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What, where and when to use Pigeon Decoys?
Good pigeon decoys can make a world of difference. When it comes to pigeon shooting it takes an awful lot of preparation and strategy, which is what separates the good hunters from the more uninitiated. Pigeons are serious agricultural pests and can cause huge damage to crops in massive numbers.
There are three types of pigeon shooting sports. In winter the first type of shooting is roost shooting, where the pigeon would come back to the woods to roost in an evening. There is also flight lining, which is a pigeons flight line to the field where they feed. This type of pigeon shooting can be more enjoyable. The third and most popular type of pigeon shooting sports is called decoying, which is the field where they are close to feeding & causing damage to the crops.
Any experienced hunter will tell you that pigeons like to flock and to feed together, but the main issue is getting them to feed close to where you are hiding. One of the strategies involved is to make use of pigeon decoys, which is a part of a pigeon shooters equipment to get the pigeon to believe it is actually feeding with the other pigeons by creating patterns withing the decoys themselves.
There are various patterns that you can use and you can find more information about that at various hunting forms and other related websites. But what types of pigeon decoys should you be using? Below are various types of pigeon decoys that hunters use for pigeon shooting.
Pigeon Shell Decoys
These are the half shells that look like pigeons that are inserted into the ground. You can commonly set these pigeon decoys up to make them look like they are feeding from the ground, a trick used by hunters to try and entice other pigeons to flock closer to feed alongside the decoys (their friends). These shells are inserted into the ground with spring stakes (mount posts) and shaped into a pattern of your choice. The upside to these decoys are that they are easy to pack and are relatively cheap to buy. The downside is that they do not look as lifelike as the full bodied pigeon decoys and some have argued that they do not work as effectively.
Full Bodied Pigeon Decoys
These are very similar to pigeon decoy shells except they are full bodied decoys. The only difference between them is probably the full bodied decoys look more lifelike in looks although the shell decoys do give off a more lifelike movement. These look great from the distance and there really isn't an awful lot between them, apart from full bodied decoys are harder to pack.
FUD Pigeon Decoys
FUDs, which stands for 'Fold Up Decoys', are decoys that are bought as 'flat pack' for easier packaging, these are then made out into a 3D form. The realism of the FUDs remove the need for movement in your decoy pattern. These types of pigeon decoys look lifelike, are easy to carry, and carry a non-shine coat that will not distract the pigeons. The only downfall with FUDs is the lack of movement.
FUDs can take longer to setup than shell decoys but are much easier to carry. They do have a lot of adjustment for head positioning but they are not as quick to setup as shells are. If you have quite a few of these to setup in your pattern then it can get a little bit of a chore every time you are in the field. Most FUDs come with a belt carrier to carry them around when they are flat. FUDs are basically photo images of pigeons glued to a mouse mat type material, something like plastazote, and are built out into 3D form giving a realistic effect.
Don't get me wrong, if used correctly then FUDs can work great, although everyone has their own ideas when it comes to pigeon shooting.
Flying Pigeon Decoys
These types of decoys are used to try and entice wood pigeons onto a flat part of the field to feed. An experienced hunter will tell you that wood pigeons will not decoy over standing crops and will in fact try to find some flat land by finding a path to their feeding ground from their nest, have their feed, and then fly back to their nest for roosting. Flying pigeon decoys are used direct the wood pigeon towards the flat land. You can use these effectively with flat ground decoys in order to entice a pigeon to a certain feeding spot around your pattern or if you are more sporting you could shoot flat line as they are flying to their feeding ground (more fun in my opinion).
Gwyn Jones is the owner of DJ Decoys and has been shooting for many years. Based in Wigan, Lancashire, Gwyn has experience in deer hunting, decoying, vermin control and wildfowling. I have been hunting for many years and I am also a nice chef when it comes to recipes for pigeon.