I started small game hunting at the age of 18 using just an air
I had been bitten by the rabbiting bug, and was not shooting enough to fulfil
people's requests for them, so I got myself a ferret and a dozen purse nets. He
was a tiny albino hob, he never had a name and worked like a dream.
I got him from a little back street pet shop, that had many exotic pets (they
even had a blue fox, and a bear), because I didn't know where else I could get one. He lived
in a large rabbit hutch, in my friend's shed, and we took him hunting almost
every Saturday for about 6 months, until he escaped and was never seen again, he
was most probably killed by a local terrier.
Over the next 7 years or so, I had albino ferrets left, right & centre, and
was producing 1 litter a year to working homes.
Then I met my wife, and the hunting was put on the back burner for a couple
of years, and I had no ferrets because I had no need for them.
Then I was considering getting myself another ferret, and had just about
persuaded my wife to let me have one, when we had an emaciated albino kit posted
through our letterbox about 11 o'clock at night. Luckily we had a letterbox
cage, and our dog (Staffie cross) didn't get hold of it. This upset my wife, as
you can imagine, and a resounding 'NO!' was the answer to me getting another
The poor ferret went to my brother's neighbour, who already had some ferrets
and was in the position to look after it.
2 years later (1998) I had the chance of getting a lovely sable jill 6 month
old kit, the wife said no, but I had explained that she was a lovely little
thing, nothing like the poor animal that was posted through our door.
The jill came to visit, and the wife was impressed with how cute she was, but
was still very unsure about us having it.
About a week later, I was allowed the jill kit, under the condition that my
wife didn't have to see her every time she stepped out of the back door.
So I got her, put the cage away from the back door, and the wife used to
watch through the window when I handled & played with her.
This ferret I named Bandit, she was the
first ferret I gave a name to, and within less than a month the wife was
handling her, getting her out of the cage herself, and even playing with her.
A local ferreter Chris Norcliffe, was looking
for a mousing cat, and came to our house for a kitten, we got to talking about
our different pets and I found out he had a hob called
Peter, I bred a litter of 10 from Bandit
& Peter, I kept 1 hob, Brutus and the smallest jill Bear and Chris took 1 hob as payment for stud.
Peter & Bandit's litter "5 week old ferret kits" Bear is 2nd in line from left.
I had the chance of a 3.5lb. hob for free, and so went to pick
him up, & ended up with his albino brother too. These were ex-show ferrets and
had won many rosettes, but the lad wasn't looking after them, so his mother made him
The large sable I named Smokey and I worked him as a liner (but without a line)
and also as a stud ferret. His albino brother was given to a friend. My wife
wouldn't touch Smokey because of his size, & his sabre-toothed-tiger like teeth
(his canine teeth were so long, they were visible all the time, almost level
with his jaw-line).
I had kept Brutus so I could
get him snipped (vasectomised), but when the time came, I didn't have the money,
so a friend, George Stevenson, bought him from me,
got him snipped and re-named him Fat Dude.
In the Summer of 2001, I was offered 3 ferrets, as the lad was
working long hours and didn't have the time to look after them properly, when I
went to collect them, 1 had already been sold, and so I got the remaining jill & hob. I
kept the jill and named her Titch and the
hob went to a friend from college. Her and her father also hunt, but she keeps
her 2 hobs as pets.
I have used Fat Dude to
bring my jills out of season, until I got the chance of a snipped hob from Sheila Crompton of Bolton Ferret Rescue
called Trevor, a large albino.
Peter died at the end of
October 2002, and Chris turned up at my door,
looking for a replacement working jill, and took Titch
on 12th November 2002.
At the end of February 2003, I acquired a jill to replace Titch, I have named her Jilly.
Trevor is considered as my
wife's, because she fell in love with him when Sheila
brought him to our house, & he fell asleep on her lap. He's a bundle of mischief
when left to roam the house, and he's a keen gardener. He was determined to
uproot our large Yucca, with his persistent digging in its bucket. He did
eventually kill the 6' Yucca.
I haven't bred my ferrets since March 2000, I use Trevor to bring my jills out
All my ferrets are workers, although
Trevor works at home, so my jills can be worked all year round.
I have permission to ferret for rabbits on numerous farms around
my home, and I also travel to other permission with them. I also have permission
on 2 local golf courses, and a couple of the surrounding farms of 1 of them, but
right next to it is a nature reserve so they will always have a problem. A local
farm where I had permission to hunt, was bought by a family that wanted to start
a plant nursery, so I enquired if I could still hunt the land, and was asked to
remove them en-mass. I took my ferrets, lurcher and air rifle one Saturday &
Sunday, and then again on the following Saturday & Sunday, and the landowner was
picking them off with his shotgun from the living room window whenever he saw
them in the garden. We amassed 49 rabbits over the 2 weekends, and I receive
phone calls when a couple are spotted around the farm.
I intended to show my ferrets in 2003, and hopefully promote
them as loveable pets as well as a valuable asset for the countryside when used
as a pest control method. Which is after all why they were originally brought to
the UK around 2000 years ago. But I ended up judging shows instead, so the
promoting could continue, but the rosettes had to wait.
At the beginning of July 2003, I was approached by one of my
decorating customers, about fostering ferrets that were brought to her daughter
(a veterinary nurse). With a big family discussion, including the kids, we
decided that we would be able to do it. So the wheels were set in motion.
bit more discussion with my online ferret community friends, the ball really got
rolling as we fostered 3 kits from South Nottingham Ferret Rescue.
At the end of August 2003, we went to
Mulberry Ferret Rescue, Wigan to collect some
ferrets. I brought 4 jills home with me to add
to our menagerie. Blossom, Chelsea, Amy
Lucy & Amy have now been re-homed via our
Blossom died on 30 May 2004,
she had developed bladder stones, had surgery to remove them, and never fully
On 24 June 2004, we went to Sid's Ferret
Welfare & Sanctuary, Buttershaw, Bradford and collected Charity a sandy mitt jill.
On 10 August 2004, I collected a 10 week old
polecat/sable jill kit from Sid's Ferret
Welfare & Sanctuary, Buttershaw, Bradford. I have named her Minx.
On 22 August 2004, I collected an 8 week old
polecat/sable jill kit from Bob & Jackie Bradbury, while at the Ibstock Country
Fair. I have named her Gem.