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The Hunter's Chronicles - Thursday 19th March 2012

Birch sap is reputed to be very good for the kidneys, helping to combat kidney stones and dissolve sand etc from them. I don't doubt it on the grounds that I had a bottle before bed and at 05:05 this morning my bladder was rather larger than usual. Fire lit, porridge cooked on it chickens let out into the run coffee drunk, and off it was for a stalk. A beautiful clear morning, the sort that usually follows the preceding clear frosty night. I had barely entered the woodland when I spied a pigeon alighting upon a branch high in a tree 40 odd yards away. Adjusting for both range and elevation, not much just half a mildot, I took a standing shot through the myriad of twigs and branches. Like an adversary of Biggles, he fell to earth. As I hastily hunted for him (the coffee had kicked in...) an owl burst from a holly bush to my right. The word "Wow" escaped my lips. Incredible sight. A quick squat, and I eventually found him at the foot of his previous perch.

 For the sake of a leg stretch and to enjoy the glorious daybreak I sauntered on. I reached a notorious spot for squizzy whizzers, and I wasn't disappointed. A heavy female bounced along the ground to my right, paused for too long and she felt a JSB enter her heart and lungs. By the time I got to her her eyes were still open, life expired too quickly for the body to react.

On the way back, no pellet loaded this time, I was pretty happy with my bonus, a little male hopped across the ground to my left. I dropped to a knee, thumbed in a pellet and slowly rose. He scrabbled along the branches and paused. A JSB passed through his brain and down he tumbled.

 Three pellets, three instant dispatches, all standing shots, from 20-45 yards. I'm very pleased and glad I took the time to properly learn the rifle, the hold overs and study chairgun to establish the optimum zero range. It really pays off. As does the purchase of a £50 combro. An invaluable and essential piece of kit. Matched by not skimping on the buying of quality pellets that suit your gun. No 'cheap' product will do the job as well in my experience, frustration is normally the result.

 Replenishing the Birch Sap supply.

I always enjoy seeing the smoke gently rising from the chimney on mornings such as these.

The collection.

The end product.

I wasn't exactly sure how one eviscerates a pigeon, but I made it up as I went along. I normally just slice off the breasts but the waste has never sat well with me. His heart was enjoyed by the chickens, and the rest given a rather fitting burial in the woodland he enjoyed. His bones to be cremated in the woodburner and returned to the earth via the compost heap. As demonstrated by the spring and the re-emergence all around, from death, comes life. I'm still puzzled as to why chickens seem to enjoy eating feathers though... Bizarre creatures...

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