Eddie Jones And The Air Arms S310
This month sees me back in the Welsh hills. I had been invited there for a few days fox shooting by my good friend Allan. With his pest control now back in full swing, it was not an opportunity to miss.
We had been out a few times and so far put a pretty good dent in the fox population, I had even managed my furthest shot ever at over 400 yards. This was a memorable trip but it was about to get even better the following day.
Barley fields are not very common in the hills so to find this was a real treat, luckily for us, Allan had the permission to shoot this ground. We decided to head back home and get the decoying kit out and return after lunch for a few hours and see what we could manage to get before heading back out on the foxes.
As it was a foxing trip I had not taken my trusty Ultimate Sporter with me as we were shooting bullets so I was looking to shoot one of Allan’s rifles. Before we headed back out he brought a classic Air Arms .177 S310. The scope he had fitted was an old Hawke with a shooting spot at 30 yards. I was definitely looking forward to this as it had been a long time since I had been out decoying corvids.
When decoying corvids you will always want to find a position that has the best cover possible. When we got to the field that we were shooting we noticed a nice group of trees in a corner that would be great to hide us from any birds flying over us and also conceal any movement behind the nets. When we approached the corner there was a small cottage nearby. Unfortunately, there were several dogs in the garden and it didn’t take long until they started barking. The noise from the dogs would prevent any birds feeling comfortable enough to settle in the area so we decided to go further up the field.
We soon found a suitable spot and began to set up our gear. When building the hide make it as comfortable as possible, there is no point making it small and compact that you struggle to move your rifle to get a good shooting position.
The decoys were now set it was time to get the rifles ready and take a couple of test shots just to gauge any cross wind so we knew exactly where to aim. Allan was the first to go and his shots were hitting about 5mm to the left. That was nothing to worry about so I set about filling the magazine for the S310. I had taken my first practice shot and I was also hitting around 5mm to the left so we both knew the breeze was steady and only minor adjustments were needed for our main zero, all we had to do now was sit and wait on out comfy chairs and wait.
We didn’t have to wait long, we could hear jackdaws calling in front of us, Allan took a peek through the net and confirmed at least 4 coming straight for the decoys. Staring through a gap in the net I could finally see them at about 50 yards away and closing in. Allan had got the silencer through the hide ready to pounce if one landed. The Jackdaws seemed to be playing with us, they flew around for what seemed an age calling to the decoys and each other. Finally one took the plunge just on the right-hand side of the decoys. Before I could even say to Allan to “hurry up” he took the shot and the bird was down. The other jackdaws went berserk, calling like mad to their fallen friend. All the commotion seemed to help us, within minutes we had more coming our way, there were even crows coming to find out what was wrong.
The crows and jackdaws were even more confused now, in a way it was funny to watch. They had no idea why some of their mates were dropping dead, we were well hidden and as the Air Arms s310 was so quiet they had no idea we were there.
We continue to shoot this little group of birds for the next 15 minutes, we both managed to bag another corvid. Our luck sadly ran out as one pesky crow came close enough to the hide and spotted us.
There was quiet now, the crow that had spotted us soon let the others know of the danger and they soon followed him over the fields and out of harms way. It was a good start, 4 birds down in 20 minutes was more than we expected. For the next hour, we had both managed to get a few more between us, we seemed to be getting a run off pairs coming to the decoys and this seemed to give them more confidence to drop.
The next hour was a little slower, we were getting more come from behind and unfortunately, they saw us as they flew over our hide. We decided a different approach was needed. We had brought some bouncer poles with us as an addition for when we had shot a few birds, as we were doing OK we had chosen not used them. But now was a good time to add a little movement and hopefully give any birds in the area more confidence to land.
It worked a treat, we had groups of 5 birds drop in without any bother.
We continued to plough on until light forced us to start packing up, I did not want this to end but I had enjoyed this red letter afternoon so much.
The S310 had been faultless, I had found out it was made in 2000 and was probably one of the last ones made before the S400 took over. This is a testament to how well built the Air Arms rifles truly are.
We packed up the equipment and begun to take the final photos, it was when we counted up the birds. We had shot over 60 between us, my best ever day on corvids.
Here are a few tips to help you on your next pest control outing.
- Try and conceal yourself as much as possible without making the hide stand out too much.
- Adjust your pattern throughout the session, subtle changes can make a difference.
- Make sure you have the gun ready to shoot before the bird lands, this saves on movement and time to take the shot.
Posted in: Hunting