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What Are the Prime Locations for Trapping Pigeons?

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May 23, 2012

What Are the Prime Locations for Trapping Pigeons?

By Chad Love

I've previously blogged about the importance of using live birds for training and how it's smart to use a mixture of both pigeons and pen-raised birds. While I try to mix it up between the two, I have to admit that pigeons are what I use the most. Why? In theory, off-season training with live gamebirds sounds great. In practice, however, there are some issues.

First off, live gamebirds can get expensive. In my area, adult quail generally will run you four to five bucks apiece, chukars and huns will go slightly higher, and pheasants will set you back up to $13 per bird. On top of the initial expense, trying to keep gamebirds healthy, alive and in re-usable condition can sometimes be a struggle. Not to mention the fact that you can't take a bunch of quail out to a remote field, turn them out and then expect them to find their way home.

You're pretty much restricted to one training location and a johnny house/callback pen set-up if you turn out free-roaming quail. And if they're not adequately flight-conditioned enough to, well, actually fly away from your dog, then it pretty much defeats your purpose.
 
That's why so many of us rely on pigeons, both trapped and coop birds, for our training. They're free (if you can trap them) or cheap (if you have to buy), they're very hardy, easy to keep and raise, and are strong fliers. If they're adequately homed or imprinted on your pen or coop, even normal barn pigeons will (mostly) find their way back home from distant training sites. You can either buy barn pigeons or homers on Craigslist (barn pigeons normally got for two or three bucks a piece, culled homers a bit higher) or you can choose to trap your own.
 
I'm cheap, so I trap my own. Which is why I've been driving around town lately looking for likely pigeon-trapping locations. I just received two commercial pigeon traps made by SW Cage (available from Gundog Supply). I'll be talking more about the traps and my pigeon-trapping experiences in a future blog, but for now I have to figure out where and how to place them. That's where you come in.

I need some suggestions on where to trap for maximum skyrat catch rates. Any ideas? Downtown buildings, old grain elevators, underpasses or bridges--I've seen a few pigeons in these spots in my town, (which doesn’t have a huge pigeon population to begin with) but I'm not sure I've seen enough to make placing a trap worthwhile. Do you have a surefire, under-the-radar pigeon-trapping spot or technique? I'd love to hear it.

Comments (21)

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from larson014 wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

dairy farm

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GregMc wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I stopped in at a local grain depot yesterday, where I discovered that they pay someone from out of state to trap pigeons. I told them I'd trap some for free, but they said unless I want to go through a bunch of safety training and be treated like a contractor, I'm out of luck.
I'm going to start asking around downtown and see how it goes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

If your not in New York City or some other large metroplitan city then any farm USA will be your best bet. Also business areas on the edges of town seem to always have abundance of birds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

come to my town in new york and pick a building. there's thousands!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 338lapuamag wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Well i cant say i have ever trapped them with a live trap. But a sure fire way of catching them as well as a very fun time is to grab a bath towel and head for a freeway over pass at night when they are roosting in the rafters. They dont fly very far if you miss them and the bath towel helps to ensure this then i guess you could put them in your live trap by hand... A word of warning you decide to do this though.... Make sure to duck under the rafters when chasing after them cause if you dont you are gonna have a very sore noggin!
My buddies and i use to catch lots and lots of pigeons this way and it is alot of fun as well as makes for a great story around the campfire in deer camp. Good luck!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Fast food places on the roof if they will let you do it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Overpasses are about the best around here. We have a several old abandoned grain elevators that are also loaded but I don't know how one would get up there to set the traps. The framed awnings that are so popular for store fronts these days are a terrible hangout for those vermin. Nothing like stepping out of a store and getting crapped on! Most store owners would kiss your butt if you trapped those birds!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

If you trap birds downtown make sure the trap is secured with lock and chain or the bunny huggers will haul it off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

If you are going to trap them where they roost, be very careful around those big pile of droppings. I understand it's highly toxic and easy to breath in when the droppings are dry.

