Hunting Tactics

Home   /   Blog   /   Back
Pigeon Primer
Pigeon Primer: Pigeon can be a fun way to improve your skills and work out kinks in your shooting form.
Updated: September 11, 2020
Three hunters wait motionless in their layout blinds as they stare down two dozen circling birds. After lingering just out of range, the birds commit, backpedaling down into the spread. Then the silence shatters as the hunters emerge, shotguns popping and birds dropping. But it's not an ice-rimmed autumn morning and these birds aren't greenheads or geese. It's a sticky August afternoon and the traffic of a sprawling suburb hums just a few beanfields past the decoy spread. The hunters are wearing t-shirts and jeans, and swat mosquitoes between flocks of an unlikely, but surprisingly untapped bird, the common pigeon.

Why Hunt Them?
Although bad-mouthed as barn rats, pigeons are plentiful, can be hunted year-round and offer a great way to work out kinks in your shooting form before the "real" fall hunting seasons begin. They're even surprisingly good to eat if you can ditch the mental image of pigeons huddled under freeway overpasses. After all, farm-country rock doves feed on the same stuff your favorite gamebirds do. Plus, while you might not get permission from a farmer to hunt geese, ducks, doves or pheasants, you'll hear "yes" a lot more if you ask to shoot pigeons instead. Play your cards right on those hunts and you might open doors for hunting more traditional gamebirds down the road.

How To Do It
Pigeon techniques are just simplified versions of what you'd use to field-hunt ducks or geese. Locate a spot where birds are feeding, then set a simple spread of a few pigeon decoys, doves or even duck dekes will work in a pinch along with a spinning-wing or two. Although concealment isn't as crucial as it would be for waterfowl, layout blinds placed upwind of the spread will keep hunters hidden, comfortable and in the best position to shoot. Another bonus: You don't need to punch an alarm and set up decoys and blinds in the ink-black predawn hours for this hunt. Mid-afternoon pigeon shoots are often most productive.
→ January 26
After 20 years of turkey hunting, I can assure you the old adage of “roosted ain’t roasted” is still alive and well. However, if you want to transform from a casual turkey hunter into a consistent turkey killer, roosting gobblers is entirely critical.
→ September 15
How to Hunt Deer During the Rut: Will Primos shares tips on how to hunt pre-rut, rut and post-rut.
→ September 15
Harvesting Wild Game: Mike Stroff explains why providing meat for his family is so important to him.
→ September 14
How to Sight In a Rifle: A solid sight-in is the foundation of accurate, consistent shooting.