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Harvest report thus far


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I first noticed stubbles that I could shoot on around the 12th of July. Since then I have upped my recon in hope of some good bags. My shooting pals have, also. I have covered many hundreds of miles checking fields and then checking them again. This has also eaten up a lot of my spare time. Here are a few words about my subsequent days out in the field.

19th July.

After a lot of driving all morning, the last chance saloon for myself and Gerard was on a small rape stubble. We didn't expect much and the afternoon went as expected. It was slow going in the hide, so Gerard moved to an area further across where some birds were flighting. This upped the bag somewhat. We finished with 37 and 3 ferals.

21st July.

I was unable to shoot with Jules the day before, so he put me onto a rape stubble that looked fairly promising. He had shot 76 on another rape stubble (on the 20th). He was a little disappointed with this as there had been thousands there just prior to the field being cut.

I dismissed another good looking field on the way to Jules' suggested destination, thinking that there may be a slightly stronger flightline there. My normal setup of close-in decoys and magnet was used, with a small net on the edge of a dyke. I was using some Rio 28gm 7.5s in fibre. They worked very well, knocking down some satisfying pairs. My fairly recent acquisition of an A350 semi auto was working well (I had previous issues with cycling, probably due to not being run in).

This field had only been cut a couple of days before my shoot. I reckon a 150 bag may have resulted if it had been left a few more days. As it was, I was more than satisfied with my bag of 90 pigeons and a rook.

23rd July.

This turned out to be another hard earned bag. After emptying the freezers and having a trip to the game dealer, I drove a lot of miles again in search of a good field to shoot. Jules was waiting in case I could find something. Again, my last real option was where I decided to go. Jules met me there.  We set up a hide in the middle of a small rape field. The magnet was placed slightly to the left with the wind at our backs. There was a trickle of birds, but things were never hectic. Jules was using his new 20 bore semi again. He fancied a change and has been doing well with his new gun. We both shot some nice birds. The final tally was 70 pigeons for the afternoon.

27th July

I was off to check some farms some distance away, but on the way I remembered a lone block of rape fields that I had completely forgotten about. I went straight there to see if they had been cut. They had. Most of the blocked had been cultivated, but the bit that I wanted to shoot had been left. As I drove across I put off close to 2000 pigeons. I set up immediately. The conditions were awful, with steady rain and very strong winds to contend with. I struggled to keep my brolly upright. I quickly fulfilled an order for 25 steel shot pigeons and carried on for a while. Bunches of 100+ pigeons were swirling around, and some would decoy. I persisted for a while before admitting defeat. The conditions were not good and the pigeons agreed. I picked 41 pigeons.

28th July

I managed to get a half day off work at short notice as Jules had a field up his sleeve. He had shot the field 3 days previously, bagging over 150 before getting caught in some torrential rain. This rape stubble is right next to a busy main road. The wind was up again, typical of late. I'm not keen on shooting in strong winds, as second and third shots can be almost impossible as the pigeons flee the first shot.

Unfortunately, the field had been spread with slurry before we started shooting. It smelled pretty unpleasant. On the plus side, the flight lines were strong. Dozens of birds bypassed us, but it didn't matter, as enough were paying a visit. Occasionally, we would see clouds of pigeons lifting in the distance, showing where those passing birds ended up.  Along with the woodpigeons, we had frequent visits from a local feral population. If we had wanted, we could easily have scored three figures on them. They were left alone when the woodies were around. They provided an added bit of fun.

We shot from around 12.30 - 5pm. We accounted for 189 pigeons and 33 ferals. 

31st July

I had the day off work so I looked around for pigeons. I found a few back on the rape stubble that I shot on the 27th. The fields were being worked again, and they looked akin to ploughed fields. I didn't have a proper set up, but decided to stick a few shells out while I sat in the ditch and flighted a few. I shot 9. It was 30+ degrees, but the wind was really strong again. I was there an hour. I noted where they were coming and going and decided I would shoot there the next day, unless Jules could come up with an alternative.

