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Roost Shoot 02/19

CranfieldCranfield Posts: 1,478 Officer

I received an invite to a roost shoot for last night, this was from the Gamekeeper of a Shoot I use to be a member of.
The game season has finished (so no disturbing the pheasants) and the pigeons have been causing havoc on the winter **** and greens.
The plan was for a dozen or so guns to meet up at 2pm and he would distribute us around the large woodlands on the estate. This keeps the birds on the move and helps ensure that a good number of birds are accounted for.

All very efficient, well planned and some good guns chosen, an enjoyable session was on the cards, but the weather on the morning was no wind, cold and bright sunshine.
Not good, but fortunately by midday it changed, the strong winds and rain we had prayed for arrived.

Everybody was on time (Gamekeeper's invites are like Royal summons, not to be ignored) and after the briefing we were on our way.
Seniority of age ensured I was dropped off with a very short walk to my spot.
There had been some coppicing in the wood and I quickly found some stacked wood fronting a small clearing, with some nice almost leafless trees around me and some large oaks nearby.
The pigeons love these for roosting.

The dull, rough weather meant the birds came in early to roost and I started to hear a few shots from the distant woods , that never fails to sharpen the senses and cause the head to swivel round expectantly.
The first birds arrived shortly, a small group of five, low over the trees twisting and turning in the wind (just like yachts tacking), as they came over the clearing I dropped one and just removed a small branch with the second shot and four made off.

It got busier as the afternoon wore on and darker, with the birds getting more set on landing in the trees.
At first they are prepared to circle and choose their spot, but as it gets later the will fly in and land as soon as possible.
This speeds up the shooting and unless you consciously take your time, it will increase your chance of missing.
The choice of targets becomes almost overwhelming, just like a large flush on the claygrounds.
Pick your bird, stick with it, shoot it and then look for another one.
It also saves on cartridges
Its so easy to end up swinging the gun around, changing your mind and ending up hitting nothing.

I had a fair number of birds on the ground, I picked up 35 and there were a couple stuck up the trees.
The Keeper ran his dog round and found a few more that were in the brambles.
By now it was quite dark in the woods, you almost needed a torch to get around.
When we all arrived back at the farm it sounded as though everyone had some good shooting, the unconfirmed bag was 420+ birds, with a few rooks and crows added.
The Farmer will be happy and more importantly, so will the Gamekeeper (future invites assured).

This morning I ache, the neck has stiffened up and a few hours standing in the damp and cold has given the back some grief,
However, I am happy and I enjoyed myself, the aches will disappear eventually and the memories remain.

Edit Note -The censored farm crop is r-a-p-e and I apologise for the smaller print, I am not sure what happened there.


  • ferris1248ferris1248 Posts: 8,601 Moderator
    A good story and thanks for sharing.

    Good to see you're still involved to a degree.

    "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole of the law. The rest is commentary."

    Rabbi Hillel (c20 BCE)

  • FamilyfisherFamilyfisher Posts: 2,996 Captain
    I do enjoy reading your posts, sir.  Thank you.
    Proverbs 13:3
  • ferris1248ferris1248 Posts: 8,601 Moderator
    Another Cranfield yarn...

    Not as daft as she looks.


    An old friend telephoned me yesterday to say that his grandson and family were visiting for a few days and asking if I could take the grandson, who is a clay pigeon shooter, but has never shot live birds, out pigeon shooting while they were here.
    Now he knows I don't like taking inexperienced people shooting with me, so he was calling in a few favours to make the request.
    I agreed immediately and suggested a time to meet up today and we would try to give him a few shots.

    The most effective way to get reasonable bags of pigeons is to shoot over decoys from a hide. 
    However,its my experience that newbie live quarry shooters are like little kids going fishing. 
    You have to keep them occupied constantly, or their attention wanders and they get bored.
    So as there can be long quiet periods when hide shooting, plus I won't shoot two to a hide(so I wouldn't get any shooting), that ruled that approach out.
    I decided we would flightline shoot and when a flightline dried up we could just get up and walk/drive to the next one.
    All we needed to carry were folding seats and our guns.

    I picked him up at the appointed time and suggested he leave his gaudy clay shooting jacket with all the badges on it behind and borrow an old green Barbour coat from his Grandpa and he also borrowed a shooting stick seat.
    As we were about to leave, my friends old retired Labrador got excited and wanted to come with us, she must have smelt the gun oil on me.
    She was a good gundog, but hadn't worked for over four years and was no longer at her best working weight, but as we would be do nothing too strenuous , I suggested she came along.

