What should you pay for wood pigeon shooting in the United Kingdom?
Firstly, understanding what you are paying for may help you understand and give justification behind the charges applied by professional wood pigeon guides.
Budget on paying £1 per bird shot, however all things being equal with different shooting abilities this does not always equate when you consider, shots fired, and wood pigeon missed!
It is also misunderstood by, want to be pigeon shooters, trying to get into wood pigeon shooting, how essential, a reasonable to good financial tip on top of the guide’s daily fee, will benefit you in the long run, if you wish to be invited back by the pigeon guide for better days, it is human nature for a pigeon shooting guide to take clients who they know will cover guides financial outlays.
Remembering you are not actually paying a pigeon shooting guide for pigeon shooting! You are paying a pigeon shooting guide to spend time, put fuel in his vehicle, along with knowledge of flight lines and understanding how certain fields and farms produce wood pigeons with different crop rotations.
I think we all agree its unethical to pay a guide to shoot pest species such as wood pigeon! this is a service that has been provided by local people to farmers protecting their different crops throughout the year, back in the 1980, it would have been expected that the farmer would give you a slab of cartridges helping you to cover your costs for that pest control service, however like many things in life times have changed and pigeon shooting has become extremely popular with demand outstripping supply and limited leisure time to boot! Considering. the average household needs two people to pay a mortgage, working six days a week, what I am trying to explain is, we all have less time in a fast-paced world to get permissions, supplying a good crop protection service year-round is not easy! Pigeon shooting guides provide this service! and are merely supplying to demand and need their costs covered.
Hard cold winters are not the cause for wood pigeons to feed on oilseed rape! The lack better food resources for the wood pigeon is why oilseed rape receive so much attention in the winter months, would pigeons art connoisseurs of the bird world and are particularly fussy when it comes to a pigeons diet, would pigeons do not like eating rape, the nutritional value is very low and without good quality alternative food sources to substitute would pigeons diet, a wood pigeon will fast lose condition when it’s only food source is oilseed rape.
How to deal with the dreaded gas gun! on oilseed rape fields if you have done your reconnaissance at various times of the day, you will see wood pigeons will always find a corner of oilseed rape to feed on where the gas gun is not as loud. Should the oilseed rape field be well covered by gas guns, Wood pigeons will do 20 minute mass raid attacks on those hard-hit areas of the field, upon the bang, wood pigeon flocks rise and settle in the nearest trees safe from the gas gun bangs, wood pigeons will repeat this tactic all throughout the morning and early afternoon, watch your fields, do your reconnaissance, think outside the box! you will repeatedly shoot days of 20 to 40 wood pigeons through the winter months, if you put that in comparison to shooting pheasants, it’s safe to say, value for money has been had, providing a great pest control service.
When you arrive at your permission, where winter oilseed rape is grown, and you see 400 to 1000 wood pigeons, possibly feeding on the oilseed rape or more often just sat in the surrounding woods or hedgerows adjacent to the oilseed rape fields, it is imperative that with control, and a bag you push the pigeons back down the flight-line the pigeons arrived on that morning, do not under any circumstances let the pigeons watch you set your hide up or just fire some bangs to clear the field and woods, you must push those large flocks of wood pigeons back where they have come from in the early morning, would pigeons will then return back to the oilseed rape field in ones and twos or little packs of six is the tens, you will of course have large flocks of 100 plus try and return in one go, but do not shoot into these flocks of wood pigeon, all you will do is educate the entire flock that you are there, wave your hands from the hide and the wood pigeons will head back the way they’ve come from or perhaps up-field and settle in the trees, however on their return they are more likely to return in small groups enabling you to shoot better numbers of wood pigeons.
One further thing you need to understand about shooting wood pigeons on winter oilseed rape when they are in large flocks, if you have seen 400 wood pigeons on the field the previous day or on the day you are shooting, once those 400 wood pigeons decoy or fly past, seeing your decoy set up, it is highly unlikely any of those birds will return for a second visit to the field the same day, if they do those will be the birds that refuse to decoy.
There are times it requires two, three or four guns in different hides placed strategically around different oilseed rape fields within your area, this should only be tried as a last resort in the latter stages of winter, because this will destroy flight lines entering the oilseed rape fields and make it nearly impossible to get to grips with shooting any numbers of pigeons thereafter.
When you try this tactic of placing multiple guns out in a number of different oilseed rape fields, one man only has to pack up early and leave his field, it will only be a matter of 20 to 30 minutes before all the large flocks of wood pigeons will settle onto that field of oilseed rape and happily feed for the rest of the day.
One other key point, do not allow wood pigeons to start settling in trees within sight of you when decoying on oilseed rape, unfortunately you need to spend a cartridge or two and keep these areas clear, for every shot you fire clearing trees in your area, or birds pitching onto the oilseed rape, within 45 seconds you will have wood pigeons decoying nicely into your decoy pattern!