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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Joe's Permission

David and myself were very lucky to be invited to a little permission Joe has on the outskirts of Skipton. I was picked up from mine at 6 and reached Joes at around 6.30.
Once we had made the short drive to the land it was still dark, so we had a quick mooch round and decided that we would find a butty shop and waste a bit of time till we could see better. A few breakfast barms later and we were setting up at the first warren.

 As we looked down the hillside we could see rabbits running around and feeding near the warrens

The team were well up for a bit of bunny catching, and with the frost on the hills we could tell it was gonna be cold!

Some cracking warrens with a lot of walls to search, the rabbits round here feel a lot safer in the walls, but in this situation we use the small females and let them run between the joints. The tip tapping of the paws when a rabbit is about to bolt can't be described!!

This was the main warren on the far side of the above wall, you can see below how big it was!

We were setting a long net up all around the warren, any escapees from purse nets could still be caught then.

The holes went right under the stone walls and came out on the other side, at one point we thought we might have to dig under here!!
As you can see from this picture a lot of walkers frequent the pathway at the bottom of this hill, and with two of the warrens being right next to it, I imagined we were going to get a lot of grief, but not today, they were all really friendly and most stopped to chat, some even applauding as the rabbits hit the nets!
Our main problem came from a woman on the far bank of the river who permenently kept coming out and shouting abuse at us, telling me that the RSPCA had outlawed the use of ferrets in the catching of rabbits!!!!! Ho Hum, never mind!!

As with all good rabbiting forays a dig is usually expected, and today was to be no different, luckily we had nothing deeeper than four foot in the day, this one a mere two feet!......which was why I chose to dig mooha ha !!

And here was my prize, a nice fat rabbit with a nippy ferret at the other end!!

David had decided that all this rabbit catching was proving toooo much!!! and a lie down was in order.........oh wait a minute, he's moving stones under the fence!?!?!

Ahhhh, so he wasn't sleeping, he had located a ferret who had decided to opt for a take away!!

David was using his refined skills as a Jedi Master to calm this rabbit, he does get quite attached to them and I feel this may cause problems in the future........some people are just tooooo soppy when it comes to wild animals!!

 The end of the day shot, with 33 rabbits and a smile on my face I had had a cracking day, I think David had too but sometimes its hard to tell with that rugged look he portrays!!

Whilst gutting the rabbits we found a lot of fat encasing the offal, so I feel this winter hasn't finished yet, as Mother Nature has obviosly told the rabbits to build up ready for when its icy fingers take hold again!!

Thanks once again to Joe for letting us accompany him on his permission, and with a load of land signed over today when the farmer saw us doing what we do best, Joe has a nice little stock of rabbiting land!

Happy Hunting.

Monday, 3 January 2011

First session of 2011

First off a big Happy New Year to anyone who reads this, I hope this year has a much happier feel to it than the last one!!

My father has had his operation now and is hopefully on a full mend, so thats the first bit of good news, and secondly I finally made it out on a rabbiting foray, the first in 2 months!!

It was 5.45am when David turned up, I was fully dressed for a change and rearing to go,I think the ferrets would have walked there they were that highly strung!

We arrived around 8.30am and had a quick look round, the first thing we noticed was the strong smell of fox, the next thing we saw was the said fox making a run for cover.....what I would have done for my shotgun at that point!!!!

The first warren is all around this tree, with the rabbits usually hiding under the roots of it.....lets hope we don't end up with a dig in these roots!!

A lovely sunset with the castle in the background, the day got steadily colder as it went on

The second warren is in the middle of a field, there seems to be an area where boulders and rocks have been dropped and left, the nettles and thistles have flourished in this area where the tractor can't disturb.....and so have the rabbits!!

David praying that what his ferret finder had picked up wasn't going to result in a dig

His prayers hadn't been answerred and a 3 foot dig commenced, but look on the bright side, we rescued the ferret and the rabbit was holed up in the stop end!

Our next warren and another dig, the smell of fox was all around every warren we visited, the snow had obviously kept  the fox hungry and with his scent the rabbits weren't for bolting. Every rabbit was a dig nearly, thankfully 4 foot was our deepest.

This one producing a nice fat rabbit, that's gonna make a fine stew very soon ;-)

This stretch has 3 warrens side by side, all seperate and all showing fresh scrapings and droppings. The rabbits were actie, they just didn't seem to be at home!

Then all went quiet and the ferrets stopped popping there heads up, ferret finder out and 2 ferrets, one either side of the tube, had managed to keep a rabbit in one another dig ensued!!

 End of Day shot with seven rabbits, not the amount we were expecting but a cracking return to the sport.
Remember that its not about the catching, the craik David and myself had that day will be remembered for a long time, the rabbits were just a bonus to a fantastic day, as can be seen by the time we had finished and cleaned our boots it was getting dark! 

We popped to see the landowner to let him know we were off, we were introduced to another rabbit catcher, this one doesn't need a shovel he told us!!

Thanks to Dave for a fantastic start to 2011, I hope that the next session isn't too far fact what are you up to this weekend mate?!?!?

Happy Hunting.