This expert guide to pigeon shooting sees Roberth Cuthbert talk to the team who shoot wood pigeon in their thousands.
THE BEST TIP FOR A PEFECT DAY’S PIGEON SHOOTING
Although pleased with these snippets of information, the one thing I really needed from the horse’s mouth was the single tip to improve your chances greatly during a day at the pigeon. “It’s dull and it’s time consuming but, as Richard said earlier, it’s decent recce I’m afraid. You see, I run a little network as reconnaissance really is that vital for us. I have a family, I work in London, very often long days. I just can’t put in the time necessary to make it all work. I’ve odd chunks of land here and there: Hampshire and a fairly big block just inside the M25, so it does take a bit of doing. Of course, the farmers don’t hang around in telling us, either, and it all helps. Richard does a lot for me as does a chap who drives for me during the season. It’s pivotal that somebody puts the time in, or you simply wait and nobody comes. I see my pigeon season as the 1st of February through to the end of September, it all gets a bit hectic then really.”
Yes, I imagine all those grouse just have to be shot by you, Peter. Taking the dig well, Peter fanned his diary pages at me and all I could smell was spent ammo.
“The 2009/10 pigeon season has seen us shoot just shy of 13,000 birds in what – 50 outings or so, including days with friends. This includes some corvids. OK, the game dealer won’t be interested, but we’re here to keep the pests down. If they present themselves, they’ve got to go. And, you know,
I think we make a difference. There’s no way we’d shoot 10% of the pigeon Richard and I see, but every thousand we shoot, I’m pretty sure, equates to around £300 the farmer saves.”
As the shot rate stepped up and we neared three figures, I nibbled my lunch and made my notes. I was looking for something to illustrate his commitment when his mobile phone trilled once before being checked and silenced. You couldn’t have found a more basic Nokia. I quizzed him on the whereabouts of a Blackberry or similar. “Not here,” he said. “Emergencies only.” He stood sharply, and with a squirt of feathers another pigeon crumpled into the decoys and lay still. “This is what I’m here to do.”