The excitment was building the night before, all my kit was ready but the weather forecast was predicting 2" of snow overnight. Due to work commitments the opportunities to shoot had been few and far between lately, I was determined to visit the farmyard for daybreak and went to sleep with nervous anticipation. The sound of the alarm clock woke me from a light sleep and so the mornings foray had begun, I took a peak through the window and sure enough the snow had arrived. Half an hour later and with my kit packed off I went.
After a short journey I arrived at the farm, my intention for the morning was to target a sitty tree which was frequented by woodpigeons and crows throughout the day; due to the weather conditions, I decided to shoot from my vehicle, the quarry wouldn't give it a second thought, they were used to seeing farm vehicles moving around the area. I began to set up under the cover of darkness, I used a camoflauge net and covered the windows, loaded the rifle and positioned a shooting bag on the passenger side window frame; all I needed now was daybreak.
As the songbirds awoke the mornings chorus sang out, the anticipation built and before long the first crow glided onto the upper branch of the target tree; I readied myself and made sure I was comfy, the crow was 30 yards away, I knew this because around the farmyard, I had pre-determined shooting positions enabling me to know the ranges I was to shoot within. As I controlled my breathing, the crosshair rose above and dipped below the crow's head, once settled on target I held my breath slightly and released the shot. Still looking through the Viper scope, I saw the impact and the crow's wings tucked into its body, the stone-dead corvid proceded to plummet downwards to the icy-white ground below.
The morning had started well and I was very pleased with my set up and how my rifle a BSA R10 MK II .177 calibre had performed, thrilled with the early success. I settled for the next opportunity, leaving the shot crow where it fell in the hope it would stir up some interest from any near by comrades, and within 5 minutes it had the desired effect. Another crow landed but this time landed in the lower branches, and to the right hand side of the tree; I picked it up in the scope and followed it as it hopped around nervously with one eye on its fallen mate. After what seemed like an age, the crow finally settled long enough for me to get a bead on its head, although there was a shot on, two branches obscured my view; I decided to thread the shot in between the two confident in my abilities and the rifle's performance. A solid crack confirmed the shot was true and the crow thudded to the ground. My intention was to do the same as before and leave my quarry where it lay, but the crow had landed wings spread in the open ground; I decided to recover the two shot birds and take the opportunity for a warm drink of coffee.
Maybe half an hour had gone by and I'd passed the time by watching a cock pheasant taking cover from the snow flurrys amongst a feed container, when out of the corner of my eye I watched a collard dove glide on to the roof of the container. I adjusted my seating position slightly and took aim, with the dove being a small bird in comparison to a crow I decided to take a heart and lung shot. I positioned the crosshair and with a gently squeeze of the trigger the dove crumpled under the impact of the shot and dropped on its side motionless on the container roof, the mornings shooting had been succesful so far.
For a little while there was a lull in the day's events and it gave me the time to reflect on the hunt, as i was enjoying the peace and quiet, i heard the distinct clatter that a woodpigeon makes as it lands amongst the branches. I quickly turned my attention back to the sitty tree and sure enough not one but two pigeons had disturbed the snow from the tree and took up spots on the higher branches, sitting maybe three feet apart. The decision of which woodie to take was made for me the one to the right was sat facing me full on I rested The R10 on the shooting bag and placed the crosshair at the base of the neck within a second or two the 8.42 grain lead projectile was travelling at close to 800ft per second and I watched as the pellet found its mark, the woodie didn't make any movement other than the vertical drop to the ground below.
My decision to brave the elements was proving worth while indeed. It wasn't long before another woodie dropped into the tree, I was beginning to think the birds must have had a quick breakfast and now, time to rest up before lunch was next in their thoughts. I repeated the process as before lined up the rifle, acquired my sight picture and took the shot, that was the second woodie dispatched with precision.
The cold weather was beginning to find its way into my body by now and I was pondering ending the session and returning home to an ever more appealing warm fire, when a third woodpigeon took up a spot in the heights of the tree, confident in the rifles performance I placed the cross on my target's head. Shooting a wood pigeon in the head gives you a 1" kill zone at 30 yards, the margin for error is slim. The morning was lovely and still, not so much as a breeze to cause my pellet to drift left or right, I gradually applied pressure to the trigger blade, the shot broke and the pellet made a solid whack, giving me confirmation of the kill. I made that the last shot, took the woodies and dove for the pot and the crows for the freezer to serve as decoys on another sortie. I had a great morning, but was glad to go to the warm comfort of home.
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