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marsh man

Where Would You Say Is The Best County For Pigeons

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Looking through Archie Coats book ( Pigeon Shooting ) the other night , he mentioned nine areas where he suggested to the Ministry Of Agriculture at the time ( 1963 ) that they should employ a professional pigeon shooter to control the high numbers of Pigeons , the nine areas were , Hampshire , Wiltshire ,Berkshire , Bedfordshire , Huntingtonshire , Essex , Suffolk , Norfolk and Lincolnshire . these are not in order and the book was written in 1963 , at the moment we get reports of big bags in N/Norfolk and around the Fens , and when P C was in full flow we got regular reports of big bags from his area in the Midlands.

So where would you say is the best area that hold Pigeons ? 

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I’m in Essex and have seen what looks like thousands (turning the sky grey) lifting off fields in multiple locations around the county. I approached the farmer in one place but got a no 😒 they’re definitely in Essex though

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my avon perms do best wiltshire ones come second somerset third but numbers are down on all of them so far this year 

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I've always rated Wiltshire as the "Carlsberg" of pigeon shooting Counties.!

Sadly, numbers continue to decline year on year in Herts, some say it's due to the vast increase in Red Kites, I'm not so sure, all I do know is that numbers are declining.

Cat.😎

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12 hours ago, Spr1985 said:

I’m in Essex and have seen what looks like thousands (turning the sky grey) lifting off fields in multiple locations around the county. I approached the farmer in one place but got a no 😒 they’re definitely in Essex though

SOME in my area of Essex but nothing special.

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10 hours ago, Catamong said:

I've always rated Wiltshire as the "Carlsberg" of pigeon shooting Counties.!

Sadly, numbers continue to decline year on year in Herts, some say it's due to the vast increase in Red Kites, I'm not so sure, all I do know is that numbers are declining.

Cat.😎

Welcome back Cat, long time no see.. Yes, Herts and my part of Essex do seem down on birds wrt a decade or 2 ago but I don't think you can blame the kites, who are mainly carrion eaters.

Changes in farming methods (better drilling, cleaner combines with chaff cutters, early cultivation and now the reduction in OSR) are taking their toll, plus overshooting too, is making pigeons every-device-aware. Right now the main feed seems to be about 5.00am, with a top-up, if nice and quiet, about 7.30 - 9.00pm, not the usual hours of a pigeon shooter. My farmers will not let me out at dawn for fear of noise complains so it's free feed time.

Cheers,

Kitchrat

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Since Archie's book was written in 1963 the countryside have seen many changes , in his time he saw very little , if any O S R , the magnet was not in production , less people were interested in shooting pigeons over decoys and a lot of land where people could shoot over is now covered by roads and housing estates .

Having said that , I dare say nearly 60 years later there are as many if not more Pigeons shot now than in his time and in many parts of the country the numbers seem to be on the increase , then you get the reverse where odd counties had a good stock of Pigeons and now they are in decline .

Where we are in south Norfolk we have got Pigeons but not like they have got in the north of the county , when I used to take railway bridges down we travelled a lot around Leicestershire , Lincolnshire and Norfolk , things would have changed a lot since then but out of the three the least we saw were in Leicestershire , in Lincolnshire we saw a lot of Pigeons but the fields were far bigger than what we were used to and the most we saw were around the Brecklands in Norfolk , this was around the Thetford / Swaffham area , one reason I would imagine was the vast amount of forestry commission land that could hold 1000s of Pigeons and the variety of crops on offer .

 

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Can you remember the first lot of osr back in the 70s, it grew well over 6 foot high. I had to sit on my mate's shoulder looking for it moving as some cow's had got into it .

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Posted (edited)

I would say any county they get shot at the least🤪🤪🤪

Edited by Jacko3275

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3 minutes ago, Centrepin said:

I think 2 fields over from where I'm set up.🙃

Is the best answer yet!:good:

 

Good luck.

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Cambridgeshire is doing very well at the moment, but don't tell anyone.

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Judging from what I see on other sites etc, Oxfordshire would seem to be at the top of the list for pigeon population, with some huge bags being taken there regularly. I see Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Essex mentioned regularly as a place where large bags are taken. Cambridgeshire and Norfolk are where I shoot, and there certainly isn't a shortage. 

