Wood pigeon shooting in the United Kingdom.
Woodpigeons are shot in the UK using two methods.
The first and most popular method of shooting Wood pigeons is over decoys on the arable lands in Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
The second method of shooting wood pigeons is via wood-pigeons flight lines which is an invisible map of roads in the sky, that Woodpigeons follow, they will use different flight lines depending on wind conditions, time of year, and crop rotations e.g. their respective feeding areas.
To give you a little more detail on methods of how to decoy Woodpigeons in the UK.
You must first establish which crops the pigeons feeding on, then establish out of the number of fields you have available to you that are for instance wheat.
Then you have to ascertain which of these number of wheat fields the pigeons favour.
Now you’ve established which is the best Wheat-field to decoy wood pigeons over, you must now sit down with a pair of binoculars and watch this Wheat-field to ascertain the inbound flight line that the Woodpigeon is using to arrive on, most occasions there maybe two or three different flight line entry points to a Wheat-field this leaves you with a difficult decision, you need to try to find a focal point for all flight lines will converge on one point on that field.
Your next decision is where you can construct a pigeon shooting hide you need it to be where all the flight lines converge ideally with the wind coming from behind you, this is important because pigeons need to land into the wind.
The next thing I will look for is a tree to place my hide near to, not underneath the tree, this is because pigeons will often look for a tree to roost in before they feed or to feed and return to digestive wheat seeds.
Another big consideration is the time of day you are shooting the pigeons and you need to build your hide so that it falls in the shade of the tree when the pigeons feeding time is at fever pitch, this gives you the advantage of being cool in those hot summer days plus gives you another layer of camouflage when you are placed in the shade of a tree.
Build yourself a box hide approximately 5 feet across the width and 5 foot back giving yourself plenty of space to move around freely.
The back of the hide needs to be approximately 5 feet with the front of the hide slightly lower at 4 feet this way pigeons’ point of view flying in the silhouette of your head above the net at the front is broken up into camouflage.
Approximately 15 decoys ideally dead pigeons from a previous pigeon hunt that you have kept in the freezer or fridge or some flock coated full-bodied plastic decoys.
The decoys need to be placed out in a horseshoe shape approximately 20 m in front of the hide with the open side of the horseshoe facing away from you the open end of the horseshoe needs to be approximately 20 m across this leaves a landing area for the pigeons to enter into the kill zone.
For decoying pigeons 28 gram No 5 shot would be my preference.
The first barrel as a pigeon is landing in your kill zone would be quarter choke the second barrel should be full choke for birds of the leaving your decoying area and not showing any vital target where a higher shot density is needed to kill a going away bird at distance.
The creme de la creme of pigeon shooting is flight-line shooting.
You would use the same fieldcraft that you have already used to find where the pigeons are feeding, but if the pigeons are not feeding on the ground you have access to shooting over flight-line pigeon shooting may be your only option.
Identifying the strongest of these flight lines that go over your property at a sensible height in which you can kill the pigeons cleanly and humanely is what you will be looking to achieve.
In these circumstances a pigeon shooting hide is optional but good camouflage clothing plus standing on the shady side of a tree wall or outbuilding is a must.
Keeping still until the very last minute is very important as when wood pigeons are moving at speed on the Flightline your slightest movement will make them jink and turn very often just as you’re about to squeeze off a shot, keeping the gun barrels pointed at the direction the bird is coming from will only leave a tennis ball-sized gun mess that is visible to the pigeon this will eliminate the bird turning last-minute.
Cartridges for flight-line shooting
thirty-two gram No 4
first barrel half choke second barrel full choke.
Barrel length should be appropriate to the size of the person shooting however 30 or 32 inch barrels on a gum that has been balanced by placing leading the stock will move swiftly but steadily for those long-range shots as well as decoying pigeons.
Having your shotgun balanced correctly is one of the most important parts of gun fit, this is something you can do yourself by removing the butt plate of the stock of the gun placing some lead shot in the small freezer bag wrapped in some cloth pushed into the bottom of the gun with some foam packs in the back to stop it rattling around screw your butt plate back on the shock some experimentation will be needed to work out the weight of shot required to balance you run correctly.
High-volume would pigeon shooting July and August, but it is still possible to achieve good bags of wood pigeons all year round if you have good fieldcraft with access to varied arable crops.
If this is not the case use a BASC qualified pigeon guide.