How many decoys do I need when pigeon shooting?
PETER THEOBALD says: There is no particular number of decoys in a pattern which dictates whether that particular pattern works or not.
I have had bags of over 100 where I had no decoys at all to start with, and on other occasions, I have put out every decoy I could lay my hands on.
I guess the minimum I would start with these days is 12, as you can make a reasonable pattern with this number right from the outset.
The whole object, of course, is to try and manoeuvre pigeons into the easiest shootable position, so I always add birds to the layout until I am satisfied every pigeon that enters the field can see it.
The most decoys I have used, and this was on oilseed rape, was about 70.
The important thing with any decoy pattern is that the ‘gap’ which incoming birds make for should be kept as free as possible of dead pigeons, and especially those that fall on their backs. If the gap fills up, pigeons on the wing will start to skirt the pattern, creating more difficult shooting.
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