects! All the rangy  birds I shot Saturday had only 1 or 2 pellets in them, so they were the lucky ones for me (good eating) but I probably didn't miss the other dozen, just pricked them??!! (only joking, I hope) The crops contained wheat, maize, rape and an assortment of berries and stuff I couldn't identify. No beans at all, which was 100% last week. The chap sharing my wood Saturday was using 30gm No 6 shot and managed to wound (it seems I can't say p***k) one bird enough for his dog to chase across the field. 

 
 
 
Edited by kitchrat

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That's some highly technical stuff you're drilling down in to there!  In reality you'll get little bunches of pellets close together and holes in your pattern so as you say it is just a lottery shooting out to extreme ranges.

I think shooting at them from where you stand is probably still more productive than trying to stalk up on them as you described - the **** always know you're coming and hitting them leaving the tree is a much more difficult job than when they're sat still!

Crop contents here in the last couple of weeks: out of 10 birds, on average 3 are ivy berries, 3 rape, 3 clover and 1 wheat.  I'm starting to stumble upon little flocks on the meadows more often now so I guess the clover is coming on well.

Keep knocking them down 👍

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