Pigeons are a Great Late-Season Wingshooting Target

   01.04.16

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Barnyard pigeons may be one of America’s most overlooked and fun-to-shoot birds. Here are a few tips to get in on some fast winter-time shooting for them.

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1) While dairy farms with open field feed troughs may be the best places for huge concentrations of pigeons, birds are found almost everywhere there is available grain. Fresh-cut wheat, barley, and corn fields can offer excellent shooting. Fields can be scouted, and hunts set-up much like field duck hunting. Pigeons even work field decoys much the way ducks do, using the wind to land.

2) For huge numbers of pigeons, suburban farms near large metropolitan areas are outstanding. Barnyard pigeons are really “rock doves” or “rock pigeons,” non-native to America. Their natural European, Asian, and African habitat is craggy cliffs. So urban buildings, bridges, and highway overpasses are a good substitute environment. Find a dairy or wheat field nearby, and you’re likely in business for fast shooting.

3) In addition to pigeons, some other non-native birds can be collected around dairy farms. In Florida and in much of the coastal South, Eurasian collared doves abound and can be hunted year-round with no limit since they, too, are an exotic species.

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4) Be sure to pick up spent shells on cattle farms. For some reason some cows eat shotshells, and the brass bases aren’t particularly palatable to bovines.

5) Farmers, especially dairymen, often are delighted to have pigeon shooters on their property. Scouting by truck is a good way to locate farms full of pigeons. Some state dairymen associations also have lists of members, which can speed the search to find hot spots for shooting.

6) While many people consider pigeons a “dirty” bird, they are no worse than many others and can be excellent on the dinner plate. Squab, for example, is a delicacy in many restaurants. Pigeon breasts, marinated a couple hours in Italian dressing or Dale’s Sauce, with jalapeno peppers skewered under bacon with toothpicks, and then grilled until brown, are outstanding.

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