How To Hunt For Wood Pigeon
” Pigeon is delicious and when ever I go fishing with my father I always take a break and go hunting for a bit, and wood pigeon is one of the most elusive and hard to catch birds there is, they are very timid and nervous, not like there scabby disease ridden city dwelling counterparts that crap on you at any given opportunity.
Wood pigeons are a lot smaller than city pigeons and they reside in thick dense woodland but can also be found near barns and sheds so a good place to start would be a farm, but get permission from the land owner first.
I did a post on hunting rabbit which explained the importance of a good rifle, now if you live in America then obviously you have a range of rifles that you are legally allowed to use, hell you could use a sniper rifle if you wanted, but here in the UK we are restricted and can only use air rifles.
I can not express the importance of a good rifle enough, you need to shell out some money for a good one usually around £300-£600 for a decent one, read my post on rabbit hunting it goes into more detail.
It is more important you have a silencer for pigeon hunting because believe it or not they are more timid than rabbits and require more silence, so get one, it will help tremendously.
First I will outline some essential kit you will need for a good pigeon hunt, it is worth getting this kit if you want to get a good yield.
These are plastic dummy pigeons which are used to entice real pigeons down from the trees in the belief there is food there. They are very cheap and I would get about 5 or 6 of them to start with.
Pigeons can spot the flash of a human face from a mile off, so good cammo netting is essential to hide behind, this sort is designed to look like a tree and is very effective
You can use sticks or pieces of branch to hold up your netting but to be honest a good set of hide poles is more stable and will last a life time
I have found many sites and forums saying you need this and that you must do this and you must do that, but unless you are planning a massive hunt to catch hundreds of pigeons most of it is not necessary, the most important thing is patience, make sure your hide is comfortable as you are going to be sitting there for a bit.
To set up your hide, find a nice field of crops with outlining woodland, pigeons love crops and the outlining woodland provides great cover, try to set the hide up with the wind behind you as this helps when the pigeons land near your decoys.
Setting up the decoys
Decoys are the best tool other than your rifle in catching pigeons, but don’t just arrange them in any old fashion, position the birds in a V pattern with your hide positioned side on like this
Now you should have a good hide set up and your decoys are in place, now it is a case of waiting, if it is a sunny day try not to put sunglasses on if you can help it, the glare from them can scare them away very easily, get a good comfortable seat behind the hide you have set up and position your rifle down towards the set up, you will need a good sight for maximum efficiency and again a silencer is essential in my view.
When shooting pigeon with an air rifle I have found it easier to aim just a few millimeters in front of the pigeons head, the reason is that a fraction of a second before the pellet hits, the pigeon normally reacts and will move slightly in an attempt to fly off, if you aim a little off as it reacts you will compensate for the movement and hit it bang on, I always aim for the head I know it is a smaller area to hit, but the less amount of damage I can do to the meat the better.
Once you have killed a pigeon you need to retrieve it as quickly as possible and get back behind your hide as soon as you have it, place it in a bag and wait for another to land.
You won’t catch hundreds like the big game boys do, but they spend hours looking around for perfect ground, setting up multiple hides etc and spend hours upon hours catching huge batches of them, this is a simple way to get a dozen or so pigeons for you, perhaps family and friends, pigeon is delicious and very good for you and of course it is free. Most farmers are quite happy for you to go on there land to hunt pigeon as it keeps them from eating there crops!
Here are some really good sites and stockists to visit:
This site is good to tell what crops pigeons go for:
For good air rifle stockists visit these
Please note: UK law means you wont be able to buy air rifles online and have them delivered you will need to visit the shop, or you could call the shop and arrange another way of collection.