 

1st August

We did get back on the rape I shot yesterday. I was optimistic, but didn't expect too much. Jules joined me once he had finished work. I had the hide around a convenient telegraph pole and I used my usual starting set up. I had around 10 down by the time Jules sat down in the hide. There was a nice flight line that came over a small industrial area and another that followed a small river. More birds than I expected showed up. Again, this shooting was never hectic, but it was a very pleasant outing. We both had some nice long shots and had a few laughs. We finished with 92 pigeons.

 

2nd August

Gerard was invited to shoot with me this afternoon. Again, the wind was strong. I found 500 feeding between a couple of rape fields. Sadly, after putting them off, the flight never really got going. Many seemed shy, possibly indicating they had been shot recently nearby. I let Gerard do most of the shooting with his modified .410. He shot some nice ones. It wasn't an extended session. The bag was 36 pigeons and a crow.

 

5th August

The 28th was fantastic, but today topped it. Jules had seen some strong lines going to a wheat stubble. He kindly invited me to shoot it today. We were in position by 10am. It was slow to begin with, but we wanted to be there for when the pigeons really started coming. When they started coming, they came in thick and fast. I can't complain about the shooting, but the wind was too strong again! We shot a lot of pairs, but we would have taken 4 or 5 out of several bunches if the wind had been kinder. Never mind!

The shooting was as good as it gets; decoying in groups of 10 plus, and high flighting birds with or against the wind. Every shot in the book was given and we both shot well. I was especially pleased with some of my long range pairs with my Saga 1oz 6.5s.

The amount of birds was a joy to behold. Despite the huge volume coming to us, there were similar flighlines we saw going to other nearby fields. I never get bored of seeing pigeons in those kind of numbers.

By 5pm we had already tidied up most of the pigeons. The cartridge pick up was annoying, but necessary.  We finished up with 307 pigeons and 12 ferals. What a day!

 

8th August

I looked yesterday for somewhere to shoot today. The best I could come up with was a week old rape stubble that had about 300 birds down feeding. I knew where the flight lines would be if I shot there. Gerard joined me for a shot. I was expecting 50 or so. We set up by 11am after having a bit of a look.  Gerard was using his other modified (doctored/altered) gun. He was also trying out some of his experimental (subsonic?) home loads.

The pigeons were wary. There were at least two other sets of shooters out, and maybe this had something to do with it. Still, we had a decent amount of shooting. We would have shot more if we weren't trying different cartridges etc. We ended with 42 pigeons and 6 ferals.

 

Well, that took me a while to write. Thanks for reading!

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Dedication at the highest level , some very good bags and the Red letter one ( 307 ) was well deserved after the mileage and time you boys put in .

Are you finding this years young ones are slightly less than other years ? , I have found in the past that rape stubble is the time when most youngsters end up in the bag , not so this year , during the week I had the odd one and yesterday afternoon me and my mate got 42 with just one early hatched out youngster and not any the really small ones that are not in my opinion worth shooting 

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26 minutes ago, marsh man said:

Dedication at the highest level , some very good bags and the Red letter one ( 307 ) was well deserved after the mileage and time you boys put in .

Are you finding this years young ones are slightly less than other years ? , I have found in the past that rape stubble is the time when most youngsters end up in the bag , not so this year , during the week I had the odd one and yesterday afternoon me and my mate got 42 with just one early hatched out youngster and not any the really small ones that are not in my opinion worth shooting 

I was out for a couple of hour’s yesterday afternoon after work. And for the first time this year  I started getting youngsters and several. I generally let them go if possible but you don’t always see that they are young ones until you pick them. Picked 57 not bad for two odd hours. 

Edited by muncher
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Some good shooting had there Motty, and as some people don’t seem to realise you need to put a lot of time/miles in to shoot good bags regularly......turning up on spec rarely produces consistent results! 
Don’t know about you but I find work/weather often gets in the way of some good days for me which can be frustrating, but like you i’ve managed one real red letter day so far this harvest and it never gets boring seeing so many pigeons on a good day! 

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6 hours ago, marsh man said:

Dedication at the highest level , some very good bags and the Red letter one ( 307 ) was well deserved after the mileage and time you boys put in .

