Pigeon Shooting in South Africa 2025

Rock pigeon shooting in South Africa 2025

Shooting pigeons South Africa

“Although Argentina is considered the dove shooting capital of the world, I will let you in on a little secret: South Africa is not far behind. Your shoulder can only take so much abuse before you’re no longer able to shoot. Pigeon shooting in South Africa is significantly undervalued, with South African rock pigeons being much more sporting than the chaotic Argentine dove hunts.

 

Rock pigeons driven shooting in South Africa March 2024
Ivan standing on the edge of a maize field, shooting rock pigeons coming over Soya stubble field

 

Rock pigeons are regularly hunted around cattle feedlots, as well as recently harvested maize and sunflower fields. The season typically begins in March, just before the grain harvesting season, and if there are sunflowers to be harvested or old stubble fields left uncultivated,. The Free State region of South Africa has the best sporting rock pigeon and dove shooting in the world.

South Africa pigeon shooting
Driven pigeon shooting South Africa

A traditional rock pigeon shoot is a South African specialty. These exceptionally fast-flying birds, known locally as “Rockies,” zigzag in the wind and guarantee to test your bird-shooting skills! Historically regarded as agricultural pests and not game birds, rock pigeon hunters ignored and undervalued these sporting birds. However, more clients have recently traveled to South Africa to shoot these rock pigeons, mostly led by shooters from the United Kingdom seeking out their sport overseas. Teams are rarely dissatisfied with the outcomes, as we’ve seen.”

pigeon shooting South Africa 2025

Pigeon shooting in South Africa: Prices and rates

Duration

2 half & 5 Full days

price

£195 per day or £1170 - 6 days

Quarry

Rock Pigeons & Doves

Country

South Africa

group size

1-8

Destination

South Africa

UK Departure

heathrow

accommodation

choice of three Lodges

Food & Drink

all inclusive

seasons

March-September

South African rock pigeon shooting
Shooting driven rock pigeons like driven grouse March 2024

FAQ's

The short answer is that you can shoot rock pigeons all year in South Africa because pigeons are a pest species. In South Africa, you do not need a licence to shoot rock pigeons, but you do need written permission from the landowner or farmer.

There is no rock pigeon closed season. In general, the best time to shoot rock pigeons is in the late South African summer, when sunflower crops are ripening, from late February to the end of April for the best high-volume rock pigeon shooting, May through to September offers good numbers of Rock pigeon shooting over decoying over stumble.

  • Doves & Rock Pigeons: No closed season: March to September (High-volume 15th March to 15th April.)
  • Burchell’s Sandgrouse: 1st January to 31st March.
  • Namaqua Sandgrouse: 1st April to 15th July.
  • Double-banded Sandgrouse: 1st January to 31st March.
  • South African Shelduck: 1st June to 15th September.
  • Egyptian Geese: 1st June to 15th September.
  • Spur-winged Geese: 1st June to15th September.
  • Francolin: 1st June to 15th September.
  • Guineafowl: 1st June to 30 September.
  • Ducks: 1st June to 15th September.

Bringing your shotgun to South Africa is relatively simple; airlines will allow you to bring shotguns on board for a nominal fee; upon arrival at Johannesburg Tambo Airport, you must go to the airport police station and complete a saps form; you will also need a letter of invitation from your South African hunting lodge. An itinerary of your South African travel plans. As well as a return plane ticket to the country of origin.

The best shotguns for rock pigeon shooting in South Africa are 12 gauge - 12 bore shotguns in over and under or semi-auto. Side-by-side shotguns are not ideal if you intend to fire a high volume of cartridges on a daily basis. Due to their lightweight construction, you will quickly experience extensive recoil and sustained wear and tear on the beautiful old side by side.

We recommend 12 gauge 28 g 7 1/2 shot size with a plastic wad due to the high volume of cartridges you will be shooting on a week-long hunting trip. In South Africa, 12 gauge shotgun cartridges are by far the most affordable of all gauges. Again, 7 1/2 shot size is normally reserved for clay shooting, but the cost and altitude you will be hunting at will give you enough killing range out 50 - 60 metres. plastic wads holds a better shot pattern and reduces recoil.

Rock pigeon shooting package prices in South Africa

Driven African rock pigeon shooting
Hunting South African rock pigeons

Pigeon shooting in South Africa: overview

The laid-back yet professional atmosphere guarantees that these shooting holidays are always very enjoyable, stress-free, and of course, productive, whether bringing new clients to this most difficult of quarries or welcoming back returning customers.

 

In the past 20 years, the numbers of resident pigeons, Egyptian, and Spur wing geese have significantly increased. The resident Egyptian goose shooting season opens on June 1st and continues through to July, when hundreds of thousands of migratory geese travelled through the Free State corridor to feed on recently harvested maize fields and old sunflower stubble.

Anyone who has shot Rock Pigeons will tell you that these magnificent birds provide clients with a variety of shots that no other winged game bird can match. – African Rock Pigeons. On any given day, teams can predict a volume of shooting nearly equivalent to the best in Argentina, as well as the challenge of a late-season Grouse shoot in the Scottish highlands.

To achieve the best results, as with all worthy field sports, significant pre-planning, reconnaissance, and a significant amount of field craft needed. This is since millions of rock pigeons travel twice daily between the Drakensberg escarpment, local cities to the ripening sunflower areas in the surrounding province. It is here that client must be strategically position in blinds to ambush the “Rockies” as they travel their flight-lines.

