French shooters visit in August with great success.

Early August and the weather is sunny and warm ( even tropical) one minutes but with heavy showers welling up every few days. The wheat, barley and oat crops are looking very good, especially considering the early spring weather, but the rape is a sorry sight on a lot of farms here in Leicestershire. As yet, very few farmers have combined anything so there are few patches of stubble to shoot over.

Pigeons don’t wait for the wheat to fully ripen or for the farmers to start harvesting before they get into the crop. Any flattened patches or tyre tracks give them a dining table on which to feed and from any small patch they soon walk down large areas of cereal and strip it clean.

When scouting for another party of French shooters our guide Matt Cole spotted crop damage happening in quite a few areas of the same few fields and set up our visiting shooters to take full advantage. The party consisted of 6 shooters of mixed experience – Jean-Pierre Bonnemaire, Nicolas Bonnemaire, Garcia Laurent, Jean-Paul Garcia, Jean-Christophe Caudit and Mario Short who found success on all three days with 85 birds for 339 shots on day 1, 114 birds for 584 shots on day 2 and 67 birds 296 shots on their last day.

French make their contribution to pigeon control in Leicestershire, UK.

French make their contribution to pigeon control in Leicestershire, UK.

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French pigeon shooters enjoy success in blazing July weather

Last year, 2012, was the wettest July on record in much of the UK, this year it is probably going to be the hottest! Germination of wheat and rape crops were poor due to a cold wet spring with a few fields virtually failing to show a viable crop.

A strange side effect of the low yield of rape plants is a flush of red poppies in fields where farmers are spraying less to lower their input costs making much of England like the fields of northern France which should have made our French visitors feel very at home on their recent trip to Leicestershire.

Organised in conjunction with the French outfit Plaisir-Chasse-PĂȘ our four shooters, and a very supportive spouse, spent 3 days hunting wood pigeon over mixed crops and also put a sizeable dent in the local crow population.

Day 1


Visitors from France shooting wood pigeon and crow

Visitors from France shooting wood pigeon and crow

Shooting a total of 426 cartridges our French shooters downed a total of 91 wood pigeon and 28 crows on thier first UK outing. The bag shown is in-complete as the dogs were yet to collect some birds from crops and deep cover but a great bag all the same.

Day 2

59 woodies on the second day

Our guns and thier 59 woodies on the second day

Wood pigeon don’t flock at this time of year so these pigeon were shot as the transitted through the corn fields going to and from clover and other mid summer food sources and thier lay-up areas in the woods you can see in the background. Classic fast shooting!

Day 3

A day for the farmer who wants the crows around his building thinned out a bit.

This is a job that gets you brownie points with the all important farmer, crow bashing.

It is also good for the song bird population which takes a real battering from all corvids at this time of year. Eggs and chicks are a quick morsel for a big crow who will wipe out a nest in one visit. Partridge chicks are very vulnerable at this time of year too so keep at the corvids!

These crows fell to simple decoys on the rotary. Any convincing crow decoy will look like an intruder that needs to be chased away. Crows are very smart and very wary of humans but they seem to throw caution to the wind to chase away strangers so use this tactic to get them closer and distracted so you can hit them hard.

Crows fallen to simple decoy tactics and some good shooting.

Crows fallen to simple decoy tactics and some good shooting.


Organisers of shooting trips to the UK for pigeon advise a bag of 20 to 30 birds a day on average so our visitors did well with over 50 pigeon per day plus the corvids.

Looking forward to many more visitors from France!

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