There is a difference between when they are most active, and when you are most likely to make a bag.

On short winter days, pigeons will have spent up to 16 hours roosting, so will be understandably hungry at daybreak, when they will pour out to feed in large flocks.

As we all know, large flocks usually mean little shooting for the decoyer, and is the main reason why I seldom bother to try my luck at first light these days.

Pigeons will also want to go back to roost on a full stomach, so the last few hours of daylight are usually much more productive.

I am always amazed at the people who get up at the crack of dawn to fire half a dozen shots at vast flocks of pigeons, only to get bored by midday and go home, just when I am often arriving to fend off the same birds that have not fed for almost 24 hours and which can become truly suicidal to get into the decoys.

That is why summer and autumn decoying is much more successful, because birds will always leave their main feed until later in the day.