MARTIN TICKLER says: Baited Larsen traps will catch an occasional bird but GCT experiments prove that a Larsen trap is 15 times more likely to catch when it holds a captive decoy magpie. The upshot of this is you should talk to full time and part time keepers in your area who also run a trapping campaign to see if you can get a call bird from them. Most will be only too happy to supply a surplus magpie when they know it’s going to be put to good use.

If no one else in the area is catching magpies (and this is highly unlikely!) then as a last resort you might like to try building a fake nest containing hens eggs. It’s a ploy that can work from time to time early in the season.

March and April are the prime times to catch magpies because this is their most territorial time of the year. They take a great dislike to finding an intruder on their patch and are more likely to be caught when an ‘incomer’ suddenly appears on the scene.

In the meantime don’t leave a captive bird in one place too long: if it doesn’t catch another bird within three days, move it to another part of the shoot

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