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Will The Poor Demand For Pigeons Affect The UK Pigeon Population ?


marsh man
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My dogs love them.
If I told the farmers on whose land I shoot pigeons, that I wasn’t going to do it as I had no outlet, he’d get someone else and that’s perm’ lost. Ditto for rabbits and any other pest species. 

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Yes Scully that’s what farmers would do. Woodpigeon are a protected bird and can be killed under the general licence. The license allows for the sale or human consumption of the dead birds. It’s up to the shooters that use the license to decide what to do with the dead birds. Maybe the sale of woodpigeon should be prohibited, the same as for wild geese. Woodpigeon have been shot for the wrong reason for years. 

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28 minutes ago, Scully said:

My dogs love them.
If I told the farmers on whose land I shoot pigeons, that I wasn’t going to do it as I had no outlet, he’d get someone else and that’s perm’ lost. Ditto for rabbits and any other pest species. 

Scully , Would your farmer(s) honestly get other pigeon shooters to shoot the stubbles if you only went on the crops purely as crop protection ? , as we all know a very high percentage of pigeons shot are on stubbles , I would have to go back to mid July when I shot pigeons over crops and they were Peas , then our first Winter Barley fields were cut around the 15th of July and I have been shooting Pigeons on stubbles ever since , it is up to me if I wanted to carry on shooting pigeons on non crop fields and not the request of the land owners , and after going on the same land for most of my shooting life I very much doubt they would get other shooters if I only stuck to shooting pigeons over crops . 

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36 minutes ago, marsh man said:

Scully , Would your farmer(s) honestly get other pigeon shooters to shoot the stubbles if you only went on the crops purely as crop protection ? , as we all know a very high percentage of pigeons shot are on stubbles , I would have to go back to mid July when I shot pigeons over crops and they were Peas , then our first Winter Barley fields were cut around the 15th of July and I have been shooting Pigeons on stubbles ever since , it is up to me if I wanted to carry on shooting pigeons on non crop fields and not the request of the land owners , and after going on the same land for most of my shooting life I very much doubt they would get other shooters if I only stuck to shooting pigeons over crops . 

I’ve only ever been asked to shoot birds over crops, and never been asked to shoot them over stubbles, that latter choice is entirely mine.
So yes, if asked and I said I wouldn't shoot them due to having no outlet, then he would get someone who would. 
I’m shooting on stubbles this coming Friday, weather permitting. I haven’t been asked. 

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40 minutes ago, Gas seal said:

Yes Scully that’s what farmers would do. Woodpigeon are a protected bird and can be killed under the general licence. The license allows for the sale or human consumption of the dead birds. It’s up to the shooters that use the license to decide what to do with the dead birds. Maybe the sale of woodpigeon should be prohibited, the same as for wild geese. Woodpigeon have been shot for the wrong reason for years. 

I’ve never sold a pigeon ( or pheasant now I think about it ) in feather, but have given away who knows how many, so prohibiting the sale wouldn’t really affect me, and while it’s a shame to dump pigeon ( and rabbits ) it’s not always possible to use all. I breast what I can and what I don’t eat myself go for the dogs. 

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20 hours ago, scolopax said:

Always thought that our edible quarry should go primarily for human consumption. 

I agree in principle, out of respect for the quarry and the general philosophy that nothing should be wasted.  However it's simply a supply vs demand issue when it comes to getting pigeons into human bellies!

I think if we're all honest with ourselves, on a national scale even if pigeons were only ever shot whilst directly attacking crops there would be a massive amount more dead pigeons than human appetite for eating them.  And then you add on all the ones shot by "recreational" shooting.......What percentage of shot pigeons, nationally, would anyone like to guess are fed into the human food chain via game dealers or given away by the shooter?  I'd wager it's not above 1%

OK, shooters keep back a certain number as decoys for their next trip; one or two might be a bit mangled and chucked; Many folks, myself included, will breast out a decent amount to feed their dogs.  But that doesn't make up the shortfall.  Where do all those other shot pigeons go?

Most people share the opinion that waste is not good.  So to dispose of shot pigeons by chucking them under a hedge is not "ideal" but they don't exactly sit there and rot do they?  There will be many kinds of creatures that will say thank you very much for the free meal, so it isn't really going to waste at all.  Perhaps temporarily skewing the food chain a little, but not exactly a crime in my books.  And I'm not defending my own actions here, I can't remember the last time I dumped a pigeon (I don't even dump corvids, they go to my mate's ferrets), but I don't shoot big bags over decoys so I don't have the problem.

