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Roost Shoot.

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Roost Shoot.

Postby Cranfield » February 8th, 2019, 7:02 am

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 rape 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.
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Re: Roost Shoot.

Postby Blue spinner » February 8th, 2019, 7:46 am

it sounded like it was fun
One thing about the speed of light it gets here too early in the morning
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Re: Roost Shoot.

Postby DixieReb » February 8th, 2019, 4:54 pm

Thanks, that was a good read. It sounds a lot like the way dove hunting used to be here in the South. I can't imagine killing 35 birds, that was a lot of cleaning to do. :roll:
Yours in the South
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Re: Roost Shoot.

Postby Cranfield » February 8th, 2019, 6:38 pm

With pigeon, I usually just take the breast meat, sometimes I will crown the bird.
In my more active pigeon shooting years almost all the birds I shot were sold to the Game Dealers, in the busy times of the year this would be 2-300 birds a week.
This helped to pay for my cartridges and subsidised the non edible vermin shooting I did.
I have yet to find anyone that will buy a dead crow or fox. :-)
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