First light or early morning - when is the best time to shoot pigeon during the winter months? Peter Theobald has the answer.

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I’m sure many will agree with me when I say that pigeons seldom return to the field where they have been ‘baptised’ at first light, with the exception, maybe, of drillings, where you might have the only source of food for miles around.

There is no doubt that pigeons will pour from their winter roost at first light, but that is actually the problem, they arrive in one continuous flock, and give you sport for maybe an hour, and that’s assuming your reconnaissance has put you in the right spot in the first place!

I prefer to let birds have this first feed in peace, with the intention of pushing them away later, and hopefully, breaking up the flocks in the process.

Having said this, you can gain a lot of brownie points with the farmer, if you turn out, even for a couple of hours, at dawn.

With the right conditions, it can be quite an eventful hour.