Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape

Shooting wood pigeons over winter rape
Wood pigeons taking off from a field of winter oilseed rape

How to shoot wood pigeons on winter rape is a controversial subject with differing opinions, from a friend round the corner to social media along with professionally written articles from shooting in country magazines.

Fundamentally a successful winter wood pigeon shooting day on oilseed rape comes down to good regular reconnaissance, done over days leading up to your day’s pigeon shooting in the hide.

In correlation with good reconnaissance, having your pigeon hide set in the right field location; using the noise from your shot gun, to enhance the pigeon shooting day rather than working against decoying wood pigeons is particularly important.

Ease of access to where you’re going to be shooting pigeons, should never determine the location of your pigeon shooting hide on winter oilseed rape, laziness is just a self-fulfilling prophecy concluding in a poor day shooting wood pigeons, “Pigeon control, along with pigeon displacement should be your goal when pigeon shooting on winter rape for local farmers”, remember you are on that farm to do a job first! your enjoyment for pigeon shooting comes a distant second place to the pest control job you are doing for the farmer!

Words of warning when pigeon shooting on oilseed rape, resist the temptation to set your wood pigeon shooting hide up where you have seen large flocks of wood pigeon feeding, on the oilseed rape, the usual outcome to this is one or two bangs and your days over, I cannot impress upon you enough how important it is to have at least one! if not two wood pigeon flight-lines feeding into your decoy pattern, this will ensure you have a continuous flow of wood pigeons to your decoys throughout the day, or at least for that pigeon feeding session on the OSR.

Pigeon shooters think having the perfect wind from your back or some sort of crosswind will provide a good bag of wood pigeons, this is just not true, if you follow the advice provided in the previous paragraphs, wood pigeon decoying techniques become less important with the caveat, good wood pigeon decoying patterns, brings wood pigeons in close enough to make a good clean kill for even a novice wood pigeon shooter.

Shooting wood pigeons over winter rape
Wood pigeons taking off from a field of winter oilseed rape

Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape 2022/23

Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape: Trip Profile

Duration
1 Days
Availability none
GBP £200
Quarry
Wood-pigeon
Winter OSR
United Kingdom
group size
1-2
Destination
United Kingdom
UK Departure
N/a
accomodation
B&B or hotel
Food & Drink
Packed lunch
seasons
Oct - feb

Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape: prices

Good practice & understanding guides prices for winter OSR wood pigeon shooting

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!

Snow-covered winter rape with feeding wood pigeons
Wood-pigeons feeding on snow-covered oilseed rape

What's Included

What's NOT Included

Itinerary: Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape

  • A packed lunch with hot soup is needed for a winter’s day pigeon shooting.
  • Arrive at your designated meeting point by and 8 AM or be collected from a local B&B by your guide for the day.
  • Meet & greet with the guide, who will explain the local rules for that farm.
  • Reconnaissance were being done the day before hand.
  • Your guide will build a hide and set the decoys out with a suitable pigeon magnet you to start shooting from approximately 8:30-9 AM, if the pigeons arrive and decoy as expected you will shoot through until approximately 3 PM when your guide will come and collect you, packing up your hide decoys and collecting pigeon shot throughout the day.
  • You will leave the local farm by no later than 4 PM
  • all rubbish from packed lunches to empty cartridge cases will be taken away and disposed of leaving no rubbish whatsoever on the farm.
  • Should you wish to take any wood pigeons away for eating you may do so, however any pigeon you do not take will be ethically used by your guide.

Essential Information: Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape

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Wood-pigeon shooting over winter oilseed rape 2022/23