I am passionate about
pigeon shooting and I consider the pigeon to be the most challenging
of sporting birds. A true aerial-acrobat, it can turn on a sixpence
and is the equivalent of a flying magician. Make the wrong move
at the wrong time and it will be gone in the blink of an eye.
I cannot emphasize enough that
whatever your shooting ambitions may be, walked up over dogs, ducks
, driven pheasant, partridge or grouse, you should practice at this
truly wild bird. It is little surprise that many British sportsmen
gain more satisfaction from a day shooting pigeon than from the
pursuit of any other of the wingshooting quarry.
Unfortunately, the wood pigeon
is no longer a native species of North America and the only opportunity
to hone your marksmanship shooting these formidable flyers, is
This summer I was lucky enough
to sample a “Pigeon Shooter’s Paradise”- Paraguay.
Paraguay is a land-locked country
with a population of only 6 million. In the 1920's, East European
Mennonites, escaping prejudice and persecution, emigrated to Paraguay
in substantial numbers. In 1932, several of these groups banded
together and founded the town of Filadelfia in the Grand Chaco
Combining their incredible work
ethic and farming skills with the ample supply of water, they
created a small cooperative agricultural community of cattle ranches,
dairy farms and agriculture which soon began to supply the rest
of the country with meat, grain and dairy products.
Filadelfia is considered the largest
and most prosperous Mennonite Community in Paraguay and here,
in the growing center of the country, residents still speak German,
with additional languages of Spanish, English, and in some cases,
the local Indian dialect.
The core skill of pigeon shooting
begins with knowing where they are feeding and what they are feeding
on, also where they are roosting.
As with all migratory birds, food
supply, weather and habitat govern their number and movements. Pigeons
require an enormous amount of food... the capacity of their crops
is simply amazing! The peanut, sesame, and sorghum fields of Filadelfia
are a pigeon's supermarket and the plentiful pigeon and dove populations
attract wing shooting sportsmen from all over the world.
The Pigeon season is established
each year by the government, thus maintaining that fine balance
between crop protection and conservation and the pigeon harvest.
The usual Season starts in April and runs through July, with June
being the optimum month for decoying pigeon. The other months are
best for pass shooting.
Pigeon and dove breed rapidly in
the forests surrounding the farmland communities of Filadelfia.
However, during the crop harvest, the local bird population is joined
by hundreds of thousands of migratory birds from the surrounding
countries, converging into the area in what the local farmers consider
We were based out of the warm and
comfortable Filadelfia Hotel, and our hunts began in the early morning,
just after breakfast and a short drive to the recently harvested
and scouted peanut fields.
There we were introduced to our Bird
Boys... the best, by the way, that I have experienced in South America!
They showed us to our "blinds" - an incredible natural
cover of bushes and tree limbs, literally planted in the centre
of the harvested field. We were set up with an excellent revolving
stool, ample cartridges and refreshments.
Then the Bird Boys demonstrated
their experience in deploying a decoy pattern that was like a landing
beacon for the passing pigeon! As we bagged our first half-dozen
pigeon, they set up and started a mechanical pigeon magnet. This
revolving device really started the action!
The pigeon flew in thick and fast
for between 2 and 3 hours, according to the weather. It was not
uncommon to shoot several hundred pigeon both morning and afternoon,
and I have to say, the superb field lunches and afternoon siesta
are very much needed and appreciated if you are going to do justice
to these fantastic sporting birds all day.
Hunting locations were changed
daily to offer the greatest opportunity to the hunter, and each
day ended with a leisurely return to the hotel to enjoy a cold
beer and a delicious evening dinner in the local Parrilla, completing
a most exceptional hunting experience.
For those of you wishing to enjoy the pleasures of Pigeon Shooting
in Paraguay, contact us at 866-254-2406 or
via e-mail -