The Shooting

Fortunately, you are not alone in one’s challenge when shooting “Rock Pigeons,” as the line usually consisting of four to eight clients who, once at the hunting areas, draw numbers and settle into one of the fully outfitted blinds. Clients can expect to find their gun, ample cartridges, a comfortable seat, and chilled refreshments within their own cold box within these blinds, to name four of the main items.

Clients are typically alerted by the initial flight of rock pigeons by enthusiastic yells from the nearby bird boys. They help not only by spotting the birds, but also by channelling rock pigeons through the line of at the waiting hunters. As the morning progresses, the action usually picks up and teams establish an impressive pace and strategy to achieve the best results. When shooting these thrilling rock pigeons, the first shot, if timed perfectly, causes a starburst response, making a subsequent second shot rarely successful. After the initial starburst, rock pigeons then tend to pack back together and swing hard down the line of guns, allowing other blinds to get shooting before the pigeon’s peel back hard for a second attempt on crossing line of guns.

Perfecting the timing of this first shot is thus a difficult but pivotal art; too early and the rock pigeons will break back with only one shot fired; too late and they will blow straight through the line of guns, leaving only a fraction of a second to fire.

To help break up the shooting at mid-day, clients can either take a break for lunch in the field or continue shooting while freshly prepared food is delivered to each specific blind, ensuring no shooting time is lost.

The second return rock pigeon flight usually occurs in the early afternoon, when the rock pigeons return to their roosts. This flight follows a similar pattern of shooting, but with the “Rockies” staying very high in the sky, testing the team’s abilities at high driven pigeon.

Teams frequently partake in the customary sundowner drink at the end of the day to debate the day’s sport and relive their recently created shooting memories.

If you or your game shooting syndicate are interested in shooting Rock Pigeons in South Africa, please do not hesitate to get in touch Richard or Julie, who will be delighted to discuss our fixed or tailor packages with you. Pigeon shooting in South Africa

Location

Johannesburg is one of the three-capital city of South Africa’s Free State Province, and it is in the country’s centre, making it easily accessible by road and air. The surrounding Johannesburg area is well-known in South Africa for its massive agricultural industry, which primarily consists of arable cropping. Because of the plentiful supply of freely available food, a unique location has developed in which both Rock Pigeons and Doves can thrive, with no bag limits or seasons.

South African rock pigeon shooting

What's Included

What's NOT Included

In South Africa with the Guernsey crude shooting rock pigeons

Pigeon shooting South Africa, Itinerary 2025

“Check in three hours beforehand at Terminal 5 – London Heathrow at 15:20 on Saturday for British Airways Flight BA55. Also, make sure to check in four hours beforehand at Terminal 5 – London Heathrow at 14:20 if you’re carrying a firearm heading to South Africa with the same flight. The departure time for BA55 is at 18:20 based on UK local time.”

BA55 will land at Johannesburg Tambo International Airport at 7:25 AM local time. A Four Seasons Shooting Holidays representative will meet you at arrivals and escort you to your airport transfer vehicle to the lodge. Alternatively, if you are carrying a firearm, you will be escorted to the local SAPS police station on-site at arrivals to complete your import-export permit. It will take approximately one hour, and then you will be escorted to your overland airport transfer vehicle or internal connecting flight. The overland JNB airport to lodge transfer will take five hours, including a 30-minute lunch and toilet break. The Four Seasons Lodge check-in is at 1:30 PM and accompanied by coffee, tea, and snacks. The evening meal will be served from 7:30 PM, and drinks will be served at the bar with open area seating by a traditional log fire until 11 PM.

Local pigeon shooting starts at 6 AM. Pre-hunt coffee, tea, and toast will be served in the bar. In south Africa, pigeon shooting starts at 5 AM with pre-hunt coffee, tea, and toast available in the bar. Early morning pigeon shooting in South Africa starts at 6:45 AM and concludes at 9:30 AM. Local pigeon hunts return to the Lodge at 10 AM for full English and continental breakfast. However, South African morning pigeon hunts will have breakfast in the field. Afternoon pigeon shooting in South Africa starts at 12 PM and concludes at 5 PM. Return to the Lodge by 6 PM for a shower before your evening meal which will be served at 7:30 PM. Drinks will be served at the bar with open area seating by a traditional log fire until 11 PM.

Enjoy a leisurely morning at the lodge with a full English and continental breakfast. Depart Four Seasons Lodge for JNB airport transfer between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM noon. Overland travel time for JNB airport to lodge transfer is five hours, which includes a 30-minute lunch and toilet break. Arrive at Johannesburg Tambo International departures at 5:00 PM. Departure time for BA56 at Johannesburg Tambo International Airport is 8:10 PM local time.

BA56 will be landing at London Heathrow Airport at 5:30 AM (UK) local time.

Essential Pigeon hunting Information

Rock pigeon shooting on the flightline in South Africa
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pigeon hunting in South Africa 2025

Four Seasons Shooting Holidays – Sporting Agent – Sporting & Hunting Holiday provider 

Serving UK, South Africa, Argentina, Europe 

57 Windsor Rd, Chobham, Woking GU24 8LD, United Kingdom