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Some Of My 2006

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I took my air rifle and arrived at 3:00pm, I looked around the 1st couple of fields, and saw no movements of rabbits. This was a bit disheartening at 1st. As I looked down the valley, I saw the reason, 2 men & a young lad were wandering around with a pair of shotguns and a spaniel, looking for rabbits to shoot.

 

As I approached, one called to me "Jim said you might be down!"

I asked how they were doing, and as we had a brief chat, movement was spotted in the Brambles. The spaniel was sent in, and out came the rabbit. It headed along the field boundary, was shot and it tumbled to a halt. The spaniel was sent to retrieve it, as I walked onto the neighbour's farm.

 

I headed up the hillside, and left the shot gunners to wander the bottom of the land.

In the 2nd field 2 rabbits were sat out, as plain as day. I crouched a bit, and made my way to the wall, about 30 yards from them. I was just reaching the wall, when the sound of a shotgun spooked them. They set off up the field, 1 stopped in a reed bed, and the other disappeared over the horizon.

 

I entered the field and followed the rabbit to the reed bed.

As I reached the reeds, I spotted a rabbit grazing about 20 yards across the field. Was it a rabbit? Was it a stone? I slowly raised the rifle & scoped it. At 6x magnification, it was definitely a rabbit.

It didn't move, I re-cocked the rifle, & scoped it again, just in time to see it roll onto its side, with a single kick of a hind leg, it lay dead.

 

As I approached to collect it, a rabbit sat bolt upright in the next field approx. 45 yards away. I side-stepped so I was hidden by a small Hawthorn bush, and made my way a bit closer. I raised the rifle, and side-stepped from behind the bush, to see the rabbit still upright & side-on to me. I sighted on his chest, and took my shot.

The rabbit set off across the field at top speed, jumped the broken wall, and headed towards the warren about 300 yards away. It stopped about 150 yards from me, and fell on to its side. Then started leaping around, ran in a circle, then jumped around a bit more, before collapsing and laying dead.

 

I went back & collected rabbit #1, then went back to the reed bed.

 

2 rabbits were sat just to the side of the reeds, 1 bolted, went under a large bramble patch and into the dry stone wall. The other ran the opposite direction, and hid behind a small Nettle patch. I cautiously approached, with my rifle ready, watching for any movement.

 

I got within 15 yards, and the Nettles moved, I could now see the rabbit easily, and took my shot.

The rabbit leapt from behind the Nettles and was dead before it hit the ground.

 

I collected rabbit #3, then headed to collect rabbit #2. His chest area was badly swollen & jelly-like to the touch (when I dressed the rabbit at home later, I found a huge blood clot, my pellet had gone straight through the rabbit's shoulder and into the chest cavity, causing massive blood loss, which was trapped under the skin).

 

I headed towards the warren, where a brown & white rabbit (I'd been asked not to shoot the 2 brown & whites, as the farmer liked to use them to keep an eye on his rabbit numbers & activities) was sat at a bury entrance watching me. I slinked into position 25 yards away, and sat with my back to the wall, I could just see the top half of the rabbit's head from my position.

 

After about 10 minutes, the brown & white was still sat outside the bury, and a wild came out to join him, and sat almost touching him.

I slowly raised the rifle, and scoped her.

She slumped, and the brown & white stayed put. I slid the bolt back, and re-cocked the rifle, I was tempted to take a shot on the 'forbidden' rabbit, but didn't.

 

I slid down the grassed slope, and made my way behind the bury, staying out of sight of the 'forbidden' rabbit. As I went over the rise, I spotted a rabbit sat among the small Thistles about 30 yards down the banking. I raised the rifle & placed my scope's post on the rabbit's head.

He set off running for the boundary wall, but collapsed after a yard or so, and lay on his side, kicking. I scoped him again, and he stopped kicking after a couple of seconds.

 

The sound of the pellet hitting his head, made a loud and the 'forbidden' disappeared into the bury, and I saw 3 more rabbits run for cover. I headed down the bank and collected #5, then went to the bury and picked up #4.

 

My poacher's pocket in the back of my camouflage jacket was quite heavy with 3 full-grown rabbits in it, so I lay the 2 I'd just collected, by a Hawthorn tree, and made my way towards the farmhouse.

