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20 dead birds and one very much alive!.


20 dead birds and one very much alive! A major rant from an anti.
 
Late July and the harvest of autumn barley has got underway this week. At last we can drive across the stubbles and get to where we want to be, or even more importantly, where the pigeons want to be.
Following a morning spent building a new partridge pen for my small shoot, my brother Alan and I have decided to treat ourselves to an afternoon of pigeon shooting on freshly cut barley stubble on one of the many farms that I have permission to shoot on.
The previous afternoon I had spoken to the farmer and he was quite happy for us to shoot that field. He also mentioned that the field in question along with the one opposite will be drilled this autumn with oilseed rape and he would appreciate me keeping an eye on both fields - always happy to oblige.
We set up on the part of the field that had been host to most of the birds over the past two afternoons.
Typical then that today the pigeons don’t want to be on this part of the stubble but while we sit and watch birds flitting about further down the field, it becomes apparent that today we should set up under a big oak half way down the field. OK this is much better and birds are decoying. It’s about 2:30pm so we still have time to make a bag.
At the bottom of the field stands a large white house approximately 600 yards from our hide; we are not shooting towards the house so I am not overly concerned. It is certainly out of range of falling shot although clearly they would hear the gun if they are in their back garden.
A pigeon decoys and brother Alan has a couple of bangs immediately followed by the aggressive shouts from a mans voice from the back garden of the house. I am always sensitive about such things as it is all too easy to upset the locals and although I can walk away, the farmer has to coexist with these people and if I make life difficult for the farmer I will lose the shooting.
Alan and I both agree that we should clear away and pick up the shot birds and defuse the situation. No such luck as although Mr Allmouth keeps his head down we now have a rather beautiful young lady striding towards us.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?” she shouts. “Shooting” says Alan. That is her Q for a real rant. We are vile, we have no right to be here, we are cruel, etc, etc… A mixture of aggression and bad language really make me want to retaliate but I have learned to keep my mouth shut at times like this.
We carry on clearing hide, decoys, and empty shells when she starts again, “I have wounded pigeons in my garden”. I am sure she has no such thing but I apologise and offer to come to her garden and collect the wounded birds. She flatly refuses to let me anywhere near her garden. OK say I, throw it over the hedge and I will deal with it. I can’t do that it’s wounded. Yeah, I struggled with that one too.
This is followed by some more bad language and threats to call the police. We agree that she should call the police, so she then switches to “the farmer is a good friend of mine” on cross-examination it is clear she doesn’t have a clue who the farmer is.
I try to explain that what we are doing is a culling pigeon for crop protection as oilseed rape will be drilled here very soon. The glazed look on her face shows me that she has no idea what I am talking about and when I tell her that the wood pigeon is a major agricultural pest she dismisses it as rubbish.
I also point out that the pigeons go to the game dealer and are processed for food – another glazed look
At this point I tell her that she has a bad attitude and a foul mouth and I don’t have time for either.
The very next thing I do is phone the farmer and explain exactly what has just happened. I am told not to worry and that these people rent the big house and are always complaining about something. Terrible shame as she was a great looking woman and both Alan and I would have made her most welcome in our hide.
 
 

Pigeons Hitting the Stubble

"Pigeons Hitting the Stubble "



This incident brought to mind another occasion from a few years ago. One of my regular pigeon shooters wanted to bring a friend and his young son for their first pigeon outing.
One of the farms that I shoot had just chopped up the maize/game cover and it looked pretty damn good and an ideal place for the newbies to get their first taste of decoying pigeons.
The arrangement was that Geoff would go in one hide to coach the youngster and I would go in the other hide with his dad. Both Geoff and I had a dog with us so everything would be done by the book – that’s the way we do it and we want to show these guys the way it should be done.
At the end of a very successful day father and son have shot around 80 birds from the two hides, what a great start to their pigeon decoying career.
Now, time to clear up. As we are clearing hides, decoys etc I am aware of a white van at the edge of the field and get the feeling we are being watched.
Soon a guy wearing dark trousers and navy blue jumper is walking towards us. I walk towards him and we introduce our selves, he was from the RSPCA.
He says he had received a complaint from a dog walker claiming wounded pigeons were flapping about all over the field. I explained that simply wasn’t true and that each hide had the support of a fully trained gun dog to minimise any suffering of wounded birds.
To my surprise he said, I can see you guys know exactly what you are doing and I have no concerns at all. I am duty bound to follow up the complaint but I shall be telling the lady that what you are doing is legal and you are doing it correctly.
I wanted to ask him to tell the dog walker that this is private farm land and she should walk her dog elsewhere, but hey, sometimes you gotta quit while you’re ahead.

 

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