ED­DIE JONES

Ed­die Jones is de­coy­ing pi­geons in his favourite kit

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Ed­die looks back on an event­ful sum­mer, sorts out his au­tumn hunt­ing wardrobe - and bags ten pi­geons and a mag­pie!

By the time you read this, our sum­mer should well and truly be gone, and the cooler air along with stun­ning colour changes in our land­scapes will show the ar­rival of au­tumn. So what has this sum­mer been like for me? Well, it has been good as a whole. I have had some re­ally good days and some proper night­mares that you never want to hap­pen. We all like to re­mem­ber the good ones the most, but those bad days can give us lessons that we should take on board, to learn from and so elim­i­nate any mis­takes for fu­ture hunts.

This sum­mer I’ve been do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent for a change be­cause I was in­vited to take part in some film­ing for my spon­sor, Air Arms. The short videos were not for me to go out and shoot ev­ery­thing in sight, but to show why we go out to con­trol pests – with a lit­tle shoot­ing ac­tion thrown in. I was happy do­ing this, even though I am a night­mare on film – it just isn’t me, but I tried my best. We get so much bad press for shoot­ing an­i­mals to­day, so to bring out some­thing that might ed­u­cate non-shoot­ers is a win­ner in my eyes.

A CHANGE OF MIND

I showed the video to some work col­leagues who I know are pretty anti-shoot­ing and un­der­stand­ably, they found the shoot­ing bit hard to watch, but lis­ten­ing to why we con­trol the pests we shoot did have a pos­i­tive ef­fect and I’m not looked upon like a blood-thirsty killer any more. The videos have had a great re­sponse from view­ers, so you never know, there might be more in the pipe­line in the fu­ture.

This sum­mer has also given me chance to give the new Gala­had a real test on all pest species. I have the .177 and the .22 FAC and both have de­liv­ered fault­less re­sults. It took some get­ting used to at first; the low cheek piece and higher mount set-up felt weird, but I soon got used to the aim points on the Hawke Sidewinder and Air­max for the dif­fer­ent dis­tances and an­gles.

FEEL THE FLEECE

I have also been asked about the cloth­ing I wear, so here’s a low- down of the gear I am wear­ing now. The new­est ad­di­tion to my cloth­ing is the new fleece range, some­thing that I have been wait­ing for a long time

from Jack Pyke. The range has a Field­man hoodie and a fleece pullover; the hoodie comes in a plain green colour or the English oak pat­tern, but the pullover is in English Oak only. These tops have be­come firm favourites of mine when shoot­ing dur­ing the day and at night.

I wear the Coun­try­man Trousers all the time now, and they are per­fect for any si­t­u­a­tion; silent when stalk­ing and wa­ter­proof on the butt for when you want to sit down be­cause they are re­in­forced with 600D wa­ter­proof Ox­ford Cor­dura at the knees and seat. They also have two front up­per pock­ets, two cargo pock­ets with flaps, rear zipped pock­ets, ad­justable Vel­cro an­kle fas­ten­ing, belt loops, and fly zip.

The boots that I use have been the bril­liant, too. I still have the same pair that I was first given to try over four years ago. I wear them some­times when sea fish­ing and they are still leak free. The Field­man boots are made from full-grain leather, sup­ported by a Vi­bram trek rub­ber sole, a high rub­ber rand for all ter­rain pro­tec­tion, and a Hy­dro­guard mem­brane – which is wa­ter­proof and breath­able, with 200gms in­su­la­tion. The Agion anti-mi­cro­bial treat­ment (odour re­sis­tant) part I re­ally like, also a padded tongue and heel with a speed-lace sys­tem. The Jack Pyke head net, gloves and cap com­ple­ment it all, and there is the kit that I’ve been us­ing this sum­mer. I will most def­i­nitely be wear­ing it through the win­ter, but it will be ac­com­pa­nied by some warmer gear that I will share in fu­ture ar­ti­cles.

PEST CON­TROL

So, let’s get to some pest con­trol. The lat­est video that I did was shoot­ing wood­pi­geons, but when film­ing these videos you don’t get much shoot­ing time. What with all the ‘ takes’ that we had to do, which were mainly my fault, shoot­ing is prob­a­bly the least bit filmed so I wanted to have an­other go at this lo­ca­tion and see what I could get on my own.

I ar­rived at the ground around the same time, about 130pm, set up the hide in ten min­utes, and placed out the de­coys. In the film, I had placed them on a muck pile be­hind the trees, but this time I thought I’d place some on the grass be­tween me and the trees, too. The trees I had in front of me were more of a rest area, and al­though I had a large muck pile 100 yards to my left, there was nowhere that I could build a hide. I was try­ing to pull them away from that, and hoped they would land in the trees to take a look at my de­coys. There was still a lot of cover on the branches and this made it a bit harder to find the pi­geons, but I was us­ing the FAC Gala­had, so if a side- on shot did present it­self, I was con­fi­dent that the .22 pel­let would knock it down just as ef­fec­tively as a head shot.

HID­ING

The hide is made from four Jack Pyke hide poles, which are very good for get­ting in the ground and are solid when fixed in place. I then cover it with army DPM net­ting on the out­side, but I will use a Jack Pyke clear-view hide net be­hind it, and to fin­ish it off I use a lit­tle of the nat­u­ral flora around me. When shoot­ing from a hide, I usu­ally like to find a nice rest to shoot from, but to­day I had to use my trig­ger sticks be­cause there was no nat­u­ral rest. This def­i­nitely helps to give you the stead­i­est shot pos­si­ble for a clean kill.

It was a slow start, and only one pi­geon had come in af­ter an hour. In the film it had been bet­ter, so it was not look­ing good. Pa­tience is the key when pi­geon­shoot­ing from a hide, so I was not too wor­ried, but things do start go­ing through your mind. The next hour was a bit bet­ter, though. I man­aged two more pi­geons and a bonus mag­pie that had dropped in to check out one of the dead pi­geons. The wind was now caus­ing prob­lems too, and the gusts were pretty strong, I would say up to 30- 40 mph, so if the pi­geons dropped onto the thin­ner branches, it was too dif­fi­cult to guar­an­tee a clean hit, so al­though I had only shot a few so far, I was get­ting more come in to rest.

BUILD­ING A BAG

The next cou­ple of hours were frus­trat­ing. Nearly ev­ery pi­geon was land­ing in the thick­est part of the tree where they were cov­ered, or on the thin branches. How­ever, those that had opted for the thicker branches were cleanly dis­patched. I had now got eight pi­geons and the mag­pie, but the rain show­ers that had been fore­cast had now started and con­di­tions were not very com­fort­able. I braved a good few more down­pours be­fore I de­cided enough was enough, and as soon as I thought the gear was dry, I packed up as quickly as pos­si­ble. I had fin­ished with ten pi­geons and a mag­pie, a bit bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous out­ing and with­out the wind and rain I would def­i­nitely have been in the 20-plus range. I will be keep­ing an eye on this spot for the next few weeks and I might just get that bumper bag.

Not my big­gest bag, but I was happy with it con­sid­er­ing the con­di­tions

I love these boots and they’ve lasted well

My new trousers have loads of stor­age pock­ets and are com­fort­able

The back­side and knees have wa­ter­proof re­in­force­ment

I’m find­ing the new fleece hoodie very use­ful

I like to have a good solid ri­fle rest in the hide

Adding some lo­cal fo­liage seems to make a dif­fer­ence

Jack Pyke’s hide poles are easy to trans­port and strong in use

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