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Quiet on the OSR in Surrey


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Hi guys, 

I managed to get out for the first time in a long time on Saturday to do a bit of crop protection over OSR.  There were a few birds flying (away) when I got to the perm around 0800h, but by the time I got in place and set up they were few and far between.

The OSR looked like it had been nibbled at some stage, but also looked pretty hammered by the conditions as well 

I am thinking I am a little to early to get any decent numbers on it at the moment, what is everyone else finding?  I blanked, but bloody good to be out.

Cheers

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Was out today on osr just starting to get a few on it , not a lot of shooting ! Set up with decoys and couple floaters but all that was about were largish groups of 30/40 flighting over far side - so moved ! Ended up with a dozen from sitting under flight line wouldn’t decoy in at all , cold crisp day bit of snow about but a cracking day to be out 

we’ve not got any numbers to speak of yet but this cold snap might help 

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Well this last week or two they have been showing some interest in the rape, so yesterday (Tues 9) I foolishly sat out in the freezing cold for 3 hours for a massive bag of 14, enjoyable but bloody cold.

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Nothing in my area and nothing on rape I’m just staggered, I’ve seen more birds sitting on top of my local village street lamps than my ground to be honest! Shot 3 birds last weekend - 1 had wheat and the other two had a mix of ivy berries, acorns, clover and some other weeds. However, I did find a load on my way to work which was really nice to see; apparently the video is too large to attach even at 8 seconds. Enquired for permission to shoot but was appreciative that the estate was polite enough to return my call to say that pigeon shooting is kept in house for the keeper. Must have been 4-5000 hitting a flailed maize strip. I think that’s where every pigeon in the county has gone!

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1 hour ago, Pigeon addict said:

Nothing in my area and nothing on rape I’m just staggered, I’ve seen more birds sitting on top of my local village street lamps than my ground to be honest! Shot 3 birds last weekend - 1 had wheat and the other two had a mix of ivy berries, acorns, clover and some other weeds. However, I did find a load on my way to work which was really nice to see; apparently the video is too large to attach even at 8 seconds. Enquired for permission to shoot but was appreciative that the estate was polite enough to return my call to say that pigeon shooting is kept in house for the keeper. Must have been 4-5000 hitting a flailed maize strip. I think that’s where every pigeon in the county has gone!

If the estate is near and handy to you it might be a good idea to offer your beating services for this coming season , you never know it could be one way in getting on the place :good:

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18 hours ago, Pigeon addict said:

Nothing in my area and nothing on rape I’m just staggered, I’ve seen more birds sitting on top of my local village street lamps than my ground to be honest! Shot 3 birds last weekend - 1 had wheat and the other two had a mix of ivy berries, acorns, clover and some other weeds. However, I did find a load on my way to work which was really nice to see; apparently the video is too large to attach even at 8 seconds. Enquired for permission to shoot but was appreciative that the estate was polite enough to return my call to say that pigeon shooting is kept in house for the keeper. Must have been 4-5000 hitting a flailed maize strip. I think that’s where every pigeon in the county has gone!

My next port of call would be the keeper, a little difficult with the present lock down I know, I would try to find out his name first then possibly his phone number, and a bonus would be where he lives, although I prefer a face to face request, at this present time its difficult, you could always give him a call and tell him you are frequently around that area and noticed some pigeons on a field that you think he keepers and could you come and have a chat about the area where you have seen the pigeons, some keeper like to know who is about and what they are up-to, he may just say yes come around, but that maybe just to see your vehicle and your face, but he may just say yes go ahead, there maybe some rules/strings attached to your request or you might just get a complete “no thanks we do all the pigeon shooting” you have nothing to lose by trying, good luck.

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4 hours ago, old'un said:

My next port of call would be the keeper, a little difficult with the present lock down I know, I would try to find out his name first then possibly his phone number, and a bonus would be where he lives, although I prefer a face to face request, at this present time its difficult, you could always give him a call and tell him you are frequently around that area and noticed some pigeons on a field that you think he keepers and could you come and have a chat about the area where you have seen the pigeons, some keeper like to know who is about and what they are up-to, he may just say yes come around, but that maybe just to see your vehicle and your face, but he may just say yes go ahead, there maybe some rules/strings attached to your request or you might just get a complete “no thanks we do all the pigeon shooting” you have nothing to lose by trying, good luck.

I agree, the op needs to get in contact with the head keeper as he is the one who normally manage the  pigeon shooting and the pest control , the op could ask the farm manager and he would put him in touch with the keeper when it comes to shooting over game covers .

This is not the best of seasons to jump in on the cover strips , very few , if any beaters have had a beaters days which is the highlight of there beating season, so all the keeper can do if offer the beaters and helpers the best of the pigeon shooting and any keen pigeon shooter would have already noticed any pigeon activity and they could have planned a day when the majority of the helpers and beaters can find the time to be out on the same day to try and create maximum movement  .

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Does shooting over OSR get better the as the weather gets colder, or doesnt it matter, and it is just down to when the plants get the growth spurt in late Feb and there are no other food sources around?

Looking at my diary of other years on the same perm and crops, it wasnt until end Feb that birds started to show - but also, I seem to remember it was a more mild winter than right now...

I am thinking if it is worth trying again this weekend, when it is forecast to be -2 degrees throughout the day...

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28 minutes ago, Trenta said:

Does shooting over OSR get better the as the weather gets colder, or doesnt it matter, and it is just down to when the plants get the growth spurt in late Feb and there are no other food sources around?

Looking at my diary of other years on the same perm and crops, it wasnt until end Feb that birds started to show - but also, I seem to remember it was a more mild winter than right now...

I am thinking if it is worth trying again this weekend, when it is forecast to be -2 degrees throughout the day...

