Training days! Exciting project for new shooters. 30/31 May 2015 and 27/28 June 2015

I’m running 4 training days on these dates for youngsters/adults who are new to the sport or just want to learn a bit more.

30/31 May 2015 and 27/28 June 2015

You will be shown everything, basic field craft, best kit to buy, setting up decoys in the field and finally preparing and cooking what you shoot.

To make it even better there will be a competition on the day!

25 bird (clay) simulated pigeon shoot. Sit in the hide and shoot simulated incoming pigeon to really see how well you shoot and where you need to improve. ( Hint: Load steady shoot well…don’t rush!)

First prize
A day pigeon shooting with Matt!!!!!

Second prize
250 Proper Cartridges!!!!!

Third prize
A pigeon magnet with battery!!!!!

All inclusive £100 for the day

Pm or call me, Matt on 07984 335124, for more details and to book.

This is a day to get new ideas, meet new people and to have a good time with other fellow shooters.

Remember 30/31 May 2015 and 27/28 June 2015, get it in your diary.

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Just a perfect day

It doesn’t always happen, far from it, but sometimes it all just comes right.

Our shooter yesterday enjoyed the most beautiful summers day, gently breezes with the occassional  drop of rain but mostly big summer skies with a few nice clouds so we didn’t cook and a constant stream of birds in small flurries.. perfect!

Sitting under a lone oak tree in the midst of about sixty acres of fallen barley Don Davidson bagged himself at least 120 pigeon on his first trip out with Matt.

Dons big day out on the pigeons

Great day in virtually perfect conditions

In standing crops it can be difficult to pick all your birds and it was too warm to work the dogs all day so we called in a local friend and his dogs to help pick up at the close. Alan Cox brought an experienced dog and a youngster over in the late afternoon to work the crop in addition to Matt’s own enthusiastic Cocker.

Always consider inviting picker-uppers to get some valuable out of season working time for their dogs, it is another Win/Win deal for pest control pigeon shooters. Farmers don’t want their crops trampling by pest controllers nor do they want to be combining hundreds of rotten pigeon in a couple of weeks time.

Pick up whatever you can

Young and old dogs get some great experience

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Busy March for farmers and shooters

The weather is finally drying up and the farmers are drilling left right and centre.

Pigeon see those beautifully drilled flat fields as dining tables, knowing there are rich pickings, row upon row of seeds to picked. With every seed picked farmers loose a whole plant which would yield hundreds of grains of wheat. A single pigeon crop will yield a hundred grains of seed wheat twice a day representing thousands of grains of lost harvesable wheat. Now imagine what a mass flock of the millions of wood pigeons that thrive in England will do if left unmolested.

Sunday 23 March another happy French customer 49 shooting over wheat drillings

Sunday 23 March another happy French customer 49 shooting over wheat drillings


Monday 24 march 73 for 210 shots 2 English lads Aaron and Jordan shooting over spring barley drillings whilst the farmer was still drilling

Monday 24 arch 73 for 210 shots 2 English lads Aaron and Jordan shooting over spring barley drillings whilst the farmer was still drilling



Friday 29 March 62 for a French customer first time ever pigeon decoying he was well chuffed

Sunday 30 March 248 mixed bag French customers that came last year 550 shots

Sunday 30 March 248 mixed bag French customers that came last year 550 shots

I’m not sure of the translation of “well chuffed” into Frech but I think the smile on his face says it all.

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The first of the rape stubble rewards the French

Another party of French shooters bagged the first of the rape stubble bandits.

Stubble fields draw in pigeon for easy pickings amongst the discarded chaff and ejected seeds from weed species that the combines throw out. The newly exposed soil surface also catch insects unaware that have been sheltered by the tall crops but are now tasty morsels for omnivourous pigeon and crows.

French shooters pay thier respect to their quarry after a good day on the rape stubble

French shooters pay thier respect to their quarry after a good day on the rape stubble

It is a strong continental hunting tradition to lay out the days harvest and pay due respect even though pigeon are shot as a pest in the UK. It is a job that has to be done but it is also right to do it humanely and efficiently.

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Spring day brings bumper bag of pigeons

Spring time oftens sees pigeons heading for surrounding woods to harvest tree buds becuse winter crops have too high and spring drillings aren’t up yet. With the strange weather this winter it looks like pigeons are staying down on the fileds a bit longer so crops need protection at this time.

Large bag of pigeons still ground feeding in April 2013

Large bag of pigeons still ground feeding in April 2013

Our guns today, Richard and Pete, have a combined 70 years shooting experience between them and it shows! Even experienced shooters like a change now and then so the opportunity to shoot outside their own permission gave these two old hands a great day out and the farmer got some efficient pest control done. Win/Win.


