This film clearly explains the fundamentals of setting up your air rifle for the type of hunting you want to do. We compare drop-off between pellet sizes, look at holdover, and show how important it is to zero your rifle at the right distance to improve accuracy. High speed video is used to help us understand how the pellet flies through the air and the compensation needed to make a clean kill. Once happy with the rifle on targets we then head out into the field for rabbits, pigeons and crows. Roy is using an Air Arms S410.
This film was first shown in Fieldsports Britain, episode 134. To watch the whole show go to
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Why shoot pigeons?
The woodpigeon is recognised as the UK’s number one agricultural pest and causes millions of pounds of damage (AHDB consultation 10-40% loss in yield. Equivalent loss of £125/ha for Oil Seed Rape, £250/ha for peas, £350-£1250/ha for brassicas) to agricultural crops every year including cereals, brassicas, oilseed rape, peas and salad crops. Pigeon damage reduces the yield, quality, appearance and ultimately the saleability of the crop. Pigeons can also cause damage in gardens and allotments – pecking at the leaves and ripping off portions, often leaving just the stalks and larger leaf veins. They may also attack and strip buds, leaves and fruits off trees and bushes.
The UK woodpigeon population was last estimated at 5.4 million pairs in 2009. Densities of wood pigeon are the highest in Eastern England, coinciding with the highest concentration of horticultural production.
Wild pigeon (game) is natural and free range, and it is one of the healthiest meats available today. It’s low in cholesterol and high in protein… and, quite simply, delicious.
Why shoot rabbits?
Rabbits are a major agricultural pest, costing the British economy an estimated £100million a year*. More than half of this figure is accounted for by damage to agricultural crops, with winter wheat, barley and oats being the most vulnerable. In terms of annual yield, a loss of 1% per rabbit per hectare (2.5 acres) has been recorded but overall yields can be reduced by up to 20%. Rabbits also graze on pasture, impacting on newly sewn areas, reducing available grass for livestock and the yield of crops cut for silage.
Wild rabbits burrow under roads, railways and through archaeological sites, causing subsidence and other damage to buildings.
They also contaminate the soil with their urine and droppings, so nothing but weeds can survive. In addition, rabbits chew through the bark of trees, killing nursery stock or young saplings and preventing the natural regeneration of woodland.
A Government survey in 1995 put the UK rabbit population at 37.5 million. This number is thought to have dramatically increased. Farmers and landowners now have a statutory responsibility to manage rabbit populations on their land, to prevent them causing damage to neighbouring properties.
*(Natural England 2007)
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