I reckon the south west is one of the more sparse areas for pigeons. 

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Local to me some good bags are shot quite often, lots of barley and osr grown, and spring greens but not many peas. A gun I know shoots some good bags quite regular, and the odd huge bag, he is an  avid pigeon pursuer, his personal best was a bag around the 450 mark shooting on his own. He mentions it every time we pass the field and relays the story that it was in the early 2000's and says it was the largest bag of woodies he had ever shot and it is an extremely small field adjacent to a country road and he had to get additional cartridge. 

A bag of over 650 was shot on an area about 15 minutes from me 2-3 years ago by two guns in a day and created some 'hot news' in the local pigeon circles. 

I recall my friend saying that numbers have generally increased year on year in our area however,  a couple of years ago many locals reported poor bags with numbers as a whole being significantly reduced. We have some large areas of thick conifer plantations that hold great stacks of woodies that no gun has access to. These appear to be great roosts for the woodies.

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Hello, I thought Archie was in Hampshire MM ? , Not heard of any big bags of pigeon around the Vale in south Oxon of late but I do not meet many shooters that I knew in the 1960s/1970s/1980s, I think the south counties do have a big population of pigeons, my book was well read 😀

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, motty said:

Judging from what I see on other sites etc, Oxfordshire would seem to be at the top of the list for pigeon population, with some huge bags being taken there regularly. I see Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Essex mentioned regularly as a place where large bags are taken. Cambridgeshire and Norfolk are where I shoot, and there certainly isn't a shortage. 

I reckon the south west is one of the more sparse areas for pigeons. 

I think thats about right around here. I have shot maybe 600 assorted blacks over the last 2 months and only a handful of pigeon in there. I have shot with a friend near Barnstaple and there were plenty his way. 

Edited by oowee

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3 hours ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

Hello, I thought Archie was in Hampshire MM ? , Not heard of any big bags of pigeon around the Vale in south Oxon of late but I do not meet many shooters that I knew in the 1960s/1970s/1980s, I think the south counties do have a big population of pigeons, my book was well read 😀

You are right o/p/p , he was in Hampshire , but he recommended his own county to the m o a to employ a full time Pigeon shooter and he offered his services to train them , he no doubt got a good pension from the Army with him being a major , he was also a game dealer and processed his own pigeons and I believe he was one of the first ones to get an export licence to export pigeons , on top of that he ran his own little shoot and I might be wrong but I think he was sponsored by Eley for using Grand Prix cartridges , I did see him on Eley's stand at the C L A Game Fair one year , if you asked him nicely he would give you one of the old Eley diary's , mind you this was in July so you only got five months that wasn't used , still they were free so no complaints .:lol: 

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7 hours ago, 7daysinaweek said:

Local to me some good bags are shot quite often, lots of barley and osr grown, and spring greens but not many peas. A gun I know shoots some good bags quite regular, and the odd huge bag, he is an  avid pigeon pursuer, his personal best was a bag around the 450 mark shooting on his own. He mentions it every time we pass the field and relays the story that it was in the early 2000's and says it was the largest bag of woodies he had ever shot and it is an extremely small field adjacent to a country road and he had to get additional cartridge. 

A bag of over 650 was shot on an area about 15 minutes from me 2-3 years ago by two guns in a day and created some 'hot news' in the local pigeon circles. 

I recall my friend saying that numbers have generally increased year on year in our area however,  a couple of years ago many locals reported poor bags with numbers as a whole being significantly reduced. We have some large areas of thick conifer plantations that hold great stacks of woodies that no gun has access to. These appear to be great roosts for the woodies.

You have no doubt got some very good Pigeon counties around your way , I was looking up when K Ransford shot what was then the record bag in 1970 in Shropshire which was 561 , he was saying Pigeons were over the decoys as soon as he got his gun out , in the first half an hour he fired 100 shells and in the following hour he had used a whole slab of 250 , he stopped shooting at 6.50 and fired 690 cartridges , this was after he had shot 170 the day before on the same estate , strange we don't hear of more reports from these very good areas ?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, marsh man said:

You are right o/p/p , he was in Hampshire , but he recommended his own county to the m o a to employ a full time Pigeon shooter and he offered his services to train them , he no doubt got a good pension from the Army with him being a major , he was also a game dealer and processed his own pigeons and I believe he was one of the first ones to get an export licence to export pigeons , on top of that he ran his own little shoot and I might be wrong but I think he was sponsored by Eley for using Grand Prix cartridges , I did see him on Eley's stand at the C L A Game Fair one year , if you asked him nicely he would give you one of the old Eley diary's , mind you this was in July so you only got five months that wasn't used , still they were free so no complaints . 