Are you finding this years young ones are slightly less than other years ? , I have found in the past that rape stubble is the time when most youngsters end up in the bag , not so this year , during the week I had the odd one and yesterday afternoon me and my mate got 42 with just one early hatched out youngster and not any the really small ones that are not in my opinion worth shooting 

There have been several young ones in the bag, but not huge amounts. I normally see more youngsters in September. Sometimes a third of the bag can be juveniles. I would rather shoot older birds, but if youngsters keep coming I will shoot them.

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5 hours ago, Wilts#Dave said:

Some good shooting had there Motty, and as some people don’t seem to realise you need to put a lot of time/miles in to shoot good bags regularly......turning up on spec rarely produces consistent results! 
Don’t know about you but I find work/weather often gets in the way of some good days for me which can be frustrating, but like you i’ve managed one real red letter day so far this harvest and it never gets boring seeing so many pigeons on a good day! 

Yeah, I think some maybe don't realise how much driving and looking can be involved in finding birds and planning a shoot. I will sometimes look at the same field 3 times in a day to see what is happening.  It used to be easier to check farms because I would go past several to and from work, but my work area has changed so I can't do it anymore. It has cost a lot in diesel recently, but it is all worth it in the end.

The rape stubbles have been slightly disappointing this year and it will be even worse next year. Another 4 farmers have told me they are growing none at all. That will only leave me with about 3 farms that will grow any!

5 hours ago, dead eye alan said:

Fabulous read thanks for taking the time for such a detailed report. Have you any video footage to share?

Unfortunately not, but I may film some more soon. It can be distracting sometimes, and your shooting is compromised a bit by concentrating on the camera. I will have to upload some film from earlier this year, and even some from last year that I haven't yet edited.

Also, Chris Green has again shown an interest in coming up to film some shooting. Maybe that will happen this year.

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8 hours ago, muncher said:

I was out for a couple of hour’s yesterday afternoon after work. And for the first time this year  I started getting youngsters and several. I generally let them go if possible but you don’t always see that they are young ones until you pick them. Picked 57 not bad for two odd hours. 

That was excellent in two hours , just short of one every two minutes , there you go , they did learn me a little bit in the odd year I went to school :lol: , pity you couldn't have got a day off as it would have been a bag well into three figures  .

I did have one very young un come in yesterday and he or she was very lucky as I let it live to fight another day . 

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A good honest report of a dedicated pigeon shooter, well done and thanks for taking the time to post your report. The weather was not kind to you but you continued. I've found the stubbles to be devoid of birds with them preferring to hit the standing crops and also the heat has been a deterrent to shooting. 

Again thank you for posting.

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On 09/08/2020 at 15:27, motty said:

Yeah, I think some maybe don't realise how much driving and looking can be involved in finding birds and planning a shoot. I will sometimes look at the same field 3 times in a day to see what is happening.  It used to be easier to check farms because I would go past several to and from work, but my work area has changed so I can't do it anymore. It has cost a lot in diesel recently, but it is all worth it in the end.

The rape stubbles have been slightly disappointing this year and it will be even worse next year. Another 4 farmers have told me they are growing none at all. That will only leave me with about 3 farms that will grow any!

Unfortunately not, but I may film some more soon. It can be distracting sometimes, and your shooting is compromised a bit by concentrating on the camera. I will have to upload some film from earlier this year, and even some from last year that I haven't yet edited.

Also, Chris Green has again shown an interest in coming up to film some shooting. Maybe that will happen this year.

Absolutely, I drive by at least some fields almost daily on the way home from work or between jobs.....definitely gives you an idea of where to spend more time looking! 
Strangely there’s almost no rape stubble in our area but one tiny field that didn’t grow very well either was cut and topped off straightaway and the pigeons went mad for it, I shot 239 over it last Wednesday in just over 4 hrs. 
Don’t think there will be any at all next year, but hitting wheat stubbles / peas at the moment here.

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A most enjoyable read, you have certainly been busy and the recon has mostly paid off.
I agree there is little fun shooting in very high winds (and heavy rain).
Thanks for taking the time to type this report.

 

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Hello, Barley all but finished then the rain came👎 going to be a long harvest 🤔 not much in the way on pigeons, wheat is best I have seen in years, tall and straight and good ears.

Edited by oldypigeonpopper
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