While shooting pigeons for fun is rarely condoned, you might find it necessary to get a rifle and shoot the pest birds on your property if they are causing trouble. This is particularly the case in the countryside, where pigeons ruin crops, contaminate water sources with their droppings, and disturb poultry.
Controlling pigeon populations by shooting is done at different periods of the year using other methods depending on where you live. Successful pigeon shooting requires several skills, including field crafts, reconnaissance skills, accurate shooting, and the best air rifle to shoot pigeons.
It is estimated that about 5.4 million pairs of pigeons live in the United Kingdom at present. The damage to oilseed crops alone done by pigeons costs farmers £75 million annually.
Pigeons typically attack mature cereal crops and other crops like cabbages, broccoli, brassicas, and kale which cost farmers between £1,250 to about £330 per hectare.
Top 3 Best Air Rifles to Shoot Pigeons
Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle .177 Caliber
Umarex Unisex Adult Ruger Blackhawk .177 Caliber
Crosman CLGY1000KT Legacy Variable Pump .177-Caliber
 Best Air Rifles Explained
Crosman CF7SXS Fire Break Barrel
You are looking for a gun to help you make precise shots at pigeons, even at challenging angles. Unlike mammals, your accuracy when shooting pigeons is highly reduced because of their small size, and the Crosman CF7SXS air gun can help you shoot from a safe distance with enhanced accuracy. The advantage of using this gun for shooting pigeons is that it is relatively safer to dangerous to use.
Crosman continues to be one of the most trusted brands of pigeon-hunting firearms. It is built to withstand different weather conditions making it a suitable tool for shooting at pigeons during any use.
The reduced recoil and noise do not make it ideal for scaring away pigeons. The Crosman provides an easier way to shoot pigeons.
- It has reduced recoil and less noise, making it ideal for many different age groups shooting pigeons.
- This air gun can generate velocities that are powerful enough to eliminate a target pigeon.
- It comes with a 4 x 32 mm scope that efficiently targets and shoots at small targets, pigeons included.
Umarex Ruger Blackhawk Combo
The Blackhawk is a tough gun that is powerful enough to rip apart the pigeon menace in your backyard or farm. The air gun range is about 25 feet to 50 feet, which is enough to shoot pigeons on the property.
- Scope and Mounting Rings
This air gun comes with a clear 4 x 32 scope, making it good for beginners looking to shoot pigeons.
- Comfortable Grip
The Ruger Blackhawk Combo is a powerful air rifle that professionals and beginners can easily use in pigeon shooting.
- Fiber optic sights
The Blackhawk is a quality air gun with fiber optic sights to help improve your aim while shooting down pigeons.
Crosman 1077 Repeat Air Semi-automatic
The Crosman 1077 is an ideal air gun for hunting many pigeons because of its semi-automatic ability. It also comes with fiber optic sights that can be adjusted to account for the wind when hunting for pigeons. This improved accuracy may mean that you can take out an entire nest quite easily.
- The Crosman 1077 comes with a 12-shot rotary clip that makes it suitable for shooting pigeons.
- It is a quality gun for pigeon shooting because it contains a laser beam sight, improving its accuracy, and perfecting it for smaller targets.
Crosman P1377BR American Classic
If you’re looking for a classic single bolt pump air rifle that can help you train yourself to shoot at pigeons accurately, this is the best tool for you. The reload is easy but long, rendering it efficient when taking shots. It can still be used for everyday pigeon shooting exercises.
- The Crosman P1377BR comes with an adjustable backside and a blade front sight for pigeon aiming purposes.
- It uses the single bolt pump-action, and it has a classic and sleek design making it a favorite among many pigeon shooters.
- The steel barrel is rifled to improve its accuracy, especially for smaller targets like pigeons.
Daisy Model 25 Pump Gun
The Daisy Model 25 is among the most trusted air guns, which comes with a rifled barrel with a capacity of 50 shots, making it the best gun for dealing with any level of pigeon intrusion. It is also powerful enough to scare away pigeons. It has a shorter range, but it will still do an excellent job in shooting pigeons on your farm or backyard.
- It has a 50-shot capacity with a range of about 95 ft.
- It comes in a classy model and produces a sound like a pump-action shotgun which may be beneficial in scaring away pigeons.
Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle .177
The Gamo 6110017154 air rifle uses platinum alloy pellets perfect for hunting pigeons, especially pest control. It comes with a scope that enables you to pick off small targets like feral pigeons under challenging conditions. It is ideal to use in any weather.
- The Gamo 6110017154 has a magazine capacity of only one shot with a single coking mechanism, reducing its effectiveness against many pigeons.
- It comes with a 4 X 32 air rifle scope to improve its aim when hunting for pigeons.
