Band-tail Pigeons

SteveHazard

Active Member
Oct 24, 2018
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Anybody know much about the habits of these big pigeons? Over the weekend I was up higher in the pines. I sat down to rest and listen and noticed that band-tails were periodically coming and going from a group of about 4-5 dead or partial dead pines. As I tried to ninja myself closer the bulk of them flew out, about 50-60 of them.

Are they likely to come back and roost in the same certain spots? What are they eating? Nuts out of the pinecones? I noticed the season isn't open till the end of December so I'm skeptical if they'll still be up there then or if I'll want to go up there then as there could be snow then. Who's gotten any before? They look larger then normal pigeons.
 

dhntr48

Active Member
Oct 7, 2015
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I saw a bunch, about 50 or so flying circles above a saddle about 7000 feet in the Angeles Nat forest about a week ago . Where I go to hunt them , they seem to be in the same areas from year to year , and for long periods of time . I have also hunted them with snow on the ground .
 

ilovesprig

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Aug 3, 2012
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Band-tails are considered a migratory game bird...They do live locally here in SoCal...Although, the majority come from Oregon & Washington...They eats acorns, pine nuts, and most any seed that is provided by homeowners.

Historically, they migrate to the same places each year with some variance with food sources...Most these locations are within a 150 miles of the coast...Paso Robles, Ventura, Frazier Park, Mt. Pinos, Pasadena, Big Bear, Mt Baldy, Ortega Hwy, and most all of San Diego Co. are some of the most common locations.

The limit at one time was 7...Then went to 4...Then to the current 2...Large die offs started in the 70's (avian cholera) and despite some really good production years...The limit has stayed at 2...5 years ago here in San Diego they were everywhere by the 100's...Then the following year, they were dead by the 100's in the Pasadena area...Last year was just so so at best...I have not seen a lot this year so far, but I do believe it has to do with the great acorn production we've had county wide.

They are one of coolest birds to hunt and wing shooting for them is one of the more challenging.

ps...Shot a banded band-tail near Upper San Juan Campground off of Ortega Hwy...Banded at Mt. Baldy.

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MarceloF

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Jun 2, 2017
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I too was wondering about them...I saw a lot of birds a couple of weeks ago when I was scouting for bears... They would fly away and kind of circle back to the same trees a few minutes later.

Seems like a lot of driving to go get 2 birds...I may have to combine the hunt with something else...Camping out for the weekend seems like a good plan to increase the numbers of bird coming back home.
 

TheGDog

Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2018
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'Sprig... I absolutely LOVE how your dog has blood on his face in that pic! And is all happy and smiling looking.
 

SurfNHuntSD

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Oct 1, 2013
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Love bandtail hunting. The last decade or so a parasite has been decimating them, which gives them growths in their throat to where they're unable to swallow food (especially acorns) or water. Nasty stuff.. hope they can recover.

At our cabin in Big Bear there's been a crap ton of bandtails hanging around. National Forest land is walking distance away but not sure I can shoot there. Time to research the regs..
 

SteveHazard

Active Member
Oct 24, 2018
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What's the common tactic for hunting them? From what I saw of them over the weekend I would of had a chance passing shot as a flock flew over. Or as they come or leave from the trees. I would see them everyday I was up a my mother's Tahoe home (something next door they seem to like) summer and winter but NV doesn't have any sort of season for them.
 

SurfNHuntSD

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2013
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What's the common tactic for hunting them? From what I saw of them over the weekend I would of had a chance passing shot as a flock flew over. Or as they come or leave from the trees. I would see them everyday I was up a my mother's Tahoe home (something next door they seem to like) summer and winter but NV doesn't have any sort of season for them.
Similar to dove hunting but without the decoys and a lot more trees. First find out if they're in a given area (higher altitude pine and oak forests), get an idea of their flight paths, then it's all pass shooting from there. They'll appear out of nowhere and often give you no shooting opps as they zip between and behind the trees. Or they'll be 100 yards up. Fun stuff but such a crap shoot.