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A bit of a Roost Shoot


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With the weather a little changeable lately, I decided that Friday (yesterday) would be the best option for a couple of hours in a little local wood with a chance to shoot a few pigeons.

It was with surprise that I looked out of the window early to see a thin layer of snow which must have fallen in the early hours due to the dropping temperature. I also understand that other areas witnessed `thunder snow`, a phenomenon that I`d not heard of before. However, the snow had all gone by mid morning and the Met Office forecast was for it to be dry after 11am with a brisk WSW wind. They were, as usual, fairly spot on with the forecast.

I reached my ready made hide on the edge of the wood by 12.45 having put out around fifty pigeons from the trees. I entered the wood attempting to put them off downwind in the hope that some may return. This particular narrow wood is just over 3 acres and was once a Marl pit used to extract clay and nutrients for use on the surrounding fields. As a consequence, it consists of steep sides and pits to one side and is now fairly full of standing and fallen hazel and the odd oak tree, many of which are covered in ivy. As I was dogless today, I had to pay particular attention to where any birds that I shot would fall, as half of the wood is virtually impenetrable.

There is a larger mixed wood of 17 acres about 1/4 mile away that has a large stand of conifers and is the pigeons favourite roosting spot being warmer, but they are currently using my wood as a stop off to top up on ivy berries before going onto roost, although some do roost in the smaller wood. As the area has no game shooting, the larger wood has the odd shooter roost shooting and this scenario can provide excellent shooting for all concerned if both woods are manned. However, on this occasion, I had to rely on pigeons mainly coming in to feed and later on maybe a few coming to roost.

The normal flightline into the wood is from the marshes if and when they are feeding out there somewhere. As there is nothing edible to focus their attention on at present, they were yesterday predominantly coming from the large wood, meaning that they were only offering snaps shots as they appeared along the line of the wood and overhead. Trying very hard to forget about the branches and being aware of where they would land, I did manage to hit a few along with a lot of branches ! I could have shot at many more that would have fallen way back in the wood and unretrievable, but showed remarkable restraint, for me anyway.

I ended up with 10 picked (9 in the photo and one picked on the way back to the car which I`d marked down) with just one lost, so was very pleased with my few hours out. They stopped coming in around 3pm, which is when I decided to call it a day. 

Having breasted out the pigeons this morning, every one had ivy berries in their crops and nothing else.

One item of note was again seeing a charm of goldfinches on the thistles in front of my hide. I was just admiring them when suddenly a sparrow hawk swooped swifty through the small flock and took one of their numbers for his lunch. Not seen that before with goldfinches, but many other species.

All in all a lovely few hours.

Thanks for reading.

OB

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47 minutes ago, Big Al said:

That sounds like a wonderful afternoon out. Snap shooting at flighting pigeons is a fantastic way to waste cartridges (in my experience anyway!)

Enjoyable read - thanks OB!

I’ve yet to empty out my used cartridges, but my cartridge bag is now considerably lighter!

 

33 minutes ago, TIGHTCHOKE said:

Yes a good write up as usual, no picnic though, too cold I suspect.:good:

Never too cold for a bit of tucker. Yesterday it was mini pork & apple pies and sloe gin mince tarts.

Edited by Old Boggy
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Another excellent report Chris with a nice photo to match , a perfect way to spend a few hours , go when you want and pack up when you have had enough or when the cold begin to get underneath your layer's of clothing , Friday was one of our coldest days since last winter , the rain during the morning turned to snow then turned back to a cold rain with a strong wind , yesterday was a complete contrast and was a good day to be out on our first shoot since this last lockdown , we were in a good pigeon area near Norwich with good woods and plenty of fields of rape along with fresh lifted beet, and yet we never saw hardly a pigeon with only one hanging up amongst the game when the day came to a close , still after all the worrying times of late it was a lovely day to be out and like they say , it's another one they can't take back .

 

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