- The same brand that produces the Gamo 6110017154 also manufactures pellets and BBs for air guns used for pigeon hunting.
Crosman CLGY1000KT Legacy 1000
Legacy 1000 continues to lead as a powerful air rifle highly effective against pigeons. It can shoot different pellets at high speeds, which are more effective at hitting pigeons. It also comes with the 17-round BB magazine that can lay extra shots, effective against a group of pigeons.
- The Legacy 1000 is equipped with fiber optic sights and a 4 x 15 mm scope which helps to improve its accuracy when aiming at moving pigeons.
- It can also be used under different weather conditions with a water-resistant and durable design making it effective against pigeons at any time of the year.
Pigeon Shooting: Short Gun Or Air Rifle
When going out to shoot pigeons, you don’t need heavy artillery. Air rifles do the trick and are even more effective. Well, you can use a short gun only when you can’t access an air rifle. To successfully shoot the pest birds, you have to be agile and quick. Realistic decoys will come in handy for you when going out to shoot pigeons.
It has been practically proven that using fake pigeon decoys is quite effective in drawing out pigeons to a specific area. Once the pigeons are in your targeted tree, you can then tactfully use your air rifle to shoot down the birds.
The key to successful pigeon shooting is to choose the right air rifle. You are looking for a gun with just enough power but not too loud. Any .177 air rifle can be quite effective in shooting pigeons. However, check your backstop when choosing a gun to use and where to carry out your shooting expedition.
When you shoot and miss, you want to know where the pellets are going. When loading the gun pellets, you can use a pen. This way, you just put the pen where the pellets are going and later get them to the slot, ready for loading.
Pigeon Shooting Guide
With an air rifle, you can have fun while you get rid of pigeons on your property. Whether you are experienced or new to pigeon shooting, you want to do It right all the time. You need to know which rifle to acquire and the best pellets for the gun to give you the ultimate stealthy shooting experience and, in the process, banish pigeons from your property.
If you are planning to shoot pigeons, get the relevant shooting license in your area first. Depending on your area, the license allows you to shoot pigeons for specified reasons such as crop protection, game meat, and public health and safety. Shooting pigeons fun may not be allowed.
As with the use of any weapon, safety comes first. Never underestimate air rifles because they can cause serious injury. Ensure you have a safe backstop when shooting pigeons on the trees, ensure you have a tree trunk or big enough branch behind the target.
If you plan to shoot pigeons in your garden, it is legal under the general licensing terms. You should also know it is illegal to let your pellet go beyond the area you have permission to shoot. Lastly, you cannot shoot pigeons within 50ft of the highway center.
Which Air Rifle Can You Use?
There are multiple types of air rifles, including pre-charged pneumatic, spring-loaded, and gas ram. The choice of the gun to use comes down to your personal preference.
Spring-loaded guns often take longer to load because you will need to cock them each time you fire. However, many people prefer it because it is cheaper than pre-charged pneumatics. Pre-charged pneumatic air rifles have compressed air that can fire several pellets in between fillings.
That means you can fire several shots faster, particularly if you have a magazine. However, when the reservoir is depleted, you stop shooting and refill the rifle with a manual stirrup pump or a large diving bottle.
Once you’ve chosen your rifle, your next thing is to decide on a caliber. You are looking at .177, and .22 are the main options for air rifles. The main distinction between the two calibers is the inside diameter of the rifle barrel, and the weight of the rifle pallet 177 pellets are generally lighter and quicker. When using the rifles, the difference in power is not an issue because all calibers kill as long as they are directed in the same place.
Which pellets should you choose?
If you like the traditional way of shooting, you can choose the round-headed pellet (diabolo). However, there are modern pellets you can use to shoot pigeons, including hollow-point and pointed pellets. Different rifles often work well with particular pellets, and that is why you need to try a few to be sure which ones work best with your rifle so that you can effectively shoot pigeons.
Is it Illegal to Shoot Pigeons in America?
In most instances, the rural states in the US do not require a license to shoot pigeons. However, you should learn the local hunting laws and regulations that may apply to you. Generally speaking, shooting pigeons is not illegal in the United States because pigeons are not native American birds. If they were, they would be under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 1918 protection.
Generally, the only requirement you need to shoot pigeons is a basic hunting license – although you should always check the restrictions specific to your state.
In most suburban areas, there are firearm and hunting laws that regulate pigeon shooting. This law applies even when the pigeons are in your home or farm. In states with strict gun ownership and handling rules, you should always remain on the safe side of the law when shooting wild pigeons.
The species of pigeon that you intend to shoot is also another concern you ought to have. Confirm whether the species of pigeon is a protected species in your region. Shooting endangered species of pigeons is out of the question.
