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!"
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.
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.
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
I got within 15
yards, and the Nettles moved, I could now see the rabbit easily, and took my
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.
slowly raised the rifle, and scoped her.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
his shoulder, and he started jumping around. He stopped, I re-cocked and took
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
lunged forward, and lay on the ground kicking. I waited for him to lay still,
then took another shot to make sure.
body jolted at the force of the pellet hitting him, but there was no other
I retrieved the 2
rabbits, and set off home at 4:00pm with my bag of 8 rabbits.