We must remember that as great as this forum is, pigeon watch is not representative of the whole pigeon shooting fraternity nationwide.  We're just a sample.  There may be a bias towards certain ways of thinking that doesn't accurately reflect the whole of the sport nationally.

I think this debate all boils down to there being two motivations for shooting pigeons: 1) Genuine need for crop protection and 2) To simply enjoy the sport.

It's not illegal (yet) to "enjoy" pigeon shooting so as long as the net result is the reduction of an agricultural pest that costs farmers millions of pounds a year I don't see a reason it should be frowned upon if someone can't guarantee all of their bag is going to be eaten.

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31 minutes ago, Jim Neal said:

I agree in principle, out of respect for the quarry and the general philosophy that nothing should be wasted.  However it's simply a supply vs demand issue when it comes to getting pigeons into human bellies!

I think if we're all honest with ourselves, on a national scale even if pigeons were only ever shot whilst directly attacking crops there would be a massive amount more dead pigeons than human appetite for eating them.  And then you add on all the ones shot by "recreational" shooting.......What percentage of shot pigeons, nationally, would anyone like to guess are fed into the human food chain via game dealers or given away by the shooter?  I'd wager it's not above 1%

OK, shooters keep back a certain number as decoys for their next trip; one or two might be a bit mangled and chucked; Many folks, myself included, will breast out a decent amount to feed their dogs.  But that doesn't make up the shortfall.  Where do all those other shot pigeons go?

Most people share the opinion that waste is not good.  So to dispose of shot pigeons by chucking them under a hedge is not "ideal" but they don't exactly sit there and rot do they?  There will be many kinds of creatures that will say thank you very much for the free meal, so it isn't really going to waste at all.  Perhaps temporarily skewing the food chain a little, but not exactly a crime in my books.  And I'm not defending my own actions here, I can't remember the last time I dumped a pigeon (I don't even dump corvids, they go to my mate's ferrets), but I don't shoot big bags over decoys so I don't have the problem.

We must remember that as great as this forum is, pigeon watch is not representative of the whole pigeon shooting fraternity nationwide.  We're just a sample.  There may be a bias towards certain ways of thinking that doesn't accurately reflect the whole of the sport nationally.

I think this debate all boils down to there being two motivations for shooting pigeons: 1) Genuine need for crop protection and 2) To simply enjoy the sport.

It's not illegal (yet) to "enjoy" pigeon shooting so as long as the net result is the reduction of an agricultural pest that costs farmers millions of pounds a year I don't see a reason it should be frowned upon if someone can't guarantee all of their bag is going to be eaten.

I don’t think it is generally frowned upon Jim - to dispose of surplus pigeons that is. After all, they are shot subject to GL42 conditions because they are a threat to food production. No where in the legislation is it conditional to eat them. I know this conflicts with general hunting ethics for some - i.e ‘eating what we kill’ etc. The wood pigeon however seems to occupy that middle ground - of not being quite game yet not having the low status of a rat either. 
 

Personally, hand on heart, this year I have managed to ensure at least half of my bags have fed humans somewhere, somehow. I do try. However, a lot of those I couldn’t move on where fly blown and going off very quickly during our summer heat wave anyway. I do hope that when market conditions get back to normal (what ever that is?!) we can see a demand increase. We just need a few more lorry loads going to France.

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Hi Jim it is about respect for the  quarry whatever we shoot . If the pigeons or whatever we shoot are not wanted or we shoot to many we have to decide what to do with them. Friends would take pigeons and rabbits for ferrets, but they don’t have ferrets now. I breast pigeons and geese for family and friends. I’ve never kept pigeons or carcass after breasting them for decoys, I cut off the wings and use them . A lot cleaner than dead birds.  I’m turned seventy and this is the first forum I’ve been in. I don’t know if it’s representative of pigeon shooters. Family and friends a lot younger than me don’t shoot pigeons now. It seems to be about gadgets and numbers shot now. We all enjoy shooting pigeons or we wouldn’t do it. Over the years I’ve noticed less shooters,but more pigeons shot. With numbers increasing it must mean more shot. I can’t see the demand for the food chain increasing. It would be interesting to know the numbers that went into the food chain each year. Shooters will have to decide if they will keep shooting pigeons or not.

 

 

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