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Pigeon Shooting - Red Letter Days (Part 6) - Matthew Walsh



I've only been pigeon shooting for 2 yrs. asked Bob if he'd take me under his wing and am I glad I did!


We lay out the birds for a photo, 108 in the bag. Brilliant day, definitely one to remember.

Fri 11 July 2014 ... 'My Red Letter day'

Thurs eve...London...sweltering tube train home from work, ditch the suit and the dog and I hop in the car and are out of North London on route to North Norfolk....

I've only been pigeon shooting for 2 yrs. asked Bob if he'd take me under his wing and am I glad I did! My shooting career is a bit back to front. Starting fifteen years or so ago as a syndicate gun on 200 bird driven days, a few years later adding half a dozen walk and stands and recently taken up pigeon shooting.

Arrive at the cottage late and tired but having learnt from previous experience, I get all the gear out to avoid a mad panic in the morning...bed.

Friday morning...drive to Bob's and from there in convoy we drive to a Country Estate nr Swanton Morley. Barley just been harvested, overcast and light drizzle, mist really not enough to get you wet, just hanging in the air. Not particularly relishing sitting in the rain when it comes, but it never did. That said I love the day out as much as the shooting. The dog and me, a picnic and radio in case there's not much moving and just the time out from day to day life.

Bob sets me up, decoys and couple of birds from the freezer on the battery powered spinning thing (I must find out what it's called). Into the hide, back to the copse, woods 100 yards across the field out in front and off to the left. Bob wishes me luck and leaves me to it.

Within 30 mins a dozen birds in the bag. Bob calls to check in and I've not had time for a cup of tea! For me (I'm no crack shot) the next couple of hours are great, a steady stream, decoying well, a whole variety of sporting shots, some appearing from no where snap shots, left to rights, right to left out going, arching at height and distance and incoming head on into the pattern.

I'm using my browning semi-auto just been serviced yet jamming too frequently but not spoiling things that much. Trying to decide when to grab a bite to eat, pour drink or light a fag are the biggest dilemma I'm facing today, I can handle that sort of stress.

Many memorable shots, 3 for 3 seated with battenberg hanging out of my mouth, the middle shot at quite some distance, I was astonished to see it drop. 2 for 1 shot over my right shoulder. When it did quieten down for a spell I was just practicing mounting the gun (mount is crucial for me) and a bird appeared sitting on the bead, bagged.

Guinness my cocker had a literal field day. I absolutely love watching him work. He's not the best at quartering or at getting out from me but once he has and gets into the swing he retrieves and straight back and into my hand then he's off for another. And any flapper will immediately catch his eye and he's on it like a shot.

Guinness picks another bird

"Guinness picks another bird"

2pm ish...Am I really running low on shells? Before I get a text off to bob to beg for a special delivery he appears on the horizon checking in again and is happy to come back later with half a slab just in the nic of time.

6pm ish i collect in all the birds I've been adding to fill out the decoy pattern and have a count up...5 times I count, I think all the shootings affected my brain, 84, 96, 104, 94, 94 ok so I'll stay a bit longer. At 99 I text bob, one more and I'll pack up. Bang 100! But I have a dozen shells left to my name...I'll use them up. 

7:30pm...As Bob arrives I've just finished picking up more empty shells than I'm prepared to admit to and piles of dead birds. Birds are still flying in, my dogs now chasing them in the sky. I know there are 5 pigeon behind me in the deep ditch and 3 out in the woods in front. Bobs lab goes in and out and in and out 5 birds, and another 2 in front.

We lay out the birds for a photo, 108 in the bag. Brilliant day, definitely one to remember.

Ps. I write this a week after, my legs have just recovered, I've been walking like an old man for days (I'm 39). Must start doing more exercise, or perhaps shoot permanently sitting down.

Happy but knackered

"Happy but knackered"


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