Saturday, 13 March 2010


It has been a while since my last post  but i have been out once or twice a week trying to get something together.We have still been clearing squirrels but it has got really hard now.The main reason because we have shot so many,but what is left in the woods are sitting tight or the females are nesting up with young.
Squirrels have two breeding seasons, one late winter - early spring and one late summer, so when you find woods with squirrels running everywhere one month you will find that you dont see many until the kits come out the month after that, if it falls in these times of the year.The best time to find them out then will be first light as the female will be feeding for milk production but will be holed up for the rest of the day with the kits.
I try not to shoot them if i dont have too while they have kits but the main shoots i have with woods are the ones where i need to shoot all year round.I will be patroling these woods regular for now until the leaves open out and make it to hard to see them,then it will be back to rabbit control.
While i was out on my local shoot i noticed a few pigeons sitting in a big oak,they are using it for a resting place in between feeding.There is no way you can get to them without being seen so the next day i got there while they were feeding and set up a quick hide with some dried bracken.It was nice to just sit there and wait for a few shots,  the sun was out ,it was nice and warm and i had a good view of a few fields that i could watch for any rabbit activity for future shoots.
Shooting pigeons with an air rifle is one of the hardest ways to get them in my opinion,they have eyes like a hawk and at the slightest of movement they scatter.I have sat there sometimes going through the motions of picking the gun up and sliping the silencer through the hole that i make  so when one comes in i am like a well oiled stealth machine,well i try to be but it dont always work,theres always one that takes off with a loud clap just to let you know your slipping and to get your act together.
On this occasion i was in the groove,i didnt get the bag i was hoping for but i did manage to get what landed.It was a slow couple of hours but three came in and three didn`t leave.While i was walking back to the car i noticed 100+ pigeons on some other trees the far side of the ground so i was in the wrong place for a big bag anyway.

Another day i went for a walk on another peice of ground i have local to me.I had walked round for about two hours and seen nothing,It was getting a little late so i decided to call it quits and was in for my first blank for aslong as i could remember.I decided to walk back across some fields that have never produced anything for aslong as i have had the ground and it was the quickest route back to the car,but near one of the gates there stood the lonely figure of a rabbit.I got on all fours and crawled 40 yards to get within distance and take a shot,i looked up and there he was still sitting there so i got steady and took the shot.As i walked over to him a rabbit ran from where i had shot that one,i was so sure i had got him and once i got closer i was greeted by the rabbit i had shot at stone dead.So now i had seen two in the badlands so could things be looking up for  future walkabouts.As i got near the car i had a magpie that was feeding on the horse poo pile aswell so that made it a better end to the day.Blank averted i set off home.

Well friday saw me and dad back on the squirrel trail and as there was a few pigeons about we hoped we could have a couple of those aswell.We had been through two woods and not even had sight of anything,then i noticed dad pick his gun up and bang one squirrel hit the deck.

That seemed to wake him up as he took a pigeon two minutes later just as i was getting ready to take a picture.I walked the other wood back and forth for ages untill i saw one tight against a branch,it was a nice clear shot and took him out.

It took another 15 minutes to find another one,it ran across to another tree so this time i let dad have his chance as he had his shotgun and he dispatched it nice and clean.

 There wasn`t nothing showing now so we decided to drive to another wood and see what we could get in the last hour there.As it was getting on i decided to stay in one place at the far end of the wood and wait for any pigeons coming in and dad stayed near the car at the top end.I hadn`t waited long when a few pigeons dropped in the trees and i managed to take one out.The next 15 minutes proved worth the move as i had two squirrels chasing each other up a tree covered in ivy.I waited patiently for one to give me a shot and made no mistake sending it to the floor.Its mate had shot right to the top of the tree and it took me a few minutes but i found it in the scope looking over a branch,it must have been wondering what had happened to its mate as it had no idea i was there.I leant against the tree again and sent another pellet skywards and he joined his mate on the wood floor aswell.As i went out to pick those two up another shot up a tree about 20 yards from me, i stood as still as i could and as he neared the top of the tree he stopped to look back,that was all the time i needed and he too came down to earth with a sore head.I decided to walk back and see how dad had got on when i saw another squirrel feeding under one of the bins,it was only 30 yards away so i rested on a tree took aim and missed.I couldn`t beleve it,the easiest shot and i fluffed it.

Well luckily , as i was about to carry on a pigeon dropped in the tree right above me,so i put the cross under its chin and knocked him of his perch.

When i got back to dad he had not had as much luck as me,he had struggled to get anything in range and had just  the one shot at a crow which he took well and dropped him stone dead.

While i was shooting yesterday i had a call from one of the gamekeepers that i beat for , for the last two weeks they have been finding sheep running free and cows everywhere they shouldn`t be.Then this week he had been out foxing and noticed a lamp shining across a field.He had watched from a distance with his foxing partner through nightvision scopes and there was a group of lads with running dogs coursing hares.They had gone to confront them and  found them to be a group of travellers.They got the usuall verbal so called the police.Now this is where the law really does my head in.The police found the group about half a mile away,still on the estate but walking on a footpath , at 3am. The report the gamekeeper got was that they were taking the dogs for a walk and as they found them on a footpath there was nothing they could do.How obvious has it got to be that they were coursing the hares,so today we had a group of us and had to do a hare cull.
Now i like to see some hares about and to have to shoot them because someone thinks they can go round and do what they like on someone else`s land really turns my stomach,but we went and shot a good number and hopefully the travelers wont think its worth coming back for the odd one.