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New pigeon shooter makes his mark April 23rd 2013

Shooting pigeons for your local farmer isn’t always about big bags of hundreds of pigeons. Most of us start by making a modest dent in the pigeon pest problem and get better at it.

Going pigeon shooting with an experienced guide is the fastest and safest way to become a benefit to your local farmer, learning by making mistakes on his land won’t make you his new best friend even if you do thin out the pigeons a little for him.

Here is a nice example of a new pigeon shooters first bag, a respectable 11 woodies!

A respectable bag of 11 pigeon on his first outing

A respectable bag of 11 pigeon on his first outing

Our guest shooter has had a great day and learned a lot while also making a contribution to controlling Leicestershire’s pigeon problem. Even 11 pigeon will make a decent pie from the breast meat alone so our shooter will also be able to feed the tribe at home too!

Well done Pete!

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April 2013 crop protection

The horrendously wet autumn of 2012 and the late snow in the early spring of 2013 have hit arable farmers hard. Seeds sowed into cold and wet ground have failed to germinate in many places but re-drilling has been delayed by muddy conditions followed by deep snow. Radio 4’s Farming Today reported, on April 23rd 2013, that Weetabix were unable to make breakfast cereals because of a lack of quality British wheat for the first time ever!

Now that expensive re-seeding is virtually finished farmers are keen to protect these expensive replacement sowings from ravenous flocks of pigeons that are equally determined to feed on them.

April crop protection

April 2013 crop protection in Leicestershire by shooters organised by Pigeon Shooting Leicestershire

A mixed bag of wood pigeon, feral pigeon and corvids shot over fresh drillings in some fine spring weather.  Larger groups of shooters can cover several fields and this increases the effectiveness of shooting to control pigeon numbers. Once disturbed from one field pigeon will often circulate for a few minutes before attempting to land again fairly close by.

Solitary shooters can be frustrated when they set up where pigeon are feeding well only to see them disappear completely once a shot is fired. Organised groups, like this one, offer many advantages to farmers when controlling pigeon and have more long term impact on pigeon numbers than lone shooters offering to keep pigeon numbers under control.

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Advanced pigeon shooting equipment

Anything that needs a battery is in the advanced equipment class. It may be nice and it may be effective but it isn’t a necessity. All batteries are heavy and so they should justify being included because they take up a ton of weigh that you could either leave behind or replace with something more useful. Having said that most big bag days wouldn’t happen without something more than a few shell decoys.

Pigeon Magnets, Whirly-gigs, call them all sorts of things, certainly bring movement into your pattern but they don’t act like pigeon or look like pigeon. They add height in summer when the rape or wheat is high and create a draught under the wings of dead birds and all the designs of spinning and flapping decoys on offer. Some days they are enough to swing the balance in your favour other days they are a very good bird scarer which is good because that is meant to be your first line of attack against pigeons under the General Licence. If asked to justify yourself to an over zealous officer of the law you can legitimately point out your bird scarer and demonstrate its ineffectiveness and hence the necessity to shoot the mountain of pigeons at your feet. Some days magnets work all on there own and are essential equipement but I can’t tell you which days they are so put it in the car but don’t always lug it across the filed.

Flappers and Turbo flappers are the same thing only one goes faster than the other! These are much lighter than magnets and add the effect of a pigeon flapping it’s wings to take off, land or just flap about. These are pretty realistic especial when used with a foot switch or random timer. Flocks of pigeon fidget and generally  flap about to find the best feeding and these flappers mimic they rather well. Unfortunately they only flap one bird in the flock unless you cheat by tying a thin thread from the flapper to a few decoys mounted near by on wobbly sticks. When the flapper flaps a ripple of movement spreads out around just like one pigeon disturbing it’s neighbours for a few seconds.

Always use a randon timer on flappers and a digital speed controller on a rotary unless you want to drain your battery very quickly or lug a big car battery across the field. Random timers now come with 2 and 3 independant circuits so you can control several flappers going on and off at random intervals all off one battery.

Whenever possible use dead birds on all these devices or at least start with foam decoys and switch to real birds as you shoot a few early birds. Don’t forget to wipe off the spikes on your bird cradles at the end of the day as you know where they have been don’t you!

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Vital pigeon decoying equipment

Let’s keep it simple

  1. Gun
  2. Decoys
  3. Hide
  4. Seat
  5. Flask

I am going to miss out a few things like dog, car and all things electrical for the moment.

Pigeon shooters seem to be a bit like fishermen, they buy stuff, lots of it. Why? Probably because they spend too much time wishing they were out shooting when they are not out shooting and the best cure for that is buying stuff for the next time they are out shooting.

