Substantial shooting towers are common in Europe, so why don’t we see them here? Graham Downing demonstrates how to build your own mirador
If you have been lucky enough to travel overseas to shoot driven wild boar, you may well have waited in what is known in Europe as a mirador, a tower with an open shooting platform that provides the shooter with a 360° field of fire. There is usually a bench seat, but also sufficient floor space for you to stand up to shoot running game, and since the shooting platform is elevated several feet off the ground, there is invariably a safe backstop.
High seats are, of course, popular in Britain, so why not the mirador? In this country, we don’t usually shoot running game with a rifle from the standing position, but a mirador still makes a cosy and enclosed position in which to wait for deer or, for that matter, rabbits, foxes or other pest species. And because it is supported by its own four legs, rather than being merely a lean-to structure like most high seats, it can be moved to any site where it is needed, irrespective of whether there is a suitable tree or other support to lean it against.
After using these structures on numerous occasions in Germany, Belgium, Hungary and elsewhere, I wondered if, with a bit of ingenuity, I could make a mirador of my own.
Gathering materials for to make a mirador
A stout loading pallet seemed to be the obvious platform to make the base of my structure, coupled with four 8ft fence posts to raise it off the ground. While working on the conversion of an old dairy building, I had salvaged a close-boarded flooring panel, and this, cut into suitably sized sections, made the enclosure to go around the sides of my pallet. With these few items, I had most of what I needed. Then it simply meant a trip to the builders’ merchant to buy fixings and any additional timber that was needed.
As it happened, my mirador took me a little more than a day to build, single-handed. I am not the world’s greatest woodworker, and I am sure that a skilled handyman would have been able to complete it in half the time. The structure was put in place at the end of last autumn beside a covercrop that was regularly visited by deer. On only the third time of its use, a guest grassed the first Chinese water deer off our small farm.
Mirador is a weighty structure
The mirador is a weighty structure, far too heavy for a single person to manhandle, but simple enough to move with a teleporter or a tractor and front- end loader. Its weight, however, provides it with great stability, and it has proved a really secure platform from which to observe wildlife and shoot quarry. It does not move or rock, even in a strong wind, while the bench seat provides a measure of comfort and the wooden screen offers a degree of shelter as well as a visual barrier.
I plan to leave it where it is for the time being, but after next harvest I shall move it to a different site where there is a regular rabbit problem. By swapping the .243 for my .17HMR, I am sure that it will provide the perfect elevated blind for evening bunny bashing. I am even thinking of taking a shotgun with me and using it for flighting pigeon.
Materials you need to make a mirador
Four x 8ft fence posts
Eight x 2.4m lengths of 75mm x 25mm sawn and treated timber
Eight x 150mm coach screws Selection of scrap timber and plywood