The grouse season is over. The pheasants are no more. But there is one incredibly popular bird for which there is no close season. One of the United Kingdom’s finest sporting birds, in fact. The humble wood pigeon.
There are three methods for pigeon shooting; decoying, flighting and roost shooting. Decoying remains by far the most popular. So, we decided to seek out the UK’s best locations for pigeon shooting & decoying.
The Scottish Highlands is always one of the finest locations for any type of game shooting – but particularly pigeon shooting. And nestled right in the heart of the Highlands, the jewel of Scottish shooting – leafy Aberdeenshire.
Perhaps the best times to shoot wood pigeon is early spring when farmers plant crops in March/April as flocks and flocks of birds will graze in the field. May is often quiet but June and July draw plenty of pigeons again when the Rapeseed crops are cut. Since Aberdeenshire has plenty of farming land, places like Mintlaw see some of the best wood pigeon shooting around.
Unlike clay pigeon shooting, wood pigeon shooting requires a lot of space. As mentioned previously, wood pigeons enjoy fields of crops to nest and feed in. That’s why the more affluent areas of Southern England are often some of the best for pigeon shooting – since there is more open land and fields for them to inhabit.
Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Cambridgeshire are all well known for great wood pigeon shooting, but Oxfordshire outranks them all. From Chipping Norton and Banbury right down to Didcot, shooting is a large part of the social fabric throughout Oxfordshire – and pigeon shooting especially, particularly when other birds are out of season.
Devon might not be the first place in the UK that springs to mind when thinking of choice wood pigeon shooting spots, but it’s somewhat of a hidden gem thanks to an unexpected number of birds.
There is much discussion amongst pigeon shooting enthusiasts as to whether pigeons migrate. There are current conflicting theories from experts about what prompts the vast number of pigeons in Devon, Cornwall and Hampshire.
Some argue a few flocks of continental birds from the Netherlands flying south get off course and cross the UK in an East-West diagonal. Others, meanwhile, suggest that they have only migrated from Wales to Devon or Cornwall and then go back again later in the year.
Either way, it means there is top-notch pigeon shooting to be had in Devon, particularly around Plym Valley – and that’s good enough for us!
As the home of Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole, you might have the impression that Somerset as a county is largely comprised of rocky, coastal areas – but you’d be wrong.
Thanks to locations including Exmoor National Park, Quantock Hills and Mendip Hills, dubbed ‘Areas of National Beauty’ – there are a ton of shoot locations offering some of the finest pigeon shooting in the UK.
With acres of countryside spread right across the county, there’s a style of woodland or field to suit any shooter – whether it’s decoying or flighting. So why not head to the South West and try out a brand-new pigeon shooting location?
There are plenty of incredible pigeon shooting locations everywhere you look, but one thing that you mustn’t forget is the shooting insurance to go with it.
Gunplan offer £10 million of Public Liability cover for just £25 a year, with the option to add equipment cover and much more. Grab your instant quote and be protected for your next pigeon shoot today!