PETER THEOBALD says: Forty yards is a good range to kill pigeons at, even though probably 90% of birds ending up in the bag are shot at under 30. It always amuses me when someone says they want their gun cartridge combination to be able to cope with 60 yarders, when they are often incapable of consistently killing 25 yarders!

Only the real top performers with a shotgun should contemplate firing at live birds beyond 40yds. These people have the ability to place their patterns on the neck and head of pigeons but the rest of us mere mortals should be content with honing our decoying skills so we never have to resort to long, flukey shots. We need to be safe in the knowledge any bird caught fairly in the pattern will be killed cleanly.

Despite what your friend says, if it gives you confidence then you should continue placing a marker outside the hide ? that way you will not be tempted to take overly long shots. Judging the height of a bird directly overhead can be a difficult matter but this gets easier if you can note its relative size at different distances over decoys. Your marker will speed up the learning process.

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