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Sunday, 14 September 2014

A new permission.......And its lifting!!

After a long time away from our rabbiting permissions, Dave and myself finally got out and knocking. We tried a couple of farms further up from where we already have permission, both were keen to get rid of as many rabbits as was possible.

The land is quite hilly, and there are features that will at times make this a very difficult area to control. Last night was a calm evening and was to stay dry, so I armed myself with my air rifle, and Dave gave the long nets a try.

We had a good walk round when we got there, finding out were the concentrations of rabbits were, then taking note were we could hold up for a time and try and ambush them. We found our spots and went our different ways. I chose a small hill which would give me a good view of two woods which surround one of the fields. These woods also contain the warrens were the rabbits are at their most secure, we can't obtain the permission on there just yet.

As can be seen, if I keep low here the rabbits can be almost on top of me before they relies I'm there! And with there being no wind, scent wasn't a big problem.
After a good few hours sat here I'd got a good tally going, 5 of the rabbits I had shot fell back into the woods, these had to be left for the evenings carnivores, as we under no circumstances can enter these fenced off areas.

This was the right hand side of the wood, in the end I placed 2 air rifles out as the light lowered to save on movement noise when turning from side to side

Dave had sat behind a wall and had kept perfectly still, even though he was being eaten alive with the local midge population, after a couple of hours the rabbits had regained their confidence and had started leaping over the wall and returning to eating the grass. After a short time, they made their way out further into the field, and with this Dave set the net out, having rushed out today, he had chosen the quickset, which being noisier than traditional had a detrimental effect on numbers of rabbits caught. 100 yards of net walked out and a long walk through the fields resulted in only a couple of rabbits being seen and none in the net. on the plus side a few ran up the hill to were I was waiting!

We then had a wander round with the lamp and the air rifle, we use the Deben lithium battery and a Light Force lamp, cracking stuff when a full night of power is needed, but a few seasons have taken their toll and as we were lambing Dave noticed the connection heating up. The wire had come loose from its solder and was creating a short.
With this we packed up, knowing that we really should have been better prepared, I'm spending today checking batteries and sorting nets, we don't want to be caught short again in the future.

After a great evening our total tally was 6 in the bag, 7 left to the foxes and a rake more that will be on the cards for next time.

Happy Hunting.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Its Been A Long Time Coming, But I'm So Glad It Did!!

 The day started cold and windy, very windy, but at least it wasn't raining....YET!!
We had a few new recruits to try out, last years Kits, so we headed for a few smaller warrens.

We had met another friend who wanted to try his dog out alongside ferrets, it was a very quick dog, but an ankle problem was slowing him down, and we decided to net the holes so as not to cause the dog further discomfort

It wouldn't be a day out ferreting without a dig, and on a day as cold as today it was a welcome sidetrack.
Only three foot down but a nice way to warm up, we were onto five rabbits now and one of Daves creations came in very handy for carrying the rabbits, its a plaited twine rabbit carrier, if anyone would like one they can leave a message on here and i'll let you know colour availability

This wall section never fails to produce a few rabbits, it has holes both sides of the wall and a few bolt holes into the wall!
When you enter the ferrets it really is a case of watching everywhere, you just don't know when or where a rabbit will exit from

I decided to use one of my young Jills and its Mother, putting a collar on for the first time can be quite traumatic, a ferret that doesn't nip can become a whole different animal whilst trying to fasten this to it. As my finger found out. Its still sore now as I type this ha ha

With the collar on, both were entered into the same hole, in a hope that one will lead and the other follow, the young Jill was wary at first but soon entered her first warren and ran round it like a seasoned pro.
We had five rabbits from here and I was most impressed by her first outing.

We moved further down the hill and decided this would be the last warren as the wind and rain were now getting worse, it was becoming hard to stand in the same spot!
Buzzing from her last catch I entered my young Jill and Dave entered one of his, both ferrets did the business and.......

........Two more rabbits were in the bag. Thankfully, and we don't say this a lot, it had come to an end, we were both cold and soaked, but happy that our young workers had taken to their new roles with vigour.

Thirteen overall, but with one given to a friend, for dog food, we had Twelve remaining.
Hole dug and rabbits gutted, we went home and skinned them ready for their use in the catering world. Its good to know that someone somewhere is enjoying one of natures finest meats.

Until next time, Happy Hunting

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Winter is a coming.........

We had been given a new permission right next to one of the farms we had done a few weeks previous, due to work commitments neither Dave or myself had had time to walk round and check were the rabbits were living.
 It was a very cold Saturday morning, 0° the car was registering, as we got out the Ranger our faces felt the chill of the air starting to bite.

With this cold front came dry weather though, possibility of sunshine to warm us up whilst looking round this new permission. The sun was rising, but the mist was not for going away.
As we looked round we found a wall that had quite a few holes in the bottom of it, rabbit faeces was scattered around with the odd bit of fur stuck to the wall were the rabbit had scuffed against when entering. On one side we laid a longnet, as the holes were only in the walls.........

.........and on the other we placed a longnet and also a handful of purse nets on the holes that had been made in the stony ground.

It was the females who would be used for this job, they are much smaller than males and are better suited for the tight gaps that are present within dry stone walling, we never force them into the wall, instead we lay them at it and let them use their noses, if theres a rabbit in there they will certainly find it!

