A new book by Tom Payne being launched at this year’s Midland Game Fair offers pigeon shooters a new and definitive guide to the sport.

Regular readers of Tom Payne’s pigeon shooting articles in this magazine will no doubt be delighted to learn that the tips, hints, teaching and technical advice that Tom gives each month can now also be found in a new book, The Pigeon Shooter’s Diary, published later this month. Based on Tom’s writing for Shooting Times, it covers every aspect of the sport, including a detailed description of the woodpigeon, its habits and behaviour, and in-depth information and advice on reconnaissance, flightlines, the weather, basic kit, hides and decoying.

Pigeon Shooter's Diary

The book also includes a foreword by Shooting Times Editor Joe Dimbleby, who writes that: “Tom is a passionate pigeon shooter and his desire to share his passion and pass on knowledge to others is inspiring. He possesses the creativity essential to being a good teacher.

“This book will, I am sure, become a bible for pigeon shooters and sit happily on the shelf alongside the likes of Will Garfit and Archie Coats.”

Review of The Pigeon Shooter’s Diary 

Renowned pigeon shooter and Sporting Gun contributor, Peter Theobald, gives his thoughts on the book

Pigeon Shooter's Diary

Peter Theobald gives his thoughts on Tom Payne’s book

Usually, when a new book about pigeon shooting is published, you have to sift through its pages and first of all discard the old wives’ tales that the author insists are essential to success. Stuff like cutting the eyelids off dead birds before you use them as decoys, or pigeon having the ability to work out that a scruffy hide built in the middle of a field contains a shooter with evil intent.

Occasionally, though, a book comes along that reinforces the principles, established more than 50 years ago by the legendary Archie Coats, of making large bags of pigeon, and brings them up to date. Such a book is about to hit the market (and in time for Christmas, pigeon shooting widows take note!) and it is this one, Tom Payne’s The Pigeon Shooter’s Diary.

Tom has a remarkably common-sense approach to the art of pigeon shooting for someone so young. This can be attributed to his farming background. The son of a Hertfordshire farmer, he has been shooting since the age of eight and took his first bag of pigeon at 13, when pigeon shooting became his main passion.

There is no doubt that being exposed to the daily habits of woodpigeon on a regular basis allows you to predict when and where this sporting bird will feed, essential information if you hope to outsmart it and make large bags. Tom goes through every detail, from obtaining permission from farmers, to selling or preparing the bag at the end of the day. You will read the word “reconnaissance” on every page, as Tom rightly points out that this is the cornerstone of every day out in the field, whether it results in a bag of 15 or 215. Various crops are dealt with, as well as the tactics needed to consistently get the best results, taking weather conditions into consideration.

There is not a single aspect of the sport that Tom has not applied his analytical mind to with a view to maximising any opportunities coming his way, from emphasising the importance of sound technique to comfort in the hide. All in all, this book has the potential to become the pigeon shooter’s bible for years to come.

Pigeon Shooter's Diary

About Tom Payne

Tom Payne graduated from Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, and worked as a professional pigeon Shot and sporting agent before joining the West London Shooting School in 2007 as a full-time gameshooting instructor. Since leaving the school in 2012, Tom has worked as a gameshooting instructor and specialist gunfitter for many companies and private clients around the world.

The Pigeon Shooter’s Diary (£20, ISBN 9781846892363) published by Quiller (www.quillerpublishing. com) will be launched at the Midland Game Fair on 17 September. Fairgoers will be able to meet Tom at the Shooting Times stand from 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm and buy a signed copy.