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from NYhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Any barn on a cow farm, most farmers would gladly get rid of them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walt in wi wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I agree with the dairy farm haymow. It brings back memories of being young and stupid, using a fishing net bolted to a 8 ft. 2x2, wearing coon hunting lights. The circus that followed would make great viewing on today's internet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Ithaca, I thought the same thing till I did a bit of research. Turns out pigeon feces MAY be extremely toxic but apparently only very rarely even in areas of high concentration, and possibly only deadly for certain people (weakened immune systems). The diseases (histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis) are generally transmitted via the dried dust from moldy poop. Using a good dust mask and washing up well afterwards should be enough to prevent any rather remote health threats when trapping pigeons.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Pigeons have always been a staple for gundog training and on the river here there are numerous places where barges load/unload grain that are good targets for trapping pigeons, usually with a simple request to the grain elavator manager. His biggest complaint was that we don't get enough of them when we trap.
I have been invited to set up by the river and pass shoot them coming in grain sites and this is great experience for a young dog or just to tune up and older dog for real game.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

BTW, the most unusual place I have ever shot pigeons was inside Legion Field in Birmingham, Al. (you know, where Alabama played Auburn for so many years,,) at the request of the City of Birmingham. The surface of the field was astro turf at the time, I can just imagine what trying to run on that surface was like with all that 7 1/2 shot laying on it,,,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big Bob W wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I believe that you need only apply the philosophy of build it and they will come if you live in town. I bought a 5 pound sack of pigeon seed from Wal-Mart and that and old bread to seed the trapping ground for a couple of days. I trap three days a week and my training group has cut the cost per bird from $3.00 and a trip to Tucson to about 25 cents per bird.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lhairie wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

In New Jersey look for parking garages. Maintenance there are usually in a battle to keep the birds away from the parked cars. I asked permission near a parking garage near one of the exits on the Parkway and got all the birds I wanted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bassman06 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Come by DC, I know a few of my dad's friends who have to evade droppings while getting off the metro!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scout79 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Oddly enough, this is what I do every three days. I do a lot of my trapping at steel mills, iron making facilities and foundries. At most of these places you'd need to go through their safety training and have the proper PPE. It's really not a big deal but I could see most people not being down with that.
However, I also trap at sports stadiums, senior living centers, theaters and power stations. Grain elevators and dairy farms would be great places provided you could get access. I'd also ask around at some local farms. They love sitting in old barns. You could place your sets in the hayloft area near an open door or window. Overpasses look good, but the steep inclines would make it difficult to place traps and hold the bait. Plus you will have to deal with the wind blowing your bait around.
I use corn for bait and my traps are a mix of pendulum door traps, slanted wire doors, bobs and funnel door. I like bobs and pendulum (one way) doors best. I once saw a trapezoid shaped trap made of thick welded dowels with bobs on all sides. That trap was a pigeon slayer! When you're trapping, don't just pour the bait and set the trap to catch right away and don't check it everyday. Check every 2-3 days and leave the traps open for a few weeks while the pigeons get used to going in the traps eating all the free corn. Then, once the corn is disappearing pretty well...betrayal!! Set the traps to catch and provide a large water dish. Checking every day will spook birds away from your sets, so that's why you go every 2-3 days.
A word of warning: hawks and other raptors WILL come to your traps, kill the pigeons inside and eat what they can through the bars. There's nothing you can do about it. If you're lucky you'll get to see it happening, but once in a while, a really greedy cooper's hawk or kestrel will actually go in the traps. It's a good idea to bring a pair of leather gloves with you just in case.
Also, if you put traps in a metro area, make sure they are off the ground and in harder to get to places. Otherwise raccoons and cats may hit them up...plus the bunnyhuggers will stomp them and release the pigeons. Don't use bread or popcorn as bait in these locations or bums will collect it. I'm not joking. I wish I were.
If you would like more advice, I'm willing to help as much as I can. If you'd like to contact me over email we could maybe work something out as I don't want to post it on a public forum. I'm not interested in making any money from this...I just hate pigeons.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Sure with this Eurasian Dove, or collared dove would reside outside the city limits out here in the West. It is a feral dove that is spreading throughout the West, and Game Depts would like to rid the darn things. But the are "townies", and I seldom see them outside the city limits where I can shoot them. I would hunt them year around for dog training, and practice shooting purposes, and can't locate them where I can shoot. They are as big as a pigeon, have a black ring around 1/2 their neck, and sqwalk a lot. Make a weird screeching noise.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BradBFitz wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I live just outside of the city of St. Louis. I have always had great success with bread and a long handled fishing net. Seriously.

