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Is Pigeon Shooting Over Spring Drillings Now A Thing Of The Past ?


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Today I went and had a look at some Spring wheat that had been in a few days and as you have already guessed there was not a grain of seed to be seen , in fact you had to take a few inches of soil off with your boot before you could see what crop was going in , needless to say there wasn't a pigeon anywhere near the drilled field and to be honest I didn't expect to see any Pigeons as it have now been a while since I last had a good bag on Spring or Autumn drillings.

Unlike the time when a tractor with a drill on the back was a sight for sore eyes and you knew a good days pigeon shooting was on the cards , it was not unusual to see the drill working on one side of the field and on the other side that had just been done the pigeons had already found it and good numbers were already building up .

Peas and Beans were the holy grail around these parts and once you saw the little Green Pea seed you knew you had some shooting over the next few months , some fields were better than others but on the good ones it was possible to shoot on every stage of growth and good bags could also be had when the Peas were cut .

I dare say that in some areas with heavy land good bags can still be made on drillings but sadly around these parts it's no longer the case and I doubt if we will see the likes again .

We are now in the last week in March and I haven't seen many reports on drill fields , all the top pigeon posters like Motty , Muncher and P C have all been quite of late so how have YOU found shooting over drillings now or in the last year or so ?

 

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A good question MM.

I have found that opportunities on spring drillings depend as much on soil type and conditions underfoot as much as equipment. 

Today I watched the drilling of barley, beans and peas. Conditions were good, the drills were good but there is some spillage. I hope to get a day somewhere on some of these fields.

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wheat barley beans not a seed left on the top about to give up and two recent ones have come good together so on peas tomorrow less seed on top than last year but still enough to draw must have been couple of hundred by midday today yet to check what the second drill has in but they are on it so happy days 

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There is no doubt modern farm machinery is very effecient on most soil types nowadays.

There is still always the unexplained  though. I have on a few occasions shot good bags over spring drillings when i struggle to find a single seed on the surface. Much the same as i have watched pigeons flying low over a litterred bean stubble in october to reach beach mast on the other side instead!

Some of my drillings have gone in today. I expect pigeons will take a while to get on them (if at all) given how pre occupied they are with clover and tree buds.

The farmer will no doubt ask me to shoot corvids on them before the pigeons turn up. That has happened the past couple of years.

 

Edited by aga man
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Afternoon all, couple of us were out yesterday on drilled barley ( drilled last Friday from when I took many crows but few woodies while on me Todd) I picked just over fifty pigeons with a dozen being ferals and seventeen crows. Even better was a conversation with the farm owner who was proceeding to drillbeans on the field behind later in the day so I’m going to be back this Saturday ( should be going Friday but bad weather predicted) I find beans are good to shoot over for the second to fifth day as the big wide modern drills hide the seeds on the straights but tend to drop a bit of seed etc when lifting and dropping the drill when turning near borders. I also find beans specifically are a good crow ( but not pigeon) puller a couple of weeks later as the plant is about an inch to two high and ..Mr crow knows he can pull the bean out if the soil is slightly damp. After two inches of growth I suspect there isn’t anything left of the chitting bean underground and clever crow knows this!. The only downer to the day was the info that this farmer is not planting peas this year and that’s the first time we won’t have a ‘fill in crop’ to protect once the o/s/r ‘gets away’ from the pigeons up to the point we have problems with laid barley and oats. 
ps yesterday the farmer had ‘rounded off’ the turning areas by making two passes with the drill around the perimeter of the field and, although not a single grain of treated barley was visible on the surface, pigeons were visiting the field for a look see, high flying over head then rocketing back across wind and straight in to a couple of flappers and two dozen shell decoys. Also there is still a good bit of activity on other farms on the O/S/R especially as the only flocks seem to be juvenile birds with wiser pigeons now pairing up.

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I think this is a very thought provoking question- and I would have to say yes.

I would be more inclined to expect a decent day on stubble or chitting peas than fresh drilling.

I think I posted something a couple of years ago suggesting that shooters should look to find pigeons on heavily grazed patches of winter rape if they are unsuccessful on drilling’s - and that may well be a situation this year.

I have been shooting long enough to always get a buzz when drilling’s start going in - so I won’t give up on getting a decent bag or two yet.

Hitman 

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10 hours ago, the hitman said:

I think this is a very thought provoking question- and I would have to say yes.

I would be more inclined to expect a decent day on stubble or chitting peas than fresh drilling.

I think I posted something a couple of years ago suggesting that shooters should look to find pigeons on heavily grazed patches of winter rape if they are unsuccessful on drilling’s - and that may well be a situation this year.

I have been shooting long enough to always get a buzz when drilling’s start going in - so I won’t give up on getting a decent bag or two yet.

Hitman 

Anyone who is a long term pigeon shooter have to be optimistic when it comes to drilling , not a total failure by any means but certainly not the bonaza it once were , my main shooting estate have no longer got a full time mechanic as most of there gear is renewed when the warranty run out and the new(ish) drill look like something from star wars with pipes and tubes covering the four sides , when operating, the tractor is running at a good rate of knots and in the short time it takes to drill the field it is then left like a well manicured seed bed , also when conditions are right for one farm it is also right for the farm next door and so on , so in a few days you might have 100s of acres of fresh drilled fields and the pigeons tend to follow the drills leaving a very small window of time , this leave you with another problem in timing , do you shoot a few that have just found it , or wait a couple of days in the hope they build up ? , sometimes you get it right , but most of the time we get it wrong , so if you find enough worth setting up for then have a go as tomorrow they might be nowhere to be seen and you then back to square one , GOOD LUCK:good:  

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Shooting some pigeons on rape yesterday (25/03/2021) I get a phone call from farmer at 3:30 pm, lots of pigeons on sown beans, these fields were ment to-be winter rape but were put on hold due to flea beetle, the beans were sown on Tuesday 23.

