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I had a spare couple of hours in the afternoon, so asked Dave next-door (www.ukferreter.co.uk) if he fancied grabbing his rifle & taking a quick outing before we had to get our kids from school. His face lit up, and he quickly grabbed the old BSA Mercury.

 

We set off at 1:30pm, and after a 5 minute drive we arrived at a small copse that I've hunted for years.

 

We entered the copse and started looking for Grey Squirrels, Woodpigeons, Collared Doves, Magpies, Crows & Rooks, which we knew frequented the bit of woodland.

 

After about 5 minutes, Dave froze, he slowly raised the rifle and I watched where he was aiming. A squirrel was on the side of a tree about 30 yards in front of us, and was twitching its tail vigorously.

 

I raised my rifle too, and Dave said "You take it!" I could see all of the squirrel except its head (which was obscured by the tree trunk). I hurried the shot as I could see the squirrel was agitated. Unfortunately, my haste caused me to miss, and the pellet hit the tree trunk.

 

The squirrel made a run for it, and bounced along the floor for around 15 yards, before climbing a tree with Dave & I in pursuit.

 

We spent nearly 10 minutes searching the tree, and the ones next to it, but didn't spot the squirrel. So we carried on our way.

 

We were watching for our quarry, when Dave stopped again, a Fern stem was acting completely different to the rest, and a Wren flew from it.

 

I glanced into the trees nearby, and saw what looked like a weird knot on a branch, about 20 yards away.

 

"Is it a knot, or not?" I asked myself, so checked with my scope. It certainly looked like a knot at 6x magnification, but hang on, that's a squirrel shape next to it. Then I noticed the 'knot' was its tail curled in a circle. A quick check of my target, and I gently squeezed the trigger.

 

The pellet raced between the branches, and hit home...

The squirrel fell from its perch and landed with a soft thump on the undergrowth. Dave was stood about 10 feet from me and asked "What was that?"

"A squirrel!" I replied, and he was shocked, as he never saw it or heard the shot. I collected my bag, and noticed it was a female, but what was most strange about this female, was she was producing milk in mid October.

 

We carried on our walk, and I spotted a Magpie sat in an old Sycamore tree, I raised the rifle and...

The Magpie fell straight from his perch and landed in the Brambles below. Dave asked again "What was that?" "A Magpie! He was sat in that tree, but he ain't no more!" and I smiled. He couldn't believe my luck, and he went to collect it.

 

A couple of minutes later we were looking around some old nests for squirrels, 1 was a Magpie's, and 1 was a Woodpigeon's, but neither were in use now.

 

Suddenly Dave froze, and started stuttering, F... F... F... FOX! he called out. Sure enough a huge dog fox walked passed us, about 8 yards away, without a care in the world. We both stood, frozen to the spot, as we watched him casually walk passed us. He watched us as he went, but didn't bolt. He went behind a huge Bilberry patch and disappeared without a trace. I checked my watch, and noted the time, it was 2:00pm, so Dave is going to give it a couple of days, then try find him again.

 

We started walking back the way we'd come, and were watching for the 1st squirrel as we passed the area, but didn't see anything.

 

We carried on through the copse, and were searching for other quarry, when I spotted a squirrel sat in a large Sycamore about 35 yards away, I raised my rifle, and once more gently squeezed the trigger.

He fell from his branch and landed in the Brambles below.

"What was that?" said Dave.

"Another squirrel!" I replied.

"I didn't even see it! What d'you have for breakfast? Shreddies? Cos I gonna have some tomorrow if you did!" he commented.

We both laughed, and I said "I'm a right Daniel Boone today!"

 

On checking the squirrel, he had a tiny red spot right behind his shoulder, and the spot of blood didn't get any bigger.

I'd shot him straight through the heart, and killed him before he had time to bleed.

 

We had a scout round the rest of the copse, saw 5 Collared Doves, but didn't get chance of a shot.

 

We got back to the car, and I drove us home the short journey, Dave looked at his watch, it was 2:50pm, we had 10 minutes left before the kids had to be collected from school.

Later on, I phoned Lawrence, a local taxidermist, & left a message on his answer phone saying I had 2 rabbits, 1 Crow, 1 Magpie & 1 squirrel waiting for him. I soon got a call back, and he came to collect my bag in the evening.

The bag (11/10/04)

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