In many municipalities like towns or cities, it is the norm to restrict shooting your firearm only when limiting pigeon shooting under extenuating circumstances. We have prepared 40-plus USA state guides about pigeon shooting laws.
Do You Need Permission to Shoot Pigeons in the United Kingdom?
On the 25th of April 2019, Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) did away with the old licensing system. They introduced the general licenses in June of the same year, which included pigeons in the GL35- General License to help shoot several species of wild birds that may contribute to a public safety or public health crisis. The feral pigeon was also included in the GL36 General License.
This license allows the shooting of a given species of pigeons to manage damage to livestock, livestock feeds, food crops, vegetables, growing timber, fruits, fisheries, or even inland waters. Included on the list of pigeon species are the feral pigeon and wood pigeon.
To take part in the operation to shoot feral pigeon species, which are a nuisance, it is advisable to ensure that you are working within the law. The property owner may be required to prove a few things, including:
1) The challenges that the pigeons pose are a great risk to public health or safety in the present, past, or future.
2) Non-lethal methods have been applied to control the population of the destructive wild pigeons, and they have failed. Culling is prohibited from being a method of controlling pigeons for the simple reason that they cause damage to your property by fouling. You should note that culling is illegal and can attract charges.
Read More: What Do Pigeons Eat?
Can you Shoot Pigeons in Australia?
Lethal methods of control of destructive wild birds like pigeons fall under two main categories. The first is agricultural bird control which also includes sites like airports and landfills. The second one is the control of wild pigeons in urbanized areas. Even though lethal control is applied to various destructive birds, including pigeons, many people opt for this way of controlling pigeons.
This guide will review shooting methods and air rifles to manage the populations of pigeons in urbanized locations. Unless the species of bird eradicated using lethal methods are covered under the relevant Act, it will be illegal to use lethal methods of control as articulated in the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.
Even though specific licenses exist and are necessary for carrying out any lethal control of pest bird species, common species of invasive and destructive birds like the feral pigeon are regulated by a general license.
As long as the culling is done as stipulated by the guidelines in the General License, it is not necessary to apply for a specific license to shoot pigeons. It is worth noting that the Department provides all licenses for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), including the General License.
Can You Shoot Pigeons in Canada?
In Canada, pigeons do not enjoy the coverage of Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. It is, therefore, easy to get a game license that will allow you to shoot pigeons in the province of your residence. Quebec also follows a law that is similar to Canada on shooting pigeons. In Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, it is permitted to shoot a pigeon if you are sure they pose a threat to your property.
In places like Saskatchewan and Alberta, the law allows anyone to shoot a pigeon without a license. However, it is not permitted to do so in a public place like a provincial park. In British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, one is free to exterminate a pigeon without any government restriction or license.
It is worth noting that the Migratory Birds Convention Act does not cover pigeons as it only applies to bird species native to the country. The urban pigeon is known to have originated from Europe and therefore does not enjoy protection from this Act.
Even though you are allowed to shoot a pigeon, using non-lethal means of population control is always recommended. A number of by-laws passed by municipalities that prohibit the feeding of pigeons are accompanied by laws that forbid their shooting while on park grounds.
Another important fact worth noting is that it is prohibited to scatter poisonous substances in a location that pets can access as a method of controlling pigeon populations. Even though it might be okay to shoot a pigeon that is damaging your property, it is unthinkable to go around residential and urban areas firing a pellet gun in all directions. Whether in a garden or private premises, it is allowed to shoot at a given list of invasive pigeon species.
Feral pigeons – can you shoot them? This may not be as straightforward as you may think. In England, for instance, there are gun laws that restrict the species of pigeons that you are allowed to shoot. The government in England almost restricted all types of bird shooting. However, general licenses provide a list of pigeon species that you can shoot at legally, including the pigeon species.
You are allowed by law to shoot at feral pigeons and wood pigeons anywhere in the United Kingdom. You’re not allowed to shoot bird species including stock doves, collared doves, and turtle doves. Even though wood pigeons can form a delicious meal for some people, it is prohibited to shoot them for consumption.
To remain on the safe side, always ensure that you have probable cause to shoot the feral pigeons. Providing evidence that you are preventing damage to your garden crops is enough to get you out of any problem.
In addition, it is recommended that you apply other non-lethal methods of controlling feral pigeons, like erecting a scarecrow. This will provide proof that you have utilized other means with no success and therefore legally resorted to shooting the wild pigeons.
Shooting pigeons using air guns is a fun activity and at the same time, it helps get rid of pesky pigeons, which may be destructive to your property. Besides the other methods of getting rid of pigeons, such as the use of decoy hawks, repellants, and spikes, you can effectively shoot them off your property. Choose the right air rifle, strictly adhere to gun safety measures, and stick to your local regulations on pigeon shooting.