Problem is that it weighs a ton.

If you can drive to your shoot location then packing all your toys isn’t a problem but very often pigeon shooting starts with a walk, sometimes a long walk and so the amount of gear you take matters. So let’s see what we really need to take.

Your gun is essential so get a decent slip that protects it and has a comfy shoulder strap. Any 12 bore that you can shoot well with will do for pigeons. A 20 bore firing 20 gram or above loads of size 6 shot will also do the job. Semi- autos are OK for experienced shooters but can be a liability for inexperienced shooters. Big capacity semi autos are a pain in the bum and no use to anyone

Pigeons will fall to any well placed shot at ranges up to 40 yards. Shot size 7 1/2 up to 6’s in loads from 24 gram up to 32g are fine. Steel shot will kill cleanly at ranges up to 35-40 yards and some game buyers will pay a small premium for birds free of lead, so will some falconery centers.

The best way to lower the cost of your pigeon shooting is to take a few lessons and improve your shots to kill ratio. Buying expensive “pigeon” loads or “VIP” or “Gold” won’t improve your shooting accuracy. If you missed it is because you shot the wrong piece of sky. Don’t take your most expensive gun pigeon shooting or it could be the most expensive days shooting you ever had.

Take enough cartridges with you in THE CAR but not to your hide. A slab of 250 is essential about once a year so a cartridge bag with 100 max is enough. If the action is fast and furious you can always head for the stash in the motor and combine the trip with a tea break and a comfort stop. 100 1 1/8oz cartrides weighs about 10lbs and your gun will weigh about another 7 or 8 lbs, you don’t need to add 15lbs of unused cartridges.


You can carry a lot of extra shell decoys for the weight of too many cartridges.


Decoys – The more the better! Shell decoys are great for virtually every occassion. 20 shell decoys, with the plastic wobbly pegs weigh about 5lbs, about the same as a box of 25 cartridges. By leaving behind the 4 boxes of cartridges suggest previously you can carry an extra 80 shell deeks!


How many times have I seen shooters lug a slab of shell across the field then pull out a dozen decoys that just don’t pull in the birds. I actually prefer the spring steel pegs to the plastic pegs which makes them a bit heavier but you may not agree.

flocked verses unflocked pigeon decoys

Pigeon decoys come painted and flock coated. (painted on the left, flocked on the right) Some believe that flocking reduces reflection and is more realistic but is more prone to damage.


Flocked decoys may be less shiney but if you get a cheap offer on painted deeks add them to the pile anyway. Full body decoys are a bit of pain but worth the extra hastle if, and only if, you are going to loft them in a tree, if not don’t bother. Add a few crows or magpies.



Your basic hide is a few poles with a bit of netting. Trouble is it falls over, gets blown over or isn’t really big enough. Use the lightest telescopic poles you can find and buy a few cheap plastic tent pegs and some guy ropes, honestly they will make a sturdy hide from a few flimsy poles. If sailing ships, cranes and ultra light aircraft use guy wires then they are probably the dogs danglies. 4 ounces of guy ropes will do better than 20lbs of steel poles. Your cammo netting is really only to break up your outline because you are wearing green or cammo clothes aren’t you?

Make your hide taller rather than wider. Nothing will ruin your shooting more than sitting on a foot stool and crouching down not to be seen. How high should it be? Well stand up or sit on a nice high shooting stick then work out how high your net needs to be to cover you up to the level of your shoulders. Add a bit for luck. There you have the perfect height. Add a few sticks or branches from your location, they should be a perfect match with your location too ( and you didn’t have to carry them either )

Seat is simple, get a shooting stick off fleabay for a tenner. Made for the job, hence the name. A shooting stick isn’t so much of a seat as a prop that you lean against until you mount your gun and lean forward off the stick to fire. If you really expect to be sitting around for hours between shots you should move or go home! If you take a chair then go for a tall three legged stool as they won’t wobble and are lighter.

Flask is an essential item summer or winter. Fill with your favourite brew. No alcohol ever. Enough said.

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The Pigeon Problem

If you haven’t seen flocking pigeons you might well think that shooters are looking for an excuse to shoot wood pigeon without reasonable justification. This short video shows a modest size flock of pigeon that had been observed feeding off the same rape field for several days. Each bird will fill it’s crop at least twice a day with the very growing tips that contain the important flower generating buds that make rape productive.

It can clearly be seen that these pigeon have become immune to the bird scaring tactics of the farmer and are continuing to damage his crops just as spring arrives with the burst of growth needed to produce a full harvest.


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