The plan we go with is to drive around town between 7 am and 10 am when most of the pigeons are on the ground. We look for a park, parking lot, alley - anywhere where there is a large group of pigeons or 10 or more. If you just throw stale bread on the ground they will flock to it. Once the whole group is in a feeding frenzy, have you and a friend swipe both nets on top of the group. You'll get up to seven at a time in each net. Have a dog crate handy. Bring it over to where you have the pigeons trapped between the ground and the net and just up up the crate and tilt the net open so they fly right in. You'll loose a few during the process but it works well.

We've successfully homed them at my hunting club, but honestly it is so easy to do, I just let them fly off if I'm training on my own. Its much easier for me to trap them when I train than it is for me to keep them in a coop.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Cripes, there were some real good tips in this blog! Scout, thanks for taking all the time to post so much info. You obviously passed on many years of knowledge.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from jamesti wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

come to my town in new york and pick a building. there's thousands!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 338lapuamag wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Well i cant say i have ever trapped them with a live trap. But a sure fire way of catching them as well as a very fun time is to grab a bath towel and head for a freeway over pass at night when they are roosting in the rafters. They dont fly very far if you miss them and the bath towel helps to ensure this then i guess you could put them in your live trap by hand... A word of warning you decide to do this though.... Make sure to duck under the rafters when chasing after them cause if you dont you are gonna have a very sore noggin!
My buddies and i use to catch lots and lots of pigeons this way and it is alot of fun as well as makes for a great story around the campfire in deer camp. Good luck!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Ithaca, I thought the same thing till I did a bit of research. Turns out pigeon feces MAY be extremely toxic but apparently only very rarely even in areas of high concentration, and possibly only deadly for certain people (weakened immune systems). The diseases (histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis) are generally transmitted via the dried dust from moldy poop. Using a good dust mask and washing up well afterwards should be enough to prevent any rather remote health threats when trapping pigeons.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from larson014 wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

dairy farm

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GregMc wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I stopped in at a local grain depot yesterday, where I discovered that they pay someone from out of state to trap pigeons. I told them I'd trap some for free, but they said unless I want to go through a bunch of safety training and be treated like a contractor, I'm out of luck.
I'm going to start asking around downtown and see how it goes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

If your not in New York City or some other large metroplitan city then any farm USA will be your best bet. Also business areas on the edges of town seem to always have abundance of birds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from derik wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Fast food places on the roof if they will let you do it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Overpasses are about the best around here. We have a several old abandoned grain elevators that are also loaded but I don't know how one would get up there to set the traps. The framed awnings that are so popular for store fronts these days are a terrible hangout for those vermin. Nothing like stepping out of a store and getting crapped on! Most store owners would kiss your butt if you trapped those birds!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

If you trap birds downtown make sure the trap is secured with lock and chain or the bunny huggers will haul it off.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

If you are going to trap them where they roost, be very careful around those big pile of droppings. I understand it's highly toxic and easy to breath in when the droppings are dry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NYhunter wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Any barn on a cow farm, most farmers would gladly get rid of them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from walt in wi wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I agree with the dairy farm haymow. It brings back memories of being young and stupid, using a fishing net bolted to a 8 ft. 2x2, wearing coon hunting lights. The circus that followed would make great viewing on today's internet.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Pigeons have always been a staple for gundog training and on the river here there are numerous places where barges load/unload grain that are good targets for trapping pigeons, usually with a simple request to the grain elavator manager. His biggest complaint was that we don't get enough of them when we trap.
I have been invited to set up by the river and pass shoot them coming in grain sites and this is great experience for a young dog or just to tune up and older dog for real game.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