    First stop was the hedgerow surrounding a 60+ acre field of ****, the birds usually entered and left the field at two specific points, one marked by a large oak tree that stood higher than the hawthorns and the other spot was where a line of electric poles entered the field.
    We went to stand in the hedge by the oak first and had a few easy crossing birds, but they spooked off quickly and with a change in the wind direction I decided we should move to a nearby wood.

    We were on the lee of the wood, which was adjacent to another large field of **** and the main flight line from the field to the wood and back, was over a narrow part of the wood that jutted out into the field about 50 yards.
    We sat back in the tree line and were soon quite busy with passing birds.
    The wind had increased and was helping to mask our shots, so incoming birds still kept coming.

    At this point I should mention that the grandson is a high flyer in international finance in the City of London, a very highly qualified and as it turned out, a very pleasant young chap.
    I continued to impress him by shooting all the easy birds and missing little and he was doing OK, but struggling at times to judge the lead required on some of the birds, usually missing behind.

    He eventually got the hang of things and near the end of the day he took down a very high bird, which in the wind dropped the other side of the narrow spit of trees we were standing alongside.
    The old lab wandered off, as she had been doing all afternoon (and returning with a bird), but was gone for some time.
    The grandson suggested he should go look for her and off he went.

    He returned after a while and said that she was just sitting down with her nose in the air and wouldn't move.
    Grandpa had said that the old dog had become a bit eccentric at times lately and the grandson was convinced she was exhibiting the symptoms now.
    So we both went after her.
    She was indeed just sitting by the tree line with her nose in the air, casting her head about.
    I asked him had he noticed that her eyes were either side of her nose, he laughed and said "of course", I then asked him what he thought she was looking at, when he looked up there was the dead pigeon, caught in a branch 40ft above her head.

    "How embarrassing" I laughed, "City Whizz Kid shown up by an old retired labrador".
    He laughed and said, "not shown up too badly, she could never have shot that high bird".
    "Only because I wouldn't lend her my gun " I replied.
    Then we went home.

    "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole of the law. The rest is commentary."

    Rabbi Hillel (c20 BCE)

  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,574 AG

    Thanks for sharing and I know you enjoyed it.

    I didn't realize y'all were 11 days ahead of us :)

    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • BayBobBayBob Posts: 865 Officer
    Nothing like the first upwind shots to get your attention, a great feeling. Thanks for sharing.
  • skyway andeskyway ande Posts: 3,813 Captain
    Great great report 
    God, save the South!
  • CranfieldCranfield Posts: 1,478 Officer
    02/19 is February/2019 .
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral

    Picking a target, committing to it, and staying focused on it all the way until the follow through is finished before picking another target is one of the hardest tasks in wing-shooting.
    I once took a fellow to a wood duck shoot that had never been before.
    We were in a cypress swamp with lots of flooded timber.
    We stood around in knee deep water for about 20 minutes waiting on the magical moment when every wood duck in11 1/2 counties decided to fly into this one 15 acre pond.
    The first pair came in with no great fanfare or trickery just an easy passing shot and we took them without too much problem.  Five minutes later it was like standing in a swarm of bees except the flight of the bumble bee was the flight of the WOOD DUCKS!!!
    If you've never shot woodies in low light and flooded timber you have no idea of what I'm trying to describe.  If you have, you will have no problem understanding what I'm about to say.
    My friend stood there in the mud and spun around in circles raising and lowering his shotgun unable to commit to one target before another one caught his eye.
    This type of shoot doesn't last very long, but my friend may have fired his shotgun 5 or 6 times at the most.

    I was kind enough to take him again, but this time was a morning feed pond shoot where the numbers are still there, but the action is a bit slower and he was able to actually show his prowess with a fowling piece.

    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • CranfieldCranfield Posts: 1,478 Officer
    It is hard to explain it to people and itdoes take some experience to deal with it, the first few times it happens you almost become disorientated by the swarming of the birds.
    It would be easier if they were static targets, or on the ground, but they are all moving and above your head.
    Practice makes perfect, but practice still doesn't stop you occasionally thinning out the treetops by accident.
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral

    I've learned not to pick shots between branches.  All it does is throw off your swing and timing.
    Pick a swing path and pull the trigger when it is right.  You'll take down more birds, but you will trim some branches in the process.

    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,574 AG
    I was/still am at times guilty of having a large group of birds mess me up. 15-20 Ducks decoying can be the debil at times....
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,022 Captain
    Glad to see you are still at it Brian, if even at a slower pace, nothing like a good wing shoot, no matter the species.
    F the feds
  • Old DogOld Dog Posts: 554 Officer
    Enjoyed the read Brian.

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