Thursday, 10 March 2011

Jack Pyke LLCS Suit does its job.

It has been a quiet over the Christmas period regarding my shooting. Today I fancied a couple of hours out just to blow the cobwebs off the Rapid so I thought I would nip up to a wood where I go beating and check on the birds and see what was about.
This outing also gave me the chance to try out the Jack Pyke LLCS Ghillie Suit that I had for a Christmas present. The suite is not something I would walk around farms in but for woodland shooting it comes into its own and blends in brilliant with the surroundings perfectly. I was not setting out today to shoot everything in sight , this was a re-con walk for the end of the month when the game season finishes and I can move in to do a proper job on the pests in the wood. As I was driving up to the wood I noticed a good number of pigeons resting from the morning feed , they were like Christmas tree decorations the way they covered the trees. I pulled up and as soon as I opened the car door they were off, the sky filled with pigeons , I think there must have been at least a thousand birds in the flock but these were very jumpy. The pigeons are taking a bashing from many of the local shot gunners so its no surprise they seen me in my camo as a threat. I had now got the Rapid loaded and set off down the track into the main wood , it wasn't long before the tell tale sign of a squirrel bounding through the trees caught my eye . I had to let this one go as it was heading into the thicker part of the wood and as I had no intention to disturb the pheasants to much I carried on down the path. As I got closer to the main pheasant pen I could hear the calls from a couple of magpies. Looking through the trees I could see one right at the top of one of the tall pines. I had cover from some conifers so I slowly walked towards a clearing so I could get a much clearer shot. I was now thirty yards from the Magpie , I slowly crouched down and raised the rapid. The magpie had no idea I was their as it just kept calling at its mate. I had now got its head in the cross hairs and let the .177 pellet do its part. The magpie slumped sideways off its perch and fell to the floor. It was now that the suit was really impressing me , as I took the shot on the magpie two squirrels no more than fifteen yards ran across the floor right towards me. The sound of the pellet hitting the magpie had startled the squirrels but they had not seen me. I had stayed crouched down and as still as possible , the squirrels were coming closer to me and at one point I thought they were going to jump on me so I stood up. This had an effect of someone coming face to face with a ghost , the squirrels stopped dead in their tracks and if they had a face where they were scared stiff I think theirs would be it. They turned around and took flight at a speed I have never seen them run before. There was no way I could get a shot at these so off I went to retrieve the magpie. I now set off towards a thinner area of the wood where the tall chestnut trees are , this area will give me a better chance of a clear shot on any pigeons and as there is no cover underneath them I have less chance of spooking any pheasants. With the LLCS suit on I set myself up inside a large fallen branch , it still had some seed pods on it so it I blended in perfect , this also gave me a 360degree area to shoot from.

 I had waited for a short while when I heard the flap of wings from behind me . I started to turn as slowly as I could and scanned the tree tops looking for the pigeon . A good five minutes had passed then I spotted it. It was tucked up against a thick branch right above me. I raised the Rapid and put the cross just under its chin where it meets its neck . The thump from the pellet hitting it confirmed the kill and it came tumbling down to the floor. I was just about to pick it up when the sight of what was coming towards me was amazing. There must have been two thousand pigeons over head. It was like a scene from the birds movie . The sound of all these wings was something I just cant explain , I have never been in this situation in all the years I have been shooting. When the first wave dropped in it picked out one straight away and dropped it to the floor , the sound of all the pigeons dropping in drowned the sound of the pellet hitting the pigeon and they just kept on coming to roost. I took another two more pigeons in quick succession before the last of them were settled. I now thought I would get a picture of all these pigeons as I have never seen so many around me before and it would have been a great picture. It was a mistake as when I tried to get my camera out of my pocket I was seen . It only took one pigeon to fly off with its wings clapping the alarm that the whole flock took flight. I was in awe at the sight and felt privileged at being in the spot to see it.
I watched them fly off towards the top end of the wood so I decided to carry on with my walk round as it was pretty cold and I hadn't planned for static shooting when getting my kit on.
I had checked the feeders at the far end of the wood and started my way back when I noticed a few pigeons coming towards me. I did not want to try and get behind a tree as I am sure they would have seen me so I sank to one knee and waited still. With the leaf suit on I thought a crouched position would be less visible to the pigeons than standing still. The suite blends in great with the leaves on the floor so a pigeon looking down is in reality only going to see a mass of leaves , well that is my thinking and it proved to be right on this occasion. The the pigeons had landed just in front of me so luckily I didn't have to move much to get the cross of the scope on one of them and he joined the others in my bag. The rest took flight straight away so off I moved again. As I was walking around near the top of the wood I was putting pigeons up everywhere , the conifers are pretty thick here and no matter how hard you look you never seem to spot them in time . I had just checked the last feed bin and and as I picked the rifle up about forty pigeons landed around me. I had just enough time to crouch behind a tree stump before any spotted me .

 I looked up to find pigeons dotted everywhere I scanned the trees with the scope and to my amazement I could not get one clear shot on any of them . These are larch trees that they had landed in and the branches were that numerous that they covered every one of them . I could only sit and wait now for either one to move to a clearing in the branches or just as my luck would have it , get one to land in the only oak in this wood. Well it was more than one to be honest , another five had flew in to join the others and two of them had gave me a position to shoot either. I picked out the closest and and with a steady rest I was able to pick up my last pigeon of the day. The rest as before took flight with the sound of the pellet strike and they flew to join the others at the far end of the wood.
That was it for me and the calls of the cock pheasants coming back in the wood to roost was my call to get out and leave them to get their perch for the night .This turned out better than planned and the LLCS suit really gave me the edge In what was just going to be a steady walk round and hopefully get a shot off.

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