BTW, the most unusual place I have ever shot pigeons was inside Legion Field in Birmingham, Al. (you know, where Alabama played Auburn for so many years,,) at the request of the City of Birmingham. The surface of the field was astro turf at the time, I can just imagine what trying to run on that surface was like with all that 7 1/2 shot laying on it,,,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big Bob W wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I believe that you need only apply the philosophy of build it and they will come if you live in town. I bought a 5 pound sack of pigeon seed from Wal-Mart and that and old bread to seed the trapping ground for a couple of days. I trap three days a week and my training group has cut the cost per bird from $3.00 and a trip to Tucson to about 25 cents per bird.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lhairie wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

In New Jersey look for parking garages. Maintenance there are usually in a battle to keep the birds away from the parked cars. I asked permission near a parking garage near one of the exits on the Parkway and got all the birds I wanted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bassman06 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Come by DC, I know a few of my dad's friends who have to evade droppings while getting off the metro!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scout79 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Oddly enough, this is what I do every three days. I do a lot of my trapping at steel mills, iron making facilities and foundries. At most of these places you'd need to go through their safety training and have the proper PPE. It's really not a big deal but I could see most people not being down with that.
However, I also trap at sports stadiums, senior living centers, theaters and power stations. Grain elevators and dairy farms would be great places provided you could get access. I'd also ask around at some local farms. They love sitting in old barns. You could place your sets in the hayloft area near an open door or window. Overpasses look good, but the steep inclines would make it difficult to place traps and hold the bait. Plus you will have to deal with the wind blowing your bait around.
I use corn for bait and my traps are a mix of pendulum door traps, slanted wire doors, bobs and funnel door. I like bobs and pendulum (one way) doors best. I once saw a trapezoid shaped trap made of thick welded dowels with bobs on all sides. That trap was a pigeon slayer! When you're trapping, don't just pour the bait and set the trap to catch right away and don't check it everyday. Check every 2-3 days and leave the traps open for a few weeks while the pigeons get used to going in the traps eating all the free corn. Then, once the corn is disappearing pretty well...betrayal!! Set the traps to catch and provide a large water dish. Checking every day will spook birds away from your sets, so that's why you go every 2-3 days.
A word of warning: hawks and other raptors WILL come to your traps, kill the pigeons inside and eat what they can through the bars. There's nothing you can do about it. If you're lucky you'll get to see it happening, but once in a while, a really greedy cooper's hawk or kestrel will actually go in the traps. It's a good idea to bring a pair of leather gloves with you just in case.
Also, if you put traps in a metro area, make sure they are off the ground and in harder to get to places. Otherwise raccoons and cats may hit them up...plus the bunnyhuggers will stomp them and release the pigeons. Don't use bread or popcorn as bait in these locations or bums will collect it. I'm not joking. I wish I were.
If you would like more advice, I'm willing to help as much as I can. If you'd like to contact me over email we could maybe work something out as I don't want to post it on a public forum. I'm not interested in making any money from this...I just hate pigeons.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Sure with this Eurasian Dove, or collared dove would reside outside the city limits out here in the West. It is a feral dove that is spreading throughout the West, and Game Depts would like to rid the darn things. But the are "townies", and I seldom see them outside the city limits where I can shoot them. I would hunt them year around for dog training, and practice shooting purposes, and can't locate them where I can shoot. They are as big as a pigeon, have a black ring around 1/2 their neck, and sqwalk a lot. Make a weird screeching noise.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BradBFitz wrote 1 year 46 weeks ago

I live just outside of the city of St. Louis. I have always had great success with bread and a long handled fishing net. Seriously.

The plan we go with is to drive around town between 7 am and 10 am when most of the pigeons are on the ground. We look for a park, parking lot, alley - anywhere where there is a large group of pigeons or 10 or more. If you just throw stale bread on the ground they will flock to it. Once the whole group is in a feeding frenzy, have you and a friend swipe both nets on top of the group. You'll get up to seven at a time in each net. Have a dog crate handy. Bring it over to where you have the pigeons trapped between the ground and the net and just up up the crate and tilt the net open so they fly right in. You'll loose a few during the process but it works well.

We've successfully homed them at my hunting club, but honestly it is so easy to do, I just let them fly off if I'm training on my own. Its much easier for me to trap them when I train than it is for me to keep them in a coop.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

Cripes, there were some real good tips in this blog! Scout, thanks for taking all the time to post so much info. You obviously passed on many years of knowledge.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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