Many of my permissions border large urban towns and while I reap the benefit of pigeon flying out to feed in the fields surrounding them, I inevitably come into contact with the residents of the towns too.
By and large, people who enjoy walking in the countryside will usually understand what else goes on there – pigeon shooting, for example. However, since coronavirus struck the nation, a whole different breed of walkers have taken to the footpaths, if indeed they bother at all to follow clearly signposted rights of way. Most country people, if they come across a pigeon shooter, will ask how they are doing, whereas this new lot tend to ask ‘what’ they are doing. Footpaths that I have not seen used for years now have a constant procession of walkers, often accompanied by an unruly dog running riot down the hedgerows.
Having never encountered a decoyer going about his lawful business, their first reaction is to call the police, who are duty-bound to turn out the moment firearms are mentioned. Don’t forget, we are talking about urban policemen, who themselves may never have encountered a pigeon shooter out in the field.
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