Friday, 7 January 2011


Imagine sitting amongst the heather and grasses half way up a mountain. Imagine Curlews and
Oyster Catchers calling all around you,there is no other noise apart from the smack of a pellet striking a rabbit sending it tumbling down the hillside. Sound to good to be true? but it is exactly
what I experienced on my latest trip with some of the lads from
We had organised to meet some time Friday afternoon at a service station north of Blackpool. From
there we set off into the hills following the lead car to what could only be described as ' hunters
We drove for about an hour when we pulled up to our location. The stone cottage that we had taken
over from one of the estates gamekeepers was beautiful,a perfect place to stay in an already perfect
shoot location. We all rushed about getting gear ready as soon as possible anxious not to waste any
of the late afternoon sun we had left.

Allan our guide has shot this ground many times before,he knows it like the back of his hand so we
knew there be no time wasted shooting fields that were thin of rabbits.
Allan's plan of attack was to split up and have a walk around your selected location,we were told to
be alert as a rabbit could show at any time,so with these words of wisdom off we went.
It did not take me long to find a small warren that was littered with young rabbits,I was told to leave
the small ones for future pest control sessions in the year and as this was a teaser for us we would
only shoot adult rabbits. I decided to hide in the long grass thirty yards from the warren,it never
takes long for rabbits to show if the young are out and as we only had a couple of hours daylight left
I thought this would be the best way to open my account.
It had been a while now and I was thinking maybe I had made a mistake,there were at least twenty
young ones out and still no adults,but we all know if you move then two minutes later they will
come out , so I stayed in place and five minutes later got my first chance. I had positioned myself
with the wind blowing straight at me,it had got very blustery now but from here I had no worries
about compensating for that, I put the cross hairs right behind its eye and gently squeezed the
trigger. The smack from the pellet hitting its mark sent a few of the young rabbits bolting for cover
but plenty had stayed where they were, I left the shot rabbit where it fell and decided to sit it out and
see if I could get a few more before it was time to meet up.

The next hour seemed slow, I think I had sat over the biggest gathering of young rabbits anywhere
on the hills,I had managed three more rabbits and all fell stone dead as the .177 mossies hit their
mark every time.
It was getting on now so I decided to head back and see how Allan , Paul and Jaz had got on.
Whilst walking back I noticed a rabbit sitting in a small clearing amongst the grass, it was no more
than 25 yards so I knelt down and steadied myself,just as I was about to pull the trigger a gust of
wind blew up and I missed, it was one of those moments that you know your going to miss but you
cant stop yourself from pulling the trigger,you've gone through the motions and you 're going to pull
the trigger no matter what,luckily no one was watching so I got away with that one.
We all met up almost at the same time and I noticed Paul gutting four that the rest of them had shot
between them,a good start considering it was just a quick walk about.
Back at the cottage we discussed the night shift,a couple of hours shooting was agreed as we all
wanted an early start the next morning. We were splitting up again for this session as some of the
lads were using night vision and I was using the lamp, I didn't want to be anywhere near them as my
beam could severely damage their equipment if shone directly at them. I set off behind the cottage
and the rest went across the road to try on a field that had shown a good number of rabbits earlier as
we drove passed it on our way to the farm.
Walking up the track with a wood behind me I had my first shine of the lamp, I was using a red
filter on the lamp as I think the rabbits sit better in this colour light. I could not believe my eyes
when I shone over the field, the eyes from the rabbits all over the field were like stars on a clear
night,they were everywhere. The first rabbit that I had pinned in the beam sat like I was not there,it
was gazing at me without a care in the world, I walked slowly towards it lifting the rifle slowly as I
walked so when I got in range I was ready to shoot. The wind had got up quite a lot now and there
was no way I could hold the rifle steady standing. I slowly dropped to one knee and took aim again,
I watched the pellet fly all the way to the rabbit as it shone in the light and the rabbit somersaulted
onto its back then lay motionless. This was the way the next four went, they all sat upright and I
had to shoot kneeling every time due to the strength of the wind.
Things were going good , five rabbits in twenty minutes was more than I could ask for but things
soon took a U turn. I had walked to the top of the field and started my walk back down further into
the field this time,no sooner had I started and I had a rabbit in my sights again, I took aim as usual
but for some reason I shot straight over it,it soon ran for cover and left me to reflect what went
wrong. I went through the shot over in my head and couldn't understand what had gone wrong so
off I set for the next one. It didn't take long and there again I had one in my sight and again I
missed, now this is where I start to think the gun is playing up, how can you have five in a row then
miss two on on the trot. I went back to the wood out of the wind and had a quick zero session,there
was no problems with the gun so off I went to try again. The next half hour produced five more
rabbits in five shots so what happened to the other two where I missed can only be put down to me
being at fault.

With ten in my bag I decided it was time to head back,these were were not the lightest of rabbits
and I soon got a sweat on carrying them back,thank god it was all down hill. The lads had returned
from their trip and they had shot a few by the looks of the pile of UN gutted rabbits outside. While
we were chatting I had a look through one of the night vision units,it was a gen 3 kite with a six
times zoom. I was in awe of this piece of kit, it was like shooting in green daylight, I have never
seen a unit as clear as this so I asked if I could go out with it for an hour and see if I could bag a
few. Paul had decided to come for a walk with me with his set up so off over the road we went to
see what we could get. This was awesome, we were walking to within 25 yards with ease to the
rabbits with the strong winds blowing, it was the easiest shooting I had ever done to be honest and
we soon racked up more than enough rabbits to carry back.
The next morning was planned to be an early start, but this never happened. We all slept in and by
the time breakfast was eaten it was eleven o'clock gone. Allan decided it would be best to sit over a
large warren each due to the strong winds and hopefully we would each get a few and build up a
good bag to finish the trip. We all set off to our designated warrens, I put the bi pod on the rapid as
this was going to give me the best chance to be as steady as I could and make sure of a clean kill. As
I was walking to my spot I noticed a rabbit on the other side of a wall, I crouched down and got
myself quickly to the corner of the field. Sliding the rifle round the wall first, I slowly got myself
round and got comfortable with the bi pod , I took aim,pulled the trigger and missed, I hadn't
realised how much the wind was swirling around as it bounced off the wall and the pellet sailed
passed its nose. Luckily for me the rabbit sat upright and with a slight adjustment for wind direction
the mossie hit home and resulted in a clean shot just behind the eye. I had reached my warren now
and started to look for the best place to shoot from, a gap in two trees gave me a good view of the
warren and a steady rest if a rabbit presented itself. I had been shooting steady for an hour when
Paul joined me, his warren was only showing small rabbits so he took it in turns with me to bag
some more from mine as time was running out. Paul shot well , he took some tricky shots and we
both missed the odd one as we were caught out by the blustery wind. We picked up our rabbits and
decided to watch the other lads on one of the larger warrens from a distance, Allan and Jan were
pulling off some great shots between them and they soon had enough to carry back as well. We
gutted the rabbits and got them ready for a few pictures. We were surprised how many we had got
in the end, if it wasn't for the wind and us only shooting adult rabbits, the total would have easily
been doubled but at the end of the day we had enjoyed every minute of it.
I would just like to thank Allan for the invite and it was great to meet the other members on the .
Just before I go I would like to say that if Allan and Jan would like me to dye their trainers brown
they might get a few more shots off before the field of rabbits see their feet and run for the hills.

Does Jack Pyke clothing and trainers really work................. I will let you decide
You can find more features in Airgunner by subscribing at