Spring Hunting in Scotland – Wood Pigeon

Spring is one of the best times to visit Scotland if you like to get in before the crowds. Scotland is also stunningly beautiful in spring as the countryside comes back to life after the long winter.

For those keen to visit at this beautiful time of year and looking for some excellent spring hunting, we would recommend wood pigeon hunting. Indeed, wood pigeon hunting really is a great option for hunting in Scotland as it has many over-looked benefits such as;


Wood pigeon hunting costs roughly half the price of a day of pheasant / partridge shooting. Be aware however that, at such a low-cost, hunting estates need a couple of hunters per day to make it financially viable, therefore you must be a party of 2 hunters at the minimum.

Beginner friendly spring hunting 

Because a wood pigeon hunt is a static hunt based in a hide, it is also excellent for beginners as there is no walking with loaded shotguns. Being in a hide also means it is easy to have an instructor sitting next to you, to help you get the most out of the day.

Expert friendly spring hunting 

Wood pigeon hunting is really under rated type of hunt. Wood pigeon are often referred to as “the grey grouse” due to how fast they can fly, which means the hunting is challenging and rewarding for even the most proficient hunters.

The difference between a beginner and an expert hunter on a wood pigeon hunt is mainly down to how far out an expert will take a shot. An expert will take their shot as the bird is moving past at speed on the wing, whereas a beginner would wait until they a little closer to landing to take the shot.

Impress your wood pigeon guide by taking the bird at distance and speed with a clean kill, and you’ll be the talk of the pub that evening while you enjoy that well-deserved dram of whisky.

Eco-friendly & ethical

As much as wood pigeon can be beautiful wild birds, they are also pests for farmers and so must be controlled to protect crops.

The birds that are shot by visiting hunters would have had to be shot anyway in the course of the farmers duties, so it makes sense to get this job done while also bring in the much-needed income for the local economy that international hunters provide.

No closed season – (technically)

All hunting of game species in Scotland is controlled by open and closed seasons. Species that are designated as pest however have no closed season. Wood pigeons are technically pests and so can be shot at any time of year. There are however some parts of the year that are better than others as the weather plays a big role in the viability of a wood pigeon hunt, as does what is happening on the agricultural calendar. In general, wood pigeon is the best spring hunting option in Scotland, but it can be good at other times of year, as shown below.

Wood Pigeon Hunting Calendar


January – Not recommend due to weather

Consider pheasant, partridge, and duck hunting instead   

February – Not recommend due to weather

Consider another time of year


Oil seed rape will be the wood pigeon’s main food in early March. Farmers will begin spring drilling as the soil warms. Toward the end of the month clover will draw the birds in to begin the wood pigeon spring hunting in earnest.

The weather can be very changeable so make sure you pack plenty of clothing options, anything from heavy snow to hot sunshine (20 degrees Celsius) is possible!


Shooting over peas, and the farmers doing some late spring soil drilling, can provide for some of the best shooting of the year. The weather is usually starting to be more pleasant as well, if sometimes a bit rainy.


Counter intuitively, May can be a difficult month for pigeon. The problem is there is just too much choice of food source for the birds, so it’s hard to corral them into a small enough area for any sustained shooting. Perhaps consider salmon & trout fishing or roe buck hunting instead?


Another difficult month due to an abundance of choice of food for the wood pigeon. A month to be avoided really, barring exceptional events such as failed oil seed rape crops that can provide uniquely good shooting. Perhaps consider golf or salmon fishing instead in June?


Better shooting in July. Shoot over cereal crops, barley, and peas (harvested or still growing),


August is harvest time, so wherever crops have been harvested you are sure to find large numbers of wood pigeon. August provides great wood pigeon hunting and it’s a great warm up for the beginning of the grouse season on 12th August. Combine the two in one trip for an excellent mixed wing shooting week.


Great pigeon hunting to be had over freshly ploughed and harrowed land. September is like August in terms of it being harvest season and therefore some of the biggest wood pigeon numbers of the year. Perhaps combine with partridge shooting and grouse for a really great variety of hunting.


Some Octobers can be actively warm, but some can bring icy cold weather, therefore it’s almost impossible to plan. October is pheasant season anyway, so we’d recommend walked up or driven pheasant and partridge hunting as a much better option.

November – Not recommend due to weather

Consider pheasant, partridge, and duck hunting instead

December – Not recommend due to weather

Consider pheasant, partridge, and duck hunting instead

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