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General > A Winters Tale of Rabbiting from the Airgunners
A Winters Tale of Rabbiting from the Airgunners
By John Robson

Sunday morning arrives again and our opportunity to visit our favourite spot is here again. We arrive and park the vehicle off the site and quietly put on the camouflage and footwear. Reach for the guns, ferrets and purse nets and set off to see what the day ahead would bring. Getting the Ferrets ready

 

We spot 2 rabbits on the hillside about 40 metres away but they were on the move away from us as we reached for the guns. The 1st sett and one of our favourites, we netted it up quickly leaving it for approx. 10 minutes whilst we walked up the brash and back. On return we put the small Jill into the front of the set and heard some movement within a minute or 2. The bolt hole was the top hole and as it happened rabbit No.1 was at the exit but disappeared back down into the sett a second later. After approx 10 minutes the Jill reappeared and we tried the side entrance but again no bolt. This time we tried the most recently dug hole at the back of the sett and within 2 minutes No. 1 was in the net , a large buck. After taking another from the same sett we moved on as we intended on covering a lot of ground that day.

 

Making our way up the brash we spread out with 1 against the wall, 1 on the brash and I was tight to the tree line. The weather was fair but cold with some dark clouds in the distance. There was little movement apart from a Robin giving the “Red Alert” signal and 2 hen Pheasants up ahead tight to the wall who took flight as we approached.

 

We checked the sett we call “The banker” and noticed that the holes were little used but close by were some new diggings, which would in time be a the new sett. The next spot was the “big sett” which was 3 separate setts but we tended to net it up all at once and work both ferrets from top to bottom. Nothing in the top ? The middle sett showed a lot of promise with fresh diggings and plenty of droppings. Ten minutes later and we had a bolt that slipped the net and escaped to safety up the bank ! Then in the next 20 mins we got the third of the day “A good  doe”. The bottom of the sett gave us little movement and after 20 mins we moved on. The next move is away from the brash at the west side of the land and head off into the tree’s to do a little shooting with the airguns. Young Shots out rabbiting with the Air RifleWe have a variety of guns – a BSA Lightning carbine with a silencer fitted, a Cometa 400 and a Weirauch 95 all of which are .22 calibre.

 

 

We lightened the load, dropping off the ferrets and quarry and moved on. 1st action was within seconds, a wood pigeon right on the tree line. I lifted the gun and fired only to see it take flight as I pulled the trigger – “Another day for the Woody”.

 

The next movement is to walk up the inside of the tree line checking for new setts and keeping an eye on the wildlife across the brash. As we approached the top of the sight we put up our 1st woodcock of the day.

 

Across the brash we point out 2 new setts right on the line of the stream and check them out for a visit later that day or the next visit. Two cock Pheasants take to the air and float over the horizon along the tree line. The buzzard is hovering over the moor and looks small from a distance but is moving closer on the wind. We move on through the tree line and get settled in the cover opposite a clearing that is good for a shot or 2 at the feeding rabbits and the odd Magpie but no joy today, no rabbits and the only Jay was in the distance.

 

Next was the walk down the bank towards the wall where we spread out in the tree line, again not a lot of movement. Time for a chocolate bar and a drink of water. We then checked on what we call “The Big Sett” although we did not intend on ferreting it today. Moving on to the squirrel dray we fired but to no avail, they must have been out feeding or heard our approach.

 

We had covered a lot of ground and had 3 rabbits in the bag at the moment when in that instant 2 rabbits ran from the grass verge up the bank on the left directly opposite us. My son blew the squirrel squeaker (A tactic we have tried in the past which gets them to stop and stand to attention) One stopped and I hit it 1st time with the Cometa, dispatching it with a second.

 

We then covered the bottom of the land checking for new setts and positions for catching the pigeon flight back to the land at dusk. At this moment the ducks were making a lot of noise on the pond and in the distance we could hear the engine of the Gamekeepers vehicle – “feeding time for the ducks and pheasants”.

 

This day brought us close to the buzzards and myself and my son are still debating whether we had spotted a pair of Hen Harriers ?

 

Quite a few Field Fares are on the land at the moment in the winter months and they are right across the terrain. Late in the day we tried again with the ferrets in the “Bottom Sett” but without any joy we started the return run to the brash and got laid up awaiting the rabbits return from the field adjacent to the cover of the trees and the flight of the pigeons. With very little opportunity to be had we called it a day after dusk and settled for a pint at the local pub in front of the fire ! Another successful day.

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