Wood-pigeon shooting

After feeding on winter rate would pigeons flock back to an oak tree
Flock of Wood-pigeons landing in oak trees

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.

Are you looking for:- Winter Woodpigeon shooting over OSR

Wood-pigeon shooting in Yorkshire 2023

Wood pigeon Shooting over winter OSR & Spring Drillings: Trip Profile

2 Days
Availability none
GBP £400
OSR & Drillings
Ripon, Yorkshire
group size
Yorkshire U.K
UK Departure
B&B or hotel
Food & Drink
Packed lunch
Feb - Mar

Woodpigeon shooting in Yorkshire: prices

Wood-pigeon shooting & pigeon shooting in South Africa

Wood-Pigeon Shooting

Wood pigeon AKA the Grey Grouse is a gourmet Connoisseur when it comes to selecting food sources, only eating the best seasonal foods available, making the wood pigeon a tasty delicacy, you will find wood pigeon on the menu in top restaurants which offers a choice of health benefits from eating succulent wild game bird meats.

Pigeons fly to arable fields of drillings and standing crops or harvested cereals this offers a fantastic opportunity to reduce the increasing wood pigeon population in the United Kingdom estimated at twenty-seven million wood pigeons.

The numbers of Wood pigeons have increased since the introduction in the early 1980’s the arable crop oilseed rape giving overwintering wood pigeons a food source throughout the UK winter months, many hundreds of thousands of migrant wood pigeons also flew over from Europe in October and November avoiding the harsh winters of north-east Europe, arriving on the UK coastline in Kent up to Aberdeen for the more temperate UK climate and food sources available to pigeons.

Three methods of wood pigeon shooting

Wood pigeon shooting over decoys directly offering pest control and crop protection simultaneously.

The first method of wood pigeon shooting

To decoy wood pigeons, a hide will be set up in the area of the field that the wood pigeons are doing the most crop damage, either plastic or dead pigeon decoys will be placed in the damaged area of crop approximately 20 to 30 m from the hide ideally with the wind blowing on your back this presents easy pigeons to shoot over decoys giving you the best opportunity to shoot large numbers of wood pigeons for crop protection

The second method of wood pigeon shooting

Interception of wood pigeon flight-line, when wood pigeons leave woodlands in ones and twos they meet up naturally using contours and wind direction which forms an invisible road-map of the skies that would pigeon pass on this generational knowledge from old wood pigeons to squabs (overshooting of these flight lines will permanently destroy or at the very least move the flight line to the adjoining farmland indefinitely)

The third method is roost shooting wood pigeons

The best time for pigeon roost shooting in January and February but in hard winters November and December also offer a good opportunity for advanced crop protection by reducing wood pigeon numbers returning from arable farms where wood pigeons have locally caused crop damage. Roost shooting is at its most effective when multiple woodlands within the same area are shot simultaneously, roosting woods can only be shot every 2 to 3 weeks or permanent wood pigeon displacement will be caused in these specific woodlands making wood pigeon numbers impossible to control by the method of roost shooting this will also have a detrimental effect by moving pigeon numbers to neighbouring woodlands where control may not be an option, ethical wood pigeon shooting looks to control numbers not total for eradication.

Displacement methods for wood pigeon

There are only two ways to decrease the population of wood pigeons in the UK.

Method one, remove the food source i.e., stop farming arable crops, this will cause a gradual reduction in wood pigeon numbers over breeding seasons and will cause displacement of the wood pigeons while bird numbers readjust.

Second Method, displacement tactics such as scarecrows and gas guns, however with the food source still in place temporary displacement of wood pigeons can be achieved successfully in the short-term but this is not cost-effective due to the daily man-hours needed to make this process workable, the downside to the displacement of wood pigeon numbers from one farm or farms will only cause devastating crop damage to arable farms in the surrounding areas for farmers who do not have the financial resources to maintain a countrywide displacement program to control wood pigeons as a means of crop protection, moving the problem down the road to your neighbours is not maintainable for the long-term, wood pigeons will alter their feeding times and patterns to counter displacement methods causing massive crop damage with hefty man-hour costs footed by the farming community.

Wood pigeon crop protection industry

The general public misunderstands the industry already in place available to farms, men and women pigeon shooters get job satisfaction from their work, and generally, their services provided are free of charge to the farmer, the majority of pigeon shooters ethically go about their business of pest control, I understand that pigeon shooting falls under the classification of sport and is often placed in the same context as other sports such as football tennis Golf, etc, a big misconception between sports for enjoyment such as clay pigeon shooting one needs to understand that the sports have one goal and one goal only which is to win! Field sports such as Wood pigeon shooting cannot fall within this classification, yes wood pigeon shooting referred to as a sport by people within the hunting community simply because they enjoy the service, they supply but there is no winning involved.

Purpose of a hunting picture or trophy.

Hunting Photos are nothing more than a scrapbook of memory records, similar said of wall-mounted trophies, a picture or a trophy tells a story of infinite words about the hunt not specifically the Cull.

UK pigeon shooting guides offer 365 days a year service for farmers in need of pest control services

For those new to wood pigeon shooting with little or no experience, UK pigeon guides will take you out and teach you the art of wood pigeon decoying.

Pigeon shooting in South Africa

“Bloemfontein” The Rock pigeon Shooting capital of South Africa. Entertaining clients with hot-barrelled Rock pigeon and dove shooting over sunflower fields, assessing the abilities of all respected wing shooters. Rock pigeons referred to as the “most challenging Pigeon in the world” by all international Pigeon shooters. South Africa tests experienced wing-shooter shooting abilities with the ultimate bird “Rock pigeon” Novice Pigeon shooters will have a chance to polish their shotgun shooting skills and improve their fieldcraft.

Millions of pigeons and doves commute, twice a day, from the cities and mountains to the ripening sunflower fields in the surrounding areas. It is here where Pigeon shooters intercept from blinds, these humbling Rock Pigeons under their flight paths first the incoming flight line to the fields and thereafter the outgoing flight line from the fields back to their respective roosts. Pigeon shooting is hot barrel action, and guns can fire more than a thousand cartridges on a good day! Pigeons shooting all year round, but the best time is from the middle of March to the end of April.

Wing-shooting hunting permit’s South Africa

For International Hunters, a permit, required by law to be able to go pigeon shooting without personal supervision. If you have a shotgun license in your own country, we can arrange a permit for you in advance [£70 for the duration of your trip], or we can provide an ‘in-field instructor to be present with you at all times when shooting £100 per day. Gun hire £20 per day.

Flock of wood pigeons
A flock of wood pigeons taking off

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Essential Information: wood pigeon shooting

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Wood-pigeon shooting in Yorkshire 2023