Dove & Pigeon Shooting in South Africa
(ROCK PIGEON, RED-EYE DOVE, LAUGHING DOVE, CAPE TURTLE DOVE, ETC)
The Free State Province is the "pigeon capital" of South Africa. You will be entertained by hot-barrelled pigeon and dove shooting over sunflower fields, testing the abilities of most respected guns. Rock pigeons have been referred to as the “most challenging gamebird in the world” by many international sportsmen. Here the seasoned wingshooters’ shooting talents will be tested to the ultimate, while novice shooters will have ample opportunities to hone their shotgun skills and improve their shooting ability.
Millions of pigeons and doves commute, twice daily, between roosts in the cities and towns and the ripening sunflower fields in the surrounding district. It is here where guns ambush them from butts and blinds. These humbling game birds are shot on their flight paths - first the incoming flight to the fields and thereafter the outgoing flight from the fields back to their roosts.
Pigeon shooting is hot barrel action, and guns can fire 250 to 500 rounds per day, even more during the early season and on a good day!
Doves & Pigeons may be hunted throughout the year, but the best time is from Late March to early June. Days can be spiced up with some opportunistic pursuing of Guineafowl, Francolin and Orange River Partridge during the open season (June to Aug).
A typical day will commence with an early morning wake-up call. After a quick cup of coffee, rusks and toast we will depart for the morning's shoot. After placing the blinds, shooting will commence sunrise until roughly 10am.
Snacks and beverages will be offered during the shoot. You will be entertained to a hearty field lunch, and some time to relax fatigued shoulders.
Around noon we will commence to shoot the afternoon flight. The day's shoot will conclude with a photo session of the day's bag.
Dinner will be served at 7.30 pm and the day's excitement will be relived around a comfortable fireplace until bedtime. Transportation to the shooting areas will be by means of a luxury 4WD vehicle.
A typical dove and pigeon shoot takes place over a minimum of 2 to 5 days shooting. International guests can combine this shoot with some of our other shooting and touristic options. Best shooting is from March to May in our main area. Lower volume shoots can be arranged throughout most of our other shooting concessions.
The season range from our summer through mid-winter, so please inquire about recommended clothing for your shoot when booking!
Real Tree, Max4 and Sniper camo is highly recommended. Dark khaki works great too. Light khaki and light clothing is to be avoided at all costs.
A shooting jacket that can hold ample ammunition will be an advantage. Sunblock, a shooting cap, eye and ear protection is recommended for an enjoyable shoot.
Guns and Ammo
12 or 20 gauge over/under or Semi Auto shotguns are recommended.
12 gauge Semi-auto shotguns are offered for hire at our main pigeon area.
Shot in size No.7 ½ will be supplied to visiting sportsmen.
This combination has been found to be ideal for Pigeon and Dove shoots in our areas.
Conservation & Social responsibility
Pigeons and doves are considered agricultural pests as they consume and squander a vast percentage of the annual national sunflower crop. The damage the estimated 7 million pigeons just around Bloemfontein cause annually is quantified in eight digit figures, something unimaginable to the uninformed public.
By adding value in terms of concession fees paid to landowners and curbing the population increase to some extent, Karoo Wingshooting lessens some of the impact these birds have on sunflower yields.
Additionally, excess shot birds are a protein supplement to farm labourers, but more importantly to the impoverished local communities in the districts around the areas we hunt.
Many a time, these locals will gather at a distance from shooting guns and be more than willing to help picking up shot birds. For them sharing in the spoils of the day is the only fresh protein their families will receive and is looked upon as a god sent.
The main lodges are situated on the outskirts of Bloemfontein. Double and twin rooms are all en suite and fitted with all the amenities to make your stay comfortable.
In the communal areas of the lodge you will find a well-stocked bar, open plan dining hall and lounging area and an outside fire pit and a swimmingpool.
Typical South African cuisine is served and the usual great hospitality will be offered in bountiful volumes.