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The Hunter's Chronicles - Friday 17th February (Night Patrol)

Friday 17th February (Night Patrol)

After what felt like one helluva marathon gutting and skinning session my back was aching and thumbs sore. Squirrels are darn fiddly to process and tough, well built machines.
Life for me then pretty much consists of the basic essentials. Water and wood (food taken care of!). Water collected, wood sawn, I went for a wander, a wander with a purpose. What I failed to include in my previous account was that on the return leg of my morning hunt I ran into a dog walker who gave me a hot tip on some wascally wabbits. He told me where I could find them and who owned the land. It was to this landowners residence that I wandered to around 17:00.
A quick summary of who I was and my intentions and he readily accepted my offer and granted me full permission. This is the chap who, it turns out, happens to own most of the valley... He trains and keeps race horses and the field I was interested in had just had new grass sown upon it. He was not happy with the rabbits feasting on it. His only proviso was that I text him prior to my outings, Not a problem sir!
Eager to get cracking I hurried home, scoffed my tea, and whizzed through the washing up like a school kid wanting to watch cartoons.
I saddled up the MkII Tx200 (has a bushnell banner dusk and dawn scope) with my solarforce lamp kit and hot footed it back to the field.

My first sweep of the field my heart sank. Nothing.
Had I been too eager? Had I come too early (it was gone 8 o'clock and quite dark now).
Had I made too much noise?
Had I got the right field?
Shut up lad.

As all you seasoned hunters know, looks can often be deceiving.

I walked along the hedgerow as softly as I could. The creak of my boots suddenly seemed deafening. I had attached the red filter and immediately regretted it. The lights of the village beyond almost canceled it out.

Ahhh but whats that I spy just off to my left? A twinkle? And so it was. A little rabbit hunkered down. Of course I near enough wet myself with glee and fluffed the shot. Goddamit!
Still, live and learn. Shame because that rabbit has just done the same.
On I crept, optimistic that the hordes of bunnies I had been promised lay just around the next bend in the hedge. To be sure I dazzled them and the tactic of cutting off their path with a dazzling beam of light, I detached the filter. It didn't cut the mustard let alone enough of the darkness.

I rounded the bend and touched the pressure switch mounted to the stock with masking tape. Zshwing my lamp was now a light sabre boring its power into the retinas of two slightly bemused rabbits.
Twang. Zing! What the! A miss?! The rabbits were even more bemused only hopping slightly.
Quick, reload.
Right, lets be sure on range, darkness being tricky and all. I light sabred them again, they edged closer to the hedge but my sword of light stopped them in their tracks. Now then, the closest bunny looked about to bolt, it turned its head giving me a lovely view between his ears. And that was the last thing he ever did.
No twitching. Just rolled over and lights out. Literally.
I switched to head torch (his mate scarpered) and inspected my prey. A neat hole at the back of the head, not perfectly in the middle, but just in from the left ear was the entry point and a slightly protruding eyeball showed where the pellet came to rest.

That was enough for me. I did sit and wait half heartedly but it wasn't long before I gave up and headed home. On the way back I scanned another field of this permission. Just one set of eyes glared back. I want a hot chocolate and my family has enough food for now. Enough perhaps for me to make some jerky!

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