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Tom Sykes reports back after filming an action packed day in the Pigeon hide with Antione and Bibi, as they shoot on a day arranged by Alan Wood.
Some of you may remember the 1999 pigeon shooting video, Red Letter Days. That VHS featured some legendary pigeon shooting shots including Jim Albone and Alan Wood. It also included a French teenager, Antione. Nearly twenty years on we have had the pleasure to join Antione and his good friend Bibi as the two Frenchmen shoot pigeons as guests of Alan Wood.
The task at hand was to protect the farmer's crops over a sparse area of wheat which had been laid. The laid patch was a beacon to the vast pigeon numbers in the area. As I arrived at the farm, the boys were sat on the farmer's patio watching the bird’s movements in the middle of the field. The problem area was conveniently next to a wooded pond, providing the perfect location to set up Alan’s trusty umbrella hide.
Alan always uses dead birds when pigeon shooting, as he believes it is the best option. He deployed a handful of dead birds on cradles and his two magnets powered by a car battery. Although the pond was the perfect place to conceal the hide, the wind wasn’t ideal as it was blowing directly into the hide. This meant that Alan had to place the decoys as far out as possible to allow enough room for the pigeons to swing in to land.
The umbrella hide was soon erected as we manoeuvred to get comfortable. It was a little tight as there were four grown men squeezed in with all the ammo, refreshments and camera equipment to keep us operational throughout the day.
Getting into the swing of things
Unlike a lot of modern pigeon shooters,
Antoine and Bibi both opted to shoot an over and under, rather than a semi-auto. Antione was on his Perazzi, choked at Full & Full and loaded with Gamebore Black Gold 32g number 5’s. The action started as soon as Antione loaded up as the first birds swung into the decoy spread. As you can see from the film below, Antione is a phenomenal shot and seems to make light work of a variety of shots from 15 yard decoying birds to 60+ yard crossers.
It was Bibi’s first proper day pigeon shooting from a hide. You wouldn’t think so looking at the footage as he too shoots incredibly well. Antoine shared the sport and allowed his friend to shoot his first "Red Letter Day", which is 100 pigeons.
Halfway through the day, we set the Shotkam up on Antoine’s Perazzi to capture some of his fantastic shots for you guys to see exactly how he does it. There are some superb shots taken on the Shotkam, and we have tied the footage together with over the shoulder clips, so you can see the shot from two different angles, hopefully giving you a better understanding as to how Antione shoots. The end of the film is finished off with a compilation of Shotkam footage showing a variety of shots allowing you to study the sight picture required to shoot pigeons consistently.
Antione is one of the best shots I have ever had the pleasure of filming. He shoots to an incredibly high standard and something that a lot of us could aspire to! We will be out with him again in the future to capture another astonishing day in the field.
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