PI­GEONS:

We in­tro­duce a se­ries of short films for pi­geon shoot­ers

Sporting Shooter - - Contents -

One thing is for sure, there won’t be a hosepipe ban this sum­mer. Af­ter the snow, ice and gale-force winds of the Beast from the East, the early spring weather has been cool and very, very wet.

It’s late March but there has been lit­tle in the way of ev­i­dence of spring just yet. “I de­cided to get all my crops in last year, so for the first time I can re­call, I have got no drillings to worry about,” Andy says, “and I’m pretty happy about that. Those that have are strug­gling to get ma­chin­ery on the ground and many are al­ready run­ning be­hind.”

There is an un­spo­ken mes­sage in those words as we set up cam­eras and tripods un­der the first mean­ing­ful sun­shine of the year. And that mes­sage is: “hurry up, I need to go spray­ing”!

But, in a change from our usual monthly meet-ups, he’s set aside a few pre­cious hours to host a new se­ries of short films in which he is cov­er­ing the es­sen­tials of pi­geon shoot­ing and how he goes about the job.

“Nor­mally we would be out with a gun. There are birds build­ing up on chick­weed here among the rape plants, and a friend has large num­bers mov­ing in on his Lucerne so there is a bit of sport to be had, even with­out a day on the drillings.”

Andy has been shar­ing his ad­vice in these pages for over seven years and has built a huge fol­low­ing on­line and on so­cial me­dia, too. “Peo­ple of­ten want to come up to me at shows and talk pi­geon shoot­ing. They want to know what the se­cret to suc­cess is. And there re­ally is noth­ing spe­cial about what I do! There are plenty of pi­geon shoot­ers and guides who are out more than me and take big­ger bags than I do or who are bet­ter shots than me.

“For me, the main thing is that I don’t hold any­thing back in my ar­ti­cles or my films. What­ever I do, I share. I can’t promise it’ll work for every­body, all of the time, but this is how I do it and over the years, I’ve had plenty of good days – and plenty of not-so-good ones, too!

“Every­body has their own way of do­ing things. Bits and bobs you learn over the years that work for you when the go­ing is tough. Tips you pick up from an old-timer with 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence. A new piece of kit that hits the mar­ket and gives an edge. There are no rights or wrongs, re­ally.”

I don’t have the courage to point out that Andy is that old-timer with 40-odd years ex­pe­ri­ence…

This first batch of films will cover some of the ba­sics that ev­ery pi­geon shooter will need to mas­ter, but hope­fully there will be some gems of wis­dom that will help even the more ex­pe­ri­enced shoot­ers out there learn some­thing new.

“I want the films to be short, easy to di­gest and un­der­stand and also easy to share with your mates on so­cial me­dia. I want shoot­ers of all ages and ex­pe­ri­ence lev­els to be able to get some­thing from them but the fo­cus for these is def­i­nitely on those at the start of their shoot­ing jour­ney.”

‘Peo­ple of­ten come up to me at shows and want to know what my se­cret to suc­cess is – and there re­ally is noth­ing spe­cial about what I do!’

So what ex­actly will we be cov­er­ing? Here, Andy talks us through the first hand­ful of sub­jects he will be ex­plor­ing.

Hide build­ing

“There are two main types of hide that I build and no mat­ter what time of the year it is, I al­ways go about the build the same way. I’ll be talk­ing through where to site your hide, what I am look­ing for in an ef­fec­tive lo­ca­tion and how to go about build­ing hides in hedgerows and out in the mid­dle of a field. I’ll look at nets and how to cam­ou­flage the hides, too.”

De­coys

“I’m go­ing to be look­ing at all the dif­fer­ent types of de­coy that you can buy and ex­plain how I set them out and at what range.”

Flap­pers and whirlies

“What are they, how do they work and how should you use them? Some peo­ple think that whirlies are a magic bul­let, but they are just a tool in the ar­moury and I will ex­plain how to set them up and how I use them in the field. I’ll look at bat­ter­ies and cam­ou­flag­ing too.”

Guns and ammo

“The very sim­plest pi­geon shoot­ing I do is just me with a gun and a bag of car­tridges, noth­ing else. The right gun, the right choke and the right car­tridge will help en­sure that you get the best from the day, no mat­ter what the con­di­tions.

“I will be ex­plain­ing what guns I pre­fer and why, along with some ad­vice on the chokes and car­tridges that I use.”

Andy dis­cusses gun and choke se­lec­tion

Know­ing your de­coy ranges is cru­cial for a big bag

Andy’s hides are al­ways a sight to be­hold – un­less you’re a pi­geon!

The right car­tridge can en­sure you get the best from your day

Whirlies and flap­pers are key tools

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