 

I checked the reeds that led to the house, and spooked a rabbit that high-tailed it across the field, over the boundary wall and disappeared into the undergrowth (I don't shoot at running rabbits with an air rifle, I have tried it in the past, and out of around 20 rabbits only got 1, it was more luck than anything else).

 

I checked around the huge Nettle patch by the farmhouse, and a rabbit dived for cover as I approached, so I sat and rolled myself a cigarette while I waited for the rabbits to reappear.

There was a very gentle breeze blowing in my face as I looked towards the bury, and I saw the 'forbidden' re-emerge.

 

Halfway up the field, a large buck rabbit appeared from the reeds, and sat watching me for a moment before starting to feed.

I snuck up the field about 10 yards, and scoped the buck rabbit sat about 45 yards away and in full view. I aimed just above his shoulder and squeezed the trigger, the pellet raced towards my target.

It hit his shoulder, and he started jumping around. He stopped, I re-cocked and took another shot.

Another chest shot! Again he started jumping around, so I re-cocked again.

 

The rabbit lay on his side, with his head raised, he was watching me. I shot again, and hit my target again. He started crawling towards the bury, and stopped after about 2 yards.

I tried to re-cock, but the bolt wouldn't return, so I put another magazine in, and took another shot. In all the commotion of having to change the magazine, I'd forgotten to aim high, and when I aimed for his chest, I hit his gut with a loud SLAP!

The rabbit jumped up and set off running up the field. He stopped after 20 yards and lay on his side, again with his head raised watching me.

 

I set off towards him, got about 10 yards, re-cocked and took another shot.

Another chest shot (I prefer headshots, but because of the range, I wanted a larger target, so aimed for the chest).

 

Again he set off towards the bury, he got right outside the entrance, and stopped, he sat up as if nothing was wrong with him, and watched as I crept within 40 yards of him.

I stopped and raised the rifle, he sank low where he sat, with his ears pinned back, and I took a headshot. The pellet raced through the air, and hit him just under his right eye, and exited via his left ear. He didn't get up this time, so I went to collect him and then the 2 by the Hawthorn tree.

 

I pulled the 3 rabbits from my poacher's pocket, and hocked all 6 on the ground, and threaded them onto a length of thick chord I carry with a shoulder pad attached.

(Hocking is when you slit 1 hind leg just above the knee and pass the other foot through the slit. It makes it easier to carry them on a chord or stick, or hang them on a fence or tree branch).

I hung the chord with 6 rabbits on it around my neck and passed 1 arm through it, then set off back across the fields.

 

I spotted a couple of rabbits sat in the open, about 90 yards away, but they saw me & bolted long before I could get within range. As I headed back towards the place I'd got rabbit #1, I saw a couple more, but they were also too wary.

 

I neared the large bramble patch, and checked a large nettle patch on the boundary. A rabbit dived into the patch, and as I waded through it ran down the hillside and disappeared in the distance.

 

Suddenly a large hairy face appeared over the wall, then a large body with a long bushy tail, and it silently slinked into the nettle patch about 6 yards in front of me. The nettled barely moved as the predator crept through them. Then with a sudden burst of speed it ran from the Nettles, across the field, and jumped the wall to the next-door neighbour's garden. The cat was obviously out for a hunt too, but I'd spoiled his fun.

 

I walked down the fields, and used the gate that linked back to Jim's land. The shotguns had gone, and I found 5 rabbits sat in the main feeding area.

 

I crept to the wall, and slowly peered over with my rifle ready.

The young doe fell over and lay kicking. She let out a faint squeal, gargled, and became silent. I left her where she lay and waited for the other rabbits to return.

 

Within 30 seconds, 2 rabbits were back to feed. I scoped the nearest, a huge buck sat about 25 yards out, and slowly squeezed the trigger as he sat watching for danger.

He lunged forward, and lay on the ground kicking. I waited for him to lay still, then took another shot to make sure.

His body jolted at the force of the pellet hitting him, but there was no other movement.

 

I retrieved the 2 rabbits, and set off home at 4:00pm with my bag of 8 rabbits.

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