Do they attract birds? Paul Quagliana investigtes
Two cardboard boxes with what looked like dozen steamrollered peons arrived in the mail. Shooting Times We felt obliged to check if the FUD pigeon-decoys actually pull in the birds.
FUD (fold up decoys) the name belies their no-nonsense origins in Australia. The arrival of the FUD (fold up decoys) on the UK shooting scene caused quite a stir. Many were attracted to their latest gadgets while others dismissed them. This guide will help you improve your pigeon decoy pattern.
FUD pigeons decoys are cleverly folded up.
After I had grabbed the decoys for the pigeons and followed their instructions, the decoys quickly opened up to reveal a three-dimensional rendering of Columba palumbus.
FUD pigeon field decoys
I set out with a friend to shoot pigeons. (More information on how to set up a pigeon hiding can be found here.
My first impression of FUDs was clear when I put my kit in the back of the car. Where I had popped a dozen decoys, a hide net, binoculars, an optimistic number of cartridges and a spare jumper into a small 25-litre rucksack, my companion’s traditional pigeon kit was lying on the back seat stuffed into an enormous army surplus kit bag.
The FUD’s compact design clearly offers a size advantage, but would it fool the pigeon?
We drove up the track to the covercrop when we saw a large flock of 150 pigeons grazing on the spinney that we had set up as our hide. This was a sign that the birds were present in the area. We considered it a blessing and our spirits rose as we envisioned a bright day with large numbers of pigeon.
We quietly walked along a line that had been planted in broadleafs. As we did so, we noticed the obvious evidence of pigeons feeding on the kale.
Quickly, we got to work. We set up a horseshoe shape pattern with the FUDs pointed roughly head in the wind at one end of the kale strips. The decoys were strategically placed around a feedhopper that the shoot manager will continue filling for his gamebirds throughout the spring.
It was easy to put out decoys by simply clipping them into the plastic belt loop.
You can position the FUD in many different ways once it is in the ground. Some FUDs will be set in a feeding position while others will be standing up and alert.
We stood back to admire the results and found it impressively lifelike. Though the FUDs don’s stand up to close scrutiny what decoy does? The pattern’s silhouette was convincing from a distance.
In fact, it was so convincing that as we settled into the hide six or seven pigeons came flying in from behind, clearly deceived and fooled by the photorealistic printing, mixed postures, and decoys.
It was a good news story for us. The theory of the FUD was working in practice right away after we arrived, even though my gun was broken and empty next to me while I was still tweaking and adjusting the hide poles.
As we hunkered behind the net, it appeared as if a big-day was a cert. We waited to see if the rest of the birds would follow the early pathfinders. We waited a bit longer.
We could see a bunch of crows in the distance. Over 30 of them rolled and barrelled along the grassfield to our right, just above the ground. A closer inspection revealed that they were harassing and attacking a Fox as it crossed open ground. Finally, it found refuge in the hedge of the field.
Although the spectacle was fascinating to watch, no pigeon ever entered our trapping area. Eight roe were silently fed by a group of people, and they didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence nor the crows’ noises.
All around us, chuckling fields of starlings and fieldfares, hustled about in great packs getting ready for the start. Although the scene seemed idyllic, it was missing one element.
A sudden appearance of a single pigeon suddenly occurred to our left. It was not too high, but it was still far from us. What would it think of the newfangled gadgetry that could lure it in? The pigeon made a conscious change of course and walked closer to the bird, evidently seduced by the possibility of eating with friends.
It was at the right spot in the pattern looking to settle among its expanded rubber foam brethren. Quickly, I raised the gun to take my shot. The point was made, even though I failed to hit the mark.
We had never seen a pigeon so close that we were able to shoot it. And it wasn’t the last. Paul and myself were able to take about 20 shots at pigeons or crows at the flat-pack FUDs over the next few hours.
We were even able to make contact with some of them. What was truly remarkable, however, was that of the few pigeon we did see only a small number – those that were particularly high and distant – were able to resist the temptation to see what was going on down on the ground.
The FUD is the next big thing in pigeon hunting. They have their benefits. These have two key features: their compact, innovative design and photorealistic appearance. But they also have their drawbacks.
How can you get them to fly higher than the red ground spikes will allow as the crops mature? Is the printed pattern too dark to catch all the birds’ attention? Are they strong enough? The pigeon shooter is a resourceful person.
There are many problems that can be solved, and no two kits bags are alike.
The wings can be painted with your own white flashes. You can attach a hook to permit the use of a lofting stick. There is really no difference between the FUD or any other decoy created by keen pigeon hunters.
No pigeon shooting day is ever guaranteed, but on this one we’d achieved our objective and shot some birds over the latest piece of kit.
The decoys were a success. As we packed up our gear and scrubbed the clay soil from the spikes, we ran into the farmer.
“You should have been here yesterday, the ground was lifting with them” he said.
Here you can find FUD pigeon-decoys.
This article was first published in 2014. It has been updated.