Pick Of The Crop
Sporting Gun|April 2021
Tom Sykes explains the tactics and methods he uses to shoot around farm buildings
Tom Sykes

Over the years I have had many good sessions shooting around farms to keep corvid numbers down and help to reduce the amount of agricultural damage they cause. In this article I explain how I go about shooting around buildings, including tips and things to be aware of.

The first thing may seem obvious, but you must confirm that the farmer is happy for you to shoot around his buildings. I will often intercept birds before they get to a farm, as it can be more logical to control the numbers without causing disturbance to the livestock and farmer. Some stock might be too jumpy to shoot around and this could cause them injury or to others if startled by the noise of a gun.

That said, I often shoot around a building where the cows are so laid-back they don’t react to me. It is important to read the livestock’s temperament and stop shooting if it starts to cause any adverse effects.

Hang back

Scouting is important to understand the movements and behaviour of the birds. This can determine the best location to set an ambush but also the time of day the majority of the birds come in. I have found that corvids work around the farmer’s routine and will often hang back until he leaves for breakfast or a brew before they descend on the buildings for a free meal.

I will often set up in the dark as I am happy to pick off the few early stragglers, but also because most places I shoot are popular feeding grounds in the morning and the main buildings are well enough away from houses so as not to disturb the local residents. But reconnaissance could demonstrate that the best time to shoot is the afternoon, when the farmer is away carrying out other duties.

Concealment

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