UPDATED WITH PICS i went ou hutning again today in the same area and got some piccies
well i went out this morning for a hunting foray in the woods. I didnt have my camera today so no pics sorry . My alarm beeped to life at 7:30, but my arm has taken up the anoying habit of being able to turn off the alarm without waking the rest of my body up, so i ended up waking at 8:00. i pulled on my camo (after putting on lots of layers underneath) and headed down to the woods. from about 200 yards away i could see through my binos that there was plenty of action up the furthest end of the strip of wood. so i entered the bottom of the wood and began a slow stalk up to the top. I disturbed an unseen pigeon on this walk and sent a squirrel into it's drey, so not a good start, but i kept faith. there was an area of fallen ivy and heavy cover in the dense wood leading up to the spot where i saw activity earlier. i stalked up ever so slowly, feeling for twigs beneath my feet. i came to a spot where i had a better view over the group of trees and peeked over at them. at first, i saw nothing, but then i picked out a little lump of grey, and then another, and the shaking of an ivy bush told me there was certainly a pigeon on the other side. i crept round the fallen ivy and got down on my belly. i surveyed the area through my scope. the closest pigeon, at about 30yards, would have made an easy shot were it not for the twigs in front of it. the second pigeon, which was about the same distance away, was still feeding behind the ivy bush, with only the occaisonal tip of a wing or tail feather showing. i could have been paitent and waited for this to move to a better spot, but i decided to go for the third pigeon, the furthest away at an estimated 35 yards, which had a narrow gap between to branches through which it's head was showing. i folded down ym bipod and adjusted my objective lens to get the clearest picture, put 1/4 of a milldot on my scope over its head to compensate for the pellet drop, and squeezed the trigger. there was a loud smack and the pigeon went tumbling to the ground, which was then followed by the flapping of about 5 unseen pigeons taking off hurridley. i rested my rifle and ran up to find the fallen pigeon in the undergrowth. the pellet had gone exactly where i wanted it too, jsut behind the eye, and out the other side. what every hunter wants. i was so happy about this good sized bird, that i failed to notice the stupid young pigeon which hadnt taken off with the rest of the flock. this only took off as i was walking back to my rifle, about 10 yards above my head. i cursed and settled back down again behind my rifle. i waited about 20 minutes, including the sharpening of my knife and a brief sighting of a squirrel which appeared to vanish into thin air (more likely a hidden hole in a tree). got up from my rest, disturbing the song birds which had congregated above, providing a pleasant choruse of great tit and blue tit alarm calls, the shrill panic call of a blackbird, and he cackle and hiss of a jay. i don't shoot these like some shooters, because 1. we have plenty of songbirds and i don't really think there doing that much damage, and 2. i love seeing them around, and there intelligence and beauty makes them one of my favourite birds. it's the same reason i don't shoot magpies, which are condemned and hated by many shooters for 'killing pretty songbirds'. this is just natures way, even if it isnt pretty. they provide no threat to the songbird population, which is thriving and healthy with multiple species, including all of the finches. although i do see the need for control on shooting estates and areas where they are threatening songbird population. anyway, i moved up the woods to what are probably the biggest and oldest trees, reaching at least 25yards tall. there is an old, dumped bathtub at the end, and although i usaully despise fly-tipping, this has actually served a usefull purpose as a water source for the inhabitants of this narrow strip of woodland, and as a sniping point for me. lo and behold, there was a squirrel sitting on the edge of the bathtub in classic squirrel nutkin pose. i estimated it to be about 40yards away from me, so a little out of my range on a day with a bit of breeze like today. i froze, as i thought it had spotted me. after standing still for a minute, i think the squirrel decided to be better safe than sorry and hopped across the ground to the closest tree, with a girth about as wide as a basketball hoop, and did the classic squirrel trick of hiding on the opposite side of the tree from me. i sighed, as this is quite an effective trick when you dont have a hunting buddy or a dog to send round the other side. you end up cirlcing the tree, chasing the squirrel as it corkscrews up the tree until it decides its had enough. i walked a little closer and suddenly a genius idea hit me. i picked up a stick about as long as my forearm and as thick as my wrist, took carefull aim, and chucked it so it spun past the right side of the tree and landed on the other side with a heavy thump. amazingly the squirrel fell for it and shimmied round the tree to my side. inside, i silently celebrated at my successfull idea and knelt down to take the shot. i estimated it to be about 25yards away, so aimed a little lower than it's head, about a 1/4 of a mil under. i squeezed the trigger and nothing happened. Damn! i forgot to reload! as i thumbled for a pellet in my pocket the squirrel decided to hop it, and by the time i had a pellet in the breech he was already well on his way. again i cursed myself for being so stupid. i waited there for another 10 minutes then decided to go back down the other end of the woods, which is usually more productive. as i went back i spotted a pigeon feeding on the ivy, it's head outlined against the sky. i estimated 35 yards, so again, 1/4mildot over, as with the last pigeon. i took the shot and the pigeon flapped his wings and raised his head in alarm. A miss! i reloaded and took another shot. again, a miss. this was a really dumb pigeon, any other would have flown off on the first shot. i took another shot, the same 1/4 mildot over, so with the crosshairs on the top of it's head so the pellet would hit just behind the eye, and sent it flapping to the ground. i looked at it through my scope and something didnt seem rihgt so i ran up straight away. the pellet had only clipped the top of its head, which had disabled it but not killed it. i quickly gave it a twist of the neck to finnish it off. i was puzzled, but realised i must have judged my range wrong, and that it was 30 yards instead of 35. i really need to get one of those laser rangefindes, everyones raving about them. i never like it when an animal suffers, but i'm glad i got to it quickly. the next half an hour of the hunt consisted of me spooking yet another squirrel, and then declining from a shot at a pigeon, as it was in place i had never shot from before and i was unsure of my rang finding abilities after the last shot. 2 pigeon is a ok bag for me, and was most certainly appreciated by my parents, as the pigoen breast was lovely pan fried with spuds.