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On this day seven years ago.


JDog
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Another entry from my game book but not verbatim.

At the time I was still living in the Cotswolds. My usual shooting companion asked if I fancied a drive round on what appeared to be a good day for decoying. We covered all of our farms and estates but after two hours we had seen nothing worth setting up for. There was plenty of laid barley but no pigeon activity.

Our last throw of the dice was to head up to an escarpment edge and look into the valley below with the aid of binoculars. We could see for miles from that spot. As we got out of the car a flock of twenty pigeons came right over our heads, then another ten, then doubles and singles then more. They were coming from miles away and heading into the distance to an unknown destination. The line was relentless.

We knew the gamekeeper on the Estate and called him. He was happy for us to shoot with the proviso that we didn’t go into his release pen wood two fields away. Right on the line was a field of wholecropped wheat so we decided to stand on the edge of that with hastily erected hides. The pigeons were not on a high line and most were in range. They came over the road, over the field we were in, and over the long spinney behind us.

We set up 60m apart and had shooting from the outset with equal numbers of opportunities. The line continued for three hours by which time we had had enough. The pick up lasted an hour and a half and we collected over two hundred pigeons. It was the best shootable line I have ever seen. We never did discover where they were heading.

 

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What a find Jdog, there can be no better find pigeon shooting wise than a shootable line like that. I’ve never shot a bag of that size purely on a flight line with no decoy setup but have shot over some random crops/fields where they’re just ‘passing through’ as you describe. 
That must have been some 3 hours!! 
I jumped in the truck and had a drive round yesterday afternoon afternoon after an early finish and came across a strong line heading into the distance passing over the peas I was looking on, and managed to find where they were homing in on after a bit more driving. 
It’s amazing how far they’ll fly and how many other equally good fields with the same crop/food they’ll ignore to pile into a particular spot. 
A difficult field to shoot I found them on, semi laid barley with no access other than a very long walk 🤔

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Over the years I also have had similar flight line days but my best bag was not into three figures, but as you say, such days are very memorable, the one thing that always amazes me about these type of days is the area and distance the birds fly, how the hell do they all know that the field 2, 3, 4 miles away is where they will be dinning that day, I have a few theories but more than likely completely wrong.

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Those type of days are far and few between and like wildfowling you need to be in the right place at the right time , on top of that you need to carry a good amount of cartridges , shoot straight and know where you will get the maximum amount of shooting , the longer you do it you know when a Red letter day is on the cards and a total one off , it's pay back time after all the days when things looked right but ended up with loads of if's and butt's.

Around this way we don't get flight lines numbering those sort of numbers but there are the odd times when the numbers build up on marshland to give you and a friend some good shooting .

A few years ago our next door neighbour down the marsh had a poor crop of Beans that were attracting a nice lot of Pigeons , I couldn't go on the Beans as the farmer let his land to a syndicate who pay for the shooting rights , I wasn't over bothered as I had all the land around his Beans and as they had just finished cutting all the hay on my land I could drive across the marshes and set up where I want on the cut grass , I had had one afternoon and shot 40 odd without making any difference to the numbers about so I rang my mate up to see if he wanted a go on the Saturday and if he wanted he could bring his boy as they both enjoy shooting flighting Pigeons

My mate had to work in the morning so we arranged to meet at the farm at around one o clock , weather wise it was nearly perfect and when we were driving across the marsh we could see Pigeons criss crossing everywhere , we stopped for ten minutes to weigh up where to go and what was what and then decided my mate would go with his boy on one marsh and I would go two marshes over , we had a margin of Reeds all around the dykes so it wasn't hard to put up a hide , I did put some decoys out but the bulk of the Pigeons were flying from A to B and the decoys just swung a few off course and created a shot.

I could hear my mate having a nice lot of shooting and could see the odd one dropping down from a good height , this carried on all afternoon till we agreed we would start packing up at 6 o clock  .

By 6 o clock the shooting had died down a lot even though there were still Pigeons on the move , I had a few for my dog to pick up over the other side of the main dyke and several scattered across the field , when I finished I had exactly 50 in the bag , I could see my mate sending his dog in different directions and his boy picking up the ones laying close to there hide , time I had driven over they had just about loaded his motor up , when I asked how they got on they had picked 98 and he said there might still be the odd one across the dyke , as we were alright for time I put my dog across the dyke and after a lot of hunting about he found one more which then made it 99 , we then put both dogs over and then at long last my mates dog found another and this made the 100 ( ton ) , having shot the same marshes for most of my life and had some good bags this ended up one of the best days when everything went right after inviting someone to have a few shots and to finish the day where we all got a equal share of the days bag ( 150 )

 

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