Hello, I am sure he lived around mitcheldever as I think he sent pigeons on the train to London market, I started going to the game fair in the 1970s and remember eleys stand, must of missed Archie ! ! What was his highest amount of pigeons shot in a day 500 ish ? He was a very good shot, 

Edited by oldypigeonpopper

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There are a couple of local large estates that produce consistent pigeon shooting for a few guns , they are quite large and as I say mostly barley and osr are grown. We are fortunate to have some of the best grade arable land on the outskirts of Liverpool and this attracts good numbers of pigeon. The best day I have ever had was around the 150 mark with my friend, he shot by far the greatest part of the bag with me chipping in for my extensive cartridge use. :lol:

What a day that must have been in 1970 when pigeon numbers would have been significantly less than today's numbers.

I am chuffed if I get a handful. That said, those that put in the time and effort often have the best results.

atb

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4 minutes ago, 7daysinaweek said:

There are a couple of local large estates that produce consistent pigeon shooting for a few guns , they are quite large and as I say mostly barley and osr are grown. We are fortunate to have some of the best grade arable land on the outskirts of Liverpool and this attracts good numbers of pigeon. The best day I have ever had was around the 150 mark with my friend, he shot by far the greatest part of the bag with me chipping in for my extensive cartridge use. :lol:

What a day that must have been in 1970 when pigeon numbers would have been significantly less than today's numbers.

I am chuffed if I get a handful. That said, those that put in the time and effort often have the best results.

atb

Wouldn’t have thought West Lancashire (?) would hold that many birds compared to the south. My best day in north Wales last year was just over 100 birds, but had to pack up after just a couple of hours as my wife wanted me home to rush the baby to hospital (he was fine).  

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19 minutes ago, WalkedUp said:

Wouldn’t have thought West Lancashire (?) would hold that many birds compared to the south. My best day in north Wales last year was just over 100 birds, but had to pack up after just a couple of hours as my wife wanted me home to rush the baby to hospital (he was fine).  

West lancs,  Bickerstaffe and Skelmersdale  all mold into one huge area and much is grade 1 arable, then you have Formby and Southport which also have thousands of acres of grade 1 arable and have to my mind for many years ha  produced some good pigeon shooting gauging by the local avid pigeon pursuers. The bags I have mentioned above are certainly not a regular occurrence and may be a once in a lifetime bag for the shooter.  I personally know of credible bags of over 200  not infrequently from these areas. 

My posting was a reflection of the pigeon bags in my areas and not intentionally the 'best place in the county' but still produce some good consistent bags.

 

Entirely understandable your swift exit from your pigeon excursion and good to hear that it was a he was fine, you never know that day could have turned out to exceptional. 

atb

7diaw

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That’s good to hear, a lot of my pals shoot Bickerstaff etc however I head towards Wales and Cheshire. Never realised what I was missing out on right on my doorstep. 

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On 17/06/2020 at 19:47, motty said:

Judging from what I see on other sites etc, Oxfordshire would seem to be at the top of the list for pigeon population, with some huge bags being taken there regularly. I see Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Essex mentioned regularly as a place where large bags are taken. Cambridgeshire and Norfolk are where I shoot, and there certainly isn't a shortage. 

I reckon the south west is one of the more sparse areas for pigeons. 

I’d have to agree with all of that, Anthony Poolman and Steve Day to name two who shoot in the Oxfordshire area mainly both shoot huge numbers in excess of 20,000 a year.....in most areas that simply isn’t possible no matter how ‘good’ you are at it, aa the numbers simply aren’t there. 
We get some decent days throughout the year but nothing like the numbers some get easily and seemingly most time’s they go out. The 3/4/500plus bags just don’t happen in this area (very often anyway) sadly! 
 

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