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How do I shoot a startled wood pigeon?

It’s the one that flares and jinks on hearing the first shot, then quarters away from the hide.

I know the bird you’re talking about and maybe the best advice is to listen to the words of Cpl Jones in Dad’s Army – ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring, don’t panic’.

Trouble with this bird is the fact that it is going away from the hide and with each wing beat getting farther and farther away from the gun.

The fact that it also starts its escape with a few jinks simply adds to the fluster-factor.

Believe it or not you have a little more time on this bird than you might first think.

The important thing is to keep the gun out of the shoulder and watch it carefully over the muzzles while it goes through its evasion routine.

This rarely lasts more than a couple of twists after which it straightens out and pins its ears back for the escape run proper.

As soon as it settles in flight, move the gun and note which way it’s quartering. Now mount the gun, keep the swing going and squeeze the trigger.

Make absolutely CERTAIN that your face stays on the stock to avoid missing this bird high. If you really want to get boss of this target, you should go and shoot quartering-away DTL birds.

It’s best to call the bird with the gun just clear of the shoulder but make a mental note of the gap between muzzle and target when the face is glued to the stock’s comb.

With a little practice you’ll be nailing this bird eight times out of ten provided it’s in range.