With only 1 rabbit in the wall we follow one of the newly formed roadways down to another end of the land, we saw a few holes on the edge of the road but decided that they had not started using these yet.
You've heard the saying 'All the gear and no idea' well we had no idea were these rabbits were hiding!! Many times we had watched from higher up the hill, another farm we work, and watched the rabbits always heading downhill in this direction, but where did they go to once here. We decided to leave this area till we had done a spot of watching, and walking round without all the gear weighing us down.

So back up the hill to our usual farm

We found some new scattered holes, usually just a handful of nets and one ferret needed to check if anyone was home......
.........and as can be seen from this photo, as I clicked the camera a rabbit exited straight into a waiting purse net, Lee was quick off the mark to cover the hole with his foot whilst the new net was laid over it, you can see here we had nets waiting next to the holes, we sometimes do this if we have heard a lot of movement below ground, it saves on lost rabbits, it also means we can get away with not setting up a long net.

This wall has produced many times for us before, one hole in the foreground which leads into the wall and out the other side of it, but on this occassion we were left with our cold hands firmly stuck in our pockets!

A small warren which is getting bigger every time we visit gave us another chance to stand a chat, rabbits over here are getting harder to find, even though we can see lots running round when we first get there, they truly are the masters of evading us.

One mound that usually gives us a rabbit or two, we circle it with the longnet as the holes are many, sometimes 3 together that would be impossible to purse well enough for the nets to work 100%. Yes there may be a case of hole hopping but that is par for the course.

Here David is removing a rabbit from the net, I love it when a plan comes together!!

This warren has been void of rabbits the last few times we have ventured up here........

 .........but with fresh scrapings of earth here and there it would be rude not to give it a go!
Thankfully it a gave us another rabbit on the score sheet.

This metal drinking tank has produced in the past, but it was not to do the same again today!

 Even the 'Old Faithfull' fallen wall failed to produce for us today

We weren't giving up all hope yet though, and with one last warren to do before the warmth of the vehicle, we laid the purse nets and set the trap!

Lee was soon emptying a net, with Dave shouting out reassuring comments like 'Hurry up i'm fecking freezing' and the likes.
Not our best day by a long shot, but on a cold morning, 6 rabbits in the bag meant our ferrets would eat like kings tonight, and I know I would certainly be running a hot bath when I got home, not as cold as when it snows, but that ice chilled wind certainly gets into your bones!

Possibly a change in venues next week, lets see what phone calls come in this week.

Happy Hunting.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A change of scenery

 Todays job was on an equestrian farm, lots of rabbits were creating areas of instability.
The horses were in danger of leg breaks through falling into rabbit holes

 Large amounts of long nets had to be used due to the huge warrens

 Lee dispatching one of the rabbits

Not a huge amount from each burrow, what we found here was the ammount of rabbits seen entering the burrows was much more than what could be taken out in the small time available. These burrows were very deep, sometimes going off the 16foot scale of the Deben Ferret Finder.

here we have a fenceline warren, it only had 3 holes on Lee's side, but as can be seen on the long netted side, its a whole different story!!
Not a huge warren but a large ammount of holes in a small area.

 Lee's nets are not easily lost!! I think possibly alongside the great wall of China, these are possibly the only other man made item that can be seen from the moon!!

One end of the warren purse netted with a large amount of vibrant coloured nets, apologies to half of Yorkshire who lost there television signal due to  the reflection from these nets!!

Now this is a long warren, the red coloured net is 100 yards long, and it stretches the whole way down, with a few 10 & 25 yard nets criss-crossed in between to act as breakers.
If we'd have had a full team today*, we could have easily used up to 400 yards of long net and aroung 150 purse nets, that is the extent of this warren.

*see end of this post for 1 missing rabbiter!

 The bushes are great cover, and the amount of holes between each one is unbelievable!

After missing a rabbit through a hole we had missed, Lee lays another purse net

This is the far end of the warren, a large area of undergrowth made for a hectic hour with the ferrets, due to the short period of light at the moment, we gave ourselves about 2 hours to each warren, this included laying nets, another hour was taken gutting and burrying at the end.

 2 quickly caught and dispatched rabbits, note how my longnet has a very baggy bottom (ahem!!) this is so that we get a good cover over varying land lie.

A nasty bramble bush gave me a few scratches during the day!

The nettles still havent died back yet, in the midst of winter we will revisit this patch and hopefully with a full team take a few more rabbits out. Of course this was where the majority of the rabbits could be found, getting at them was a different story, I maybe need a scythe next time!

End of day shot, 21 rabbits, a nice result and a very pleased owner, rabbit pies promised to him as a thankyou for the job, these are very fat, healthy rabbits with a large fat deposit inside, we may be in for a bad winter.......again!!!

 And just a few final shots to prove that I dont just stand behind a camera!

The soil was lovely to dig here, just sandy soil for around 3 feet........

.........with a rabbit at the bottom!

Same here too, a fantastic day out, with great weather for the time of year. a good catch of rabbits with only one lost, a great result for a short day.

And as a final note, i'd just like to congratulate one of our rabbiters, David, or Bountyhunter as he is known, is the proud Father to his second boy Tommy Lucas who was born on the 14th November at 9.30pm, he weighed in at a grand 9lb 10oz. It was strange not having you there yesterday Dave, but I know from experience, you never get these times back, enjoy some baby time........and i'll let you know when the next outing is booked!!

Thanks also to Lee for allowing me to help him on some cracking land, lets hope theres a next time.

Happy Hunting.