What is roost pigeon shooting? 10 things you need to know
Here's a brief explanation
- Roost pigeon shooting is when you go out with your gun in the late afternoon or early evening and get into a place in the woods so you can shoot pigeons as they come home to roost in the trees. (Read Peter Theobald on pigeon roost shooting.)
- You can discover where pigeons are roosting by going out with binoculars an hour before dark and watching
- Shoot the wood sparingly, only once a month and only when there is a decent wind
- You’ll find the trees they are roosting in by looking for their white droppings. Stand downwind of the trees you know the birds will head for and be patient
- February is the traditional month for roost pigeon shooting as it is when pigeons are beginning to flock and search for food
- The unpredictability of a pigeon’s flight pattern and its speed will sharpen up your shooting skills
- You can practise on the clay ground by shooting typical crow type targets
- A strong wind – 25mph minimum – is the best sort of weather. It will drown the noise of your shooting and encourage the pigeons to approach the wood at a shootable height. In addition, pigeons will generally choose the lee side of the wood if the wind is strong, so you have more of an idea where they will head.
- Some people wear face marks to hide a flash of white but you may find that a good cap with a brim does the job equally well.
(You might like to read testing steel cartridges during roost shooting.)
Farmers are fans of pigeon roost shooters as it is a great help with crop protection.
Geoff Garrod on roost pigeon shooting
“The advantage of a strong wind is that it helps to channel the flightline as the birds approach the wood, and it also keeps them lower as they try to save energy by flying under the wind.
“If you have the wind on your back and are settled into a good spot just inside the wood, you’ll get most of your traffic flying low into the wind to the wood. It’s just a little more predictable and the shots you take will be a little less rangy. The best spot is often in the centre of a wood by a stand of fir trees, where there are plenty of droppings on the ground – a sure sign that it is a popular spot for the birds.”