When we first started to shoot pigeons on the very first rape fields in our area we didn't have the aid of knowledge from the PW experts , all we had was one or two locals that had a degree in the art of pigeon shooting , it was highly thought of at the time that pigeons were drugged on the rape , meaning once they went on it they were then hooked and couldn't leave it alone , that might well had been true at the time as there was very little rape grown and it could have been a different variety they were growing at the time.

Now there is a lot grown and I believe rape is now the last resort rather than the first , while there is a supply of other food stuff , like Ivy berries and Clover they tend to leave rape alone , now with food getting in short supply and the cold weather they will turn to rape as the last resort 

As for going at the weekend ? , go by all means but spend time looking at the fields for a while before you decide to set up .

GOOD LUCK 

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1 hour ago, Trenta said:

Does shooting over OSR get better the as the weather gets colder, or doesnt it matter, and it is just down to when the plants get the growth spurt in late Feb and there are no other food sources around?

Looking at my diary of other years on the same perm and crops, it wasnt until end Feb that birds started to show - but also, I seem to remember it was a more mild winter than right now...

I am thinking if it is worth trying again this weekend, when it is forecast to be -2 degrees throughout the day...

As with most creatures the colder it is the more energy/food they need to keep warm, having said that, I don't believe cold weather makes much difference to whether they will feed or not, they maybe more hungry in cold/icy conditions but they are also more on edge, alert, less forgiving/tolerant, will flight at the slightest sign of danger, the instinct for survival is stronger than the one to feed.

I actually think they are harder to decoy in server cold weather than when its milder, winter pigeons are a totally different bird to summer pigeons.

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7 minutes ago, old'un said:

As with most creatures the colder it is the more energy/food they need to keep warm, having said that, I don't believe cold weather makes much difference to whether they will feed or not, they maybe more hungry in cold/icy conditions but they are also more on edge, alert, less forgiving/tolerant, will flight at the slightest sign of danger, the instinct for survival is stronger than the one to feed.

I actually think they are harder to decoy in server cold weather than when its milder, winter pigeons are a totally different bird to summer pigeons.

You might well be old enough to remember one of the coldest winters on record in 1962 / 63 , we had some sprouts up the garden and the poor ole Pigeons tried to get on them while you were standing close by , we shot them with the air gun as they wern't worth a cartridge because they were to thin , way before the rape fields came into play , well not around our way.

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38 minutes ago, marsh man said:

When we first started to shoot pigeons on the very first rape fields in our area we didn't have the aid of knowledge from the PW experts , all we had was one or two locals that had a degree in the art of pigeon shooting , it was highly thought of at the time that pigeons were drugged on the rape , meaning once they went on it they were then hooked and couldn't leave it alone , that might well had been true at the time as there was very little rape grown and it could have been a different variety they were growing at the time.

Now there is a lot grown and I believe rape is now the last resort rather than the first , while there is a supply of other food stuff , like Ivy berries and Clover they tend to leave rape alone , now with food getting in short supply and the cold weather they will turn to rape as the last resort 

As for going at the weekend ? , go by all means but spend time looking at the fields for a while before you decide to set up .

GOOD LUCK 

I agree with all you say, I first started shooting pigeons on rape in the late 70s, one thing I have observed over the years and that is when we have very good spring the pigeons seem to take ages getting onto the rape, might be purely coincidence, but the obvious reason would be a good spring produces a bumper crop of fruit/berry's/nuts that last well into winter, the saying between pigeon shooters was “they are a long time getting onto it and a long time coming off it”

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13 minutes ago, marsh man said:

You might well be old enough to remember one of the coldest winters on record in 1962 / 63 , we had some sprouts up the garden and the poor ole Pigeons tried to get on them while you were standing close by , we shot them with the air gun as they wern't worth a cartridge because they were to thin , way before the rape fields came into play , well not around our way.

I do remember the winter of 62/63 I was 12, I also remember the winters of the 70s and 80s, pigeons were just falling out of the trees dead, they were like cardboard boxes, just feather and bone.

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In my area, (South Herts), the first Rape was grown in 1973, (I think?), the birds piled in on it during that Winter and the Farmer was kind enough to put out a couple of Bale hides, which was much appreciated.

Of course, he dumped the bales in the wrong place, so we had to move them PDQ before they got too wet, and we had some fantastic sport with my old Remy 1100 five shot semi, Flexicoy deeks and a WAGBI Semark flapper.!

The birds are still on the acorns and Ivy berries here at the moment, am hoping they'll move onto the Rape in numbers soon, there's the odd one or two already about, but not enough to justify a visit in such dreadfully cold weather.

Cat.😎

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On 11/02/2021 at 14:21, old'un said:

My next port of call would be the keeper, a little difficult with the present lock down I know, I would try to find out his name first then possibly his phone number, and a bonus would be where he lives, although I prefer a face to face request, at this present time its difficult, you could always give him a call and tell him you are frequently around that area and noticed some pigeons on a field that you think he keepers and could you come and have a chat about the area where you have seen the pigeons, some keeper like to know who is about and what they are up-to, he may just say yes come around, but that maybe just to see your vehicle and your face, but he may just say yes go ahead, there maybe some rules/strings attached to your request or you might just get a complete “no thanks we do all the pigeon shooting” you have nothing to lose by trying, good luck.

Thanks to both old’un and marsh man. That is great advice, let me see if I can make contact with the gamekeeper. This will be difficult as I don’t know the area at all and have no contacts there due to it being a good 35 mins from home but I’m always willing to travel for pigeon shooting. My only fear now is that pigeons in that number may have moved off the cover strip but no doubt they won’t have gone far. I’ve got nothing to lose either way as you suggested!

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