The pigeons had all but stopped on the rape so I packed up and headed to the bean fields about five miles away, 75 acres of direct drilled beans and it was blue with pigeons with strong flight lines coming from all directions, on walking one of the fields I was amazed to see the amount of beans on the top, on getting back to the car the farmer pulls up behind me, seems they had some problems with the drill but just kept going as they had a lot more fields to sow, it was a bit late in the day so planned for an outing today (Fri 26) but rain as stopped play so may have look Saturday.

Just goes to show that even with direct drilling they can still get it wrong. :)

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Just as a follow on from my previous post- I went to check some fresh drilled fields which have historically produced some decent bags. I glassed the fields and more in the neighbouring farms and didn’t see a single pigeon on any of the drilling’s. I spotted a line of pigeons and followed them to a field of winter rape that I have shot a few times recently. I was set up and in the hide by 11.30- I shot 15 fairly quickly, before the heavens opened with hailstones on a bitter wind. I was back in the car by 1pm as the pigeons had cleared off.

The farmers locally have taken advantage of the mild dry weather as there are drilled fields everywhere but the one I checked were empty of pigeons.

Hitman 

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We all need few more fields like this.

I have drilled beans, peas and barley fields to look at tomorrow. I suspect that if I find a shootable line it will be into rape.

20210326_152219.jpg

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8 minutes ago, JDog said:

We all need few more fields like this.

I have drilled beans, peas and barley fields to look at tomorrow. I suspect that if I find a shootable line it will be into rape.

20210326_152219.jpg

The only time we would see that much grain would be if the bag split when loading up the drill or if it went in the spinner to be broadcasted .

Today the rain didn't arrive till just after dinner and the fields were full of activity , one gang were planting spuds while the farm boys were drilling sugar beet , at the moment they haven't got a date to put the Peas in , last year it was the second week in April , our Beans are Winter Beans and are now 2 / 3 inches high , the rape seem to grow at least a inch or so a day now and today was the day I saw the first Yellow flowers growing in the rape .

If the weather is nice enough tomorrow I would have a hour or two on the rape as there were a nice lot got out of the trees and when I walked down to the poor grown area there were droppings around the rape where the leaves have been eaten off , if it is cold then I will give it a few days as next week the temp could get as 24 degrees , a sure sign that that the Summer is not that far off .

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I must say, I’m only 38 but have been shooting pigeons with my Dad since I was 12 years old so been doing it a while.....whilst I still get always get some really good days each year, they’re much harder to come by these days in our area, and drilling’s in particular I still scout religiously but rarely produce enough numbers for a go. When I was in my early 20’s I was forever seeing opportunities on all crops throughout the year, and I definitely think the decline in winter rape grown here has pushed the pigeons away all through the winter. 

In the last few years we’ve had more peas than ever and even they definitely don’t produce like they used to on the drill. 
Did manage to shoot 60 odd last week (half pigeons/half corvids) on an impromptu 2.30 start session over drilled barley, I’d checked the field the previous two days since it was drilled with low numbers but happened upon it again the following afternoon when we had the kit with us and was nicely littered with birds, but I suspect they’d have been gone the next day. The field we had planned to shoot that had birds on and a good flight the day before was dead, yet plenty of grain showing. 
Definitely very small windows to shoot them over drilling’s now, if they happen to bother with the field at all that is. 
I’ll never stop looking though, much to my other half’s amusement! 

 

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out in the morning at 71 i won't worry about bag size just a day in the hide , but will still keep a look out if anything developes , i know we are all itching to have a bash just got to keep looking all that magic phone call.

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  • 2 weeks later...

my farm drilled beans for the first time in years last week and had loads of spill. i shot it the next day  and had a fairly poor day.  the seagulls and crows found it  pretty much as the field was being drilled unless they were after the insects and worms. left me scratching my head a bit  going back up on thursday for another bash. hopefully i was just a bit too keen and didnt give the pigeons time to find it.

like i said above first time on my permision to shoot over beans. they a drill and harvest window kinda deal? or do the pigeon hit them for a while. none of my permisions do OSR anymore and wheat  seems of no intrest to the pigeons other than just after harvest.

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On 25/03/2021 at 22:47, the hitman said:

I think this is a very thought provoking question- and I would have to say yes.

I would be more inclined to expect a decent day on stubble or chitting peas than fresh drilling.

I think I posted something a couple of years ago suggesting that shooters should look to find pigeons on heavily grazed patches of winter rape if they are unsuccessful on drilling’s - and that may well be a situation this year.

I have been shooting long enough to always get a buzz when drilling’s start going in - so I won’t give up on getting a decent bag or two yet.

Hitman 

Judging by many posts on FB, this is most certainly not the case. I have seen many posts of 200+ or 100+ days on recent drillings. I had a bag of 97 on some direct drilled spring wheat a fortnight ago. 

Drillings will continue to produce good pigeon bags.

Edited by motty
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1 hour ago, motty said:

Judging by many posts on FB, this is most certainly not the case. I have seen many posts of 200+ or 100+ days on recent drillings. I had a bag of 97 on some direct drilled spring wheat a fortnight ago. 

Drollings will continue to produce good pigeon bags.

Never shot over Drollings, I will look forward to that 😂

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