Archive for July, 2012

My watercolor of “Pigeons burst into Flight”

It was an incredibly hot day with the temperature sitting at around thirty-one degrees Celsius with a humidex reading of thirty-six. It was so warm that the entire herd of cattle was taking shelter to the south on the far edge of the field, hidden amongst the trees. I had been at the farm now for well over two hours and had already harvested a very large groundhog on the southern ridge just over the creek. I was curious to see whether or not the pigeons had returned to the barn during my absence near the barns in the morning.   These pigeons see and hear very well, therefore any sound or movement sends them into the flight; very early into the sport, and I learned to master the skill of using the terrain such as low ground, vegetation such as trees and buildings such as barns to my advantage. As I stood behind the parked truck, I reached into my pants left pocket and pulled out the key for the tailgate and then unlocked it and once opened, I lowered gate carefully with both hands to avoid making any sharp sounds. The blackbirds did not seem too bothered by all my activity and they just flew around tree top to the barn and back again, all the while calling out.

I safely unloaded the Browning T-Bolt, secured the trigger lock and then laid it down in its respective gun case which was opened at the back. I then switched to my Remington 12 gauge along with a box of #6 shot and made myself ready. I turned my head to my left in order to check out the groundhog den in the eastern field, when all of a sudden I saw four silver feather like objects fly through the air and land to my left hand side very close the northern barn about forty feet away, tucked in behind the electric fence down below a sandy ridge and then they were quickly out of sight.

It was perfect, I tucked away my binoculars in my hunting bag and closed the tailgate, and then loaded three shells into my Remington; pumped one into the chamber then placed it on safe. I turned quickly toward the west and then moved between the two barns which hold the western gate. I was crouching and walking at a face pace and my rubber boots were pinching the back of my leg as I kicked up some dust, my first objective was to place myself at the back of the third barn, which was directly in line with the pigeons across the dirt road.

From there, I could get a closer look from the north-western edge of the barn, just leaning out enough enabling me to see the eastern side and the sandy ridge. The pigeons were still out of sight and I did not know if they had flown away while I circled the third barn. Still no pigeons in view, it was now time to move down along the northern side of the barn, getting as low as I physically could, almost duck walking across the road with my head just below the edge of the ridge. Luckily the farmer had left an old three drawer dresser that he was going to give away at the top of the ridge on the one side.

This now became my second objective, if I could get behind the dresser; I could slowly come up and take very clear shots down onto the pigeons. Minutes, later and after carefully moving into position, I was kneeling behind the piece of furniture now focusing on catching my breath. It was not easy breathing my chest tightened from walking crouched over. I lifted my Remington into a shooting position pulling the butt into my shoulder and slowly used the push method to unlock the safety without making the click sound, then slowly came up into a standing position.

Darn, there were no pigeons, had they gone? I inched my way around the dresser and moved up to the sandy ridge and then all of sudden boom, the pigeons burst into the flight, two on my left, one directly to my front and the other headed south to my right.

I aimed at the pigeon in the middle and took a shot of #6, the bird seem to almost fly on its side as it flared to miss the shot, in an instant I pumped and released another shot leading the bird. It all happened lightning fast, and the bird seemed to have dropped down slightly but continued to fly away and cleared the closest southern field and over the tree line and creek. I thought to myself this is it, he got away and then just as he cleared the trees the pigeon started losing altitude and fell into middle of the second field.

I never took my eyes off the bird once, it is very important to follow through with your eyes to see where the bird is going even more so with grouse. It was a great harvest indeed!

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