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Who Shoot Branches Now ? , Or More Importantly Are You Allowed To ?


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Last week while looking for Pigeons around one of my old shooting perms I passed a wood that still held a few Rooks but nowhere near the numbers it once did .

Going back a good number of years we used to look forward to around the second week in May , this was when the young Rooks would leave the nest and sit on the branches to get ready for it's first flying lessons , our fire power was a B S A Airsporter and a Webley Mk 3 both in 2,2 , we went every night when we left off work and shot them until they took wing which was normally at the end of that week , looking back we called it sport but to be honest there was very little sport in what we done , all we done was to control the number but we never reduced them .

Now I couldn't bring myself to do the same, and I am talking about possibly forty years ago when we were hungry to kill any sort of vermin .

Even if I wanted to I not that sure I would even be allowed to as would you class it as crop prevention or what ? , oh , and I am talking about Rooks and not Crows .

Over to you wise gentlemen :hmm:

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Oh Branchers, now I understand. I thought for a moment you had run out of pigeons in |Norfolk and turned to shooting at trees.

No have not shot branchers for many years. It used to be an annual deal here with a evening organised to go round the rookeris and thin them out.  Then one of the farmers wives would make rook pie and we would all be invited. Always acted correctly and told her than the meal was delicious but to be honest rook meat is....err thinking of a term not to get banned for a month and can't.

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24 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

Oh Branchers, now I understand. I thought for a moment you had run out of pigeons in |Norfolk and turned to shooting at trees.

No have not shot branchers for many years. It used to be an annual deal here with a evening organised to go round the rookeris and thin them out.  Then one of the farmers wives would make rook pie and we would all be invited. Always acted correctly and told her than the meal was delicious but to be honest rook meat is....err thinking of a term not to get banned for a month and can't.

Yea , I think it will be another of our past ( sport ) that will soon be in the history books , if it still carry on I dare say it is carried out by the younger generation rather than us who are pushing on a bit .

What nobody have answered ,  Can you still legally carry on doing it even if you wanted to ?

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Haven’t shot branchers for two or three years now; the opportunity is still there on a couple of farms, but there seems to be no urgency for it now. 
Used my .22rf for the job; very effectively humane. 

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3 years ago i went out and shot a rookery i had about 150 .then it was lock down so never went out for 7 weeks,because we could we could not shoot, i have one farm that has so many every year they just dont go away,but as said can we shoot the rookerys now,

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53 minutes ago, bruno22rf said:

We used to shoot them by the hundreds back in the 80-90's but I lost my taste for it as I grew older. Rooks don't do much damage I believe and I don't shoot them now unless I mistake them for a crow.

For some time people don't seem to be able to differentiate rooks from crows and I have read all sorts of nonsense about the damage they do.  But the only time that I have seen rooks do damage is when they start trampling the fallen wheat into bigger areas.

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By all accounts , shooting young Rooks that were sitting targets during a short period in May is no longer carried out to the same degree that it once was , then the more I think of it ,what else is on a downward trend ,or no longer exist ? 

Some might not agree but the first morning of the wildfowling season ( September 1st ) is only now carried out by a small percentage of wild fowlers , unlike the times where it was easier to say who didn't go rather than the ones that did .

Wader shooting we have lost for ever , with no chance it is ever likely to return .

We spent a big part of our lives catching Ells , now on our estuary it is no longer allowed .

None of the boys at my age were not into clay pigeons as money was short and we found shooting Starlings flying over our allotment were far more sport and they got your in , again no longer allowed.

Walking up Partridges ( English ) was a common sight , in 1976 , the year of the drought we had loads and I can remember me and my brother getting invited on a driven Partridge shoot , we only shot for the afternoon and finished with 98 , all English , as a side note , when we got back to the farm the owner fired a shot in the air and we had a frantic ten minutes shooting Collard doves , the Partridges will very unlikely return to those sorts of numbers.

I am sure there are more , and although I won't be here , I wander what else we will lose over the next forty years :hmm:

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27 minutes ago, Minky said:

For some time people don't seem to be able to differentiate rooks from crows and I have read all sorts of nonsense about the damage they do.  But the only time that I have seen rooks do damage is when they start trampling the fallen wheat into bigger areas.

I've watched them walk across a chitting barley field , and systematically lift every single shoot. I believe they were looking for wireworm( but that's merely what I've been told) . Funnily enough though , the rooks on that particular farm no longer do it , but I wouldn't know if it's because I removed the ones that had learned to search for wireworm,  or , if wireworm is no longer an issue on that farm.

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Shot 148 in a couple of hours once on a maize field where the maize was just poking though. A 150 rooks walking up the rows pulling the seed out is serious damage.

When the maize matured there was about half an acre bare. Had I not responded imediately

Howeverto the cry for help that morning it would have been half the field very quickly.

Yes, they can do a whole lot of damage and I have seen 1/2 acre half round cleared patches on both barley and wheat fields, usually where there is a handy tree to land but often down a tram line as well.  

However they also eat a lot of leatherjackets in grassland which is a good thing.

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4 minutes ago, Walker570 said:

Shot 148 in a couple of hours once on a maize field where the maize was just poking though. A 150 rooks walking up the rows pulling the seed out is serious damage.

When the maize matured there was about half an acre bare. Had I not responded imediately

Howeverto the cry for help that morning it would have been half the field very quickly.

Yes, they can do a whole lot of damage and I have seen 1/2 acre half round cleared patches on both barley and wheat fields, usually where there is a handy tree to land but often down a tram line as well.  

However they also eat a lot of leatherjackets in grassland which is a good thing.

Clever bird though , I have seen them snap the stems on ripe barley and make a platform so they can stand on that while eating the ears off the standing stems and then carry on like that well into the field .

P S You are right about the Leather jackets , one reason the farmers can tolerate them , .......... up to a point 

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11 hours ago, mel b3 said:

I've watched them walk across a chitting barley field , and systematically lift every single shoot. I believe they were looking for wireworm( but that's merely what I've been told) . Funnily enough though , the rooks on that particular farm no longer do it , but I wouldn't know if it's because I removed the ones that had learned to search for wireworm,  or , if wireworm is no longer an issue on that farm.

I'd  forgotten about that trait.  I think that a lot of this type of shooting goes back to the days of short food supplies before the days of fridges, freezers and supermarkets.  A time, more like Hunter gatherers when you had to make hay whilst the sun shone or go hungry.   

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13 hours ago, marsh man said:

Yea , I think it will be another of our past ( sport ) that will soon be in the history books , if it still carry on I dare say it is carried out by the younger generation rather than us who are pushing on a bit .

What nobody have answered ,  Can you still legally carry on doing it even if you wanted to ?

Its  a job a  did for a farmer for around 10 years, but I think no longer allowed in Scotland.

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57 minutes ago, Blackpowder said:

Its  a job a  did for a farmer for around 10 years, but I think no longer allowed in Scotland.

Same with a lot of things to do with shooting and other field sports that were just handed down from one generation to another , now in this ever changing world you could be on a sticky wicket to try and prove that shooting young Rooks that are sitting on a branch is justified :hmm:

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On 18/05/2022 at 21:09, mel b3 said:

I've watched them walk across a chitting barley field , and systematically lift every single shoot. I believe they were looking for wireworm( but that's merely what I've been told) . Funnily enough though , the rooks on that particular farm no longer do it , but I wouldn't know if it's because I removed the ones that had learned to search for wireworm,  or , if wireworm is no longer an issue on that farm.

This.

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