South African Rock Pigeons
- The African Grouse... -
The South African Rock Pigeon has been overlooked and underestimated as a game bird for many years. However, more recently an increasing number of Guns have ventured to South Africa keen to try their hand at shooting these pigeons. This has largely been fuelled by the challenges UK shooting has faced, leading to clients looking overseas for their sport. What we have found is that teams are seldom disappointed with the results!
Whether introducing new teams to this most challenging of quarry or welcoming back returning guests, the relaxed yet professional environment ensures these trips are always incredibly fun, relaxed and of course productive.
As anyone fortunate enough to shoot Rock Pigeons will tell you, these impressive birds present Guns with a variety of shots no other winged quarry is capable of. On any given day, teams can expect a volume of shooting comparable to the best of Argentina combined with the challenge of a late-season Grouse in the highlands of Scotland.
As with all worthy field sports, it takes a significant amount of pre-planning, reconnaissance and a reasonable amount of field craft to gain the best results. The reason for this is that millions of birds commute, twice daily, between the city and the ripening sunflower fields in the surrounding district. It is here where the teams of guns must be strategically positioned in the blinds in an attempt to ambush the “Rockies” as they travel their flight paths.
To provide an idea of what shooting Rock Pigeons can be like, we have shared an extract from one of our guests feedback following their recent visit to South Africa.
The African Grouse…
The sunflowers rustle in the strong wind blowing directly into your face, it is hot, even though the sun has not been in the sky for long, you can feel the heat on your face and back. The netting hide in which you are concealed makes you almost invisible, a necessity when shooting rock pigeon, or the ‘African Grouse’.
The wind has picked up and suddenly a shout, ‘in-coming, 11 o’clock’, you stare into the blue sky and way off the black specks in groups of 5 to 30 are dancing on the wind, they are coming in straight toward you, high above the brown earth, they suddenly drop down to head height, hugging the contours, now only 100’s of yards out, approaching, unaware of your presence.
Lack of movement is critical, you cannot afford to be seen, carefully the gun is brought to bear, you are certain of the first flight and have pictured in your mind the falling birds, two guns down from you and the first shot of the day is fired. The starburst of the flight in front of you catches you by total surprise, your barrels are nowhere and the sound of wings cutting the air is loud and invisible, evasive action has been taken, down the line to your left and right, the popping of shells and frantic swinging of barrels is left behind as the first wave of ‘Rockies’ passes through.