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The Hunter's Chronicles - Saturday 28th April 2012 - Part II

I supped my cuppa and had a long hard look at the dark ominous cloud formation the other side of the valley through the caravan window. Hmmm. Another check of the forecast. Computer says good, cloud says bad....Stuff it.

I headed out to the Nissan Terrano high security Shed cum Greenhouse (albeit with one constantly and slowly deflating tyre) when I was visited for the second time by a rather interesting agricultural worker. I first met him at 07:00 one morning. He confessed to having been outside since 04:00, a harmless chap who very much enjoyed regaling me not only with the latest songs he had composed but also with his harmonica and theory on the spread of TB.... I later discovered that whilst I was being undeniably entertained, his dog ate one of my rabbit skins that had been pinned on a board to dry...shame it wasn't the cockerel...

I bid him good day after reading his 'star letter' in Cotswold Life magazine and accepting a murray mint, and promised to text him so he had my number...I will, at some point.

A few shots to check zero and out I went again, this time with the MKIII TX200, back to the spot I took the kit with the Stealth.

40 yards down the fence line were two rabbits that seemed not only oblivious to my squeaks, but also to my attempt to kill them. My first shot clipped either a twig or the gate as I crept up on them, they half heartedly darted to the hedge line but very soon returned. By this time I was in the position pictured. And ready.

1-1. Another kit.

Now they seemed to get the message that death was lurking in the bushes and they bid a hasty retreat. I hung on another 20 minutes before retrieving and gutting my kill, then moving on.

I chose a spot 35-40 yards from a major and often frequented warren. It has been the focus of my attention but it sits where a small young woodland meets the field and is no doubt an entry and exit point as well as being homes.
I scanned the valley as I waited.

My faith was rewarded as the light was fading. A large buck scurried out some way into the field and presented me with the side of his skull. That was all that was required for the TX200 to send an RWS Superfield smack between his eye and ear.

I toyed with lamping the warren, but the frigid North wind got the better of me and I tramped home.

2-1 to the TX (although extra time is to be awarded to the Stealth!)

The Hunter's Chronicles - Saturday 28th April 2012

Conditions of late have not been favourable.

The paths around our caravan are churned up with thick sticky soil. Where rain has been able to flow, stone has been exposed underneath. The chickens look bedraggled, their run fit to be a scene from the Somme. I wouldn't be surprised if after this I'm treating them for shell shock and trench foot...

Still, growth has been incredible upon the trees and the vegetable patch. The rabbits are out in force, so Darth Vader and I seized the longest lull to go a-hunting.

This stretch is an embarrassment. The rabbits are numerous, and on the whole, wary. Here they are visible from the track behind, and ordinarily at least 2-5 can be seen at all times of the day. There are far more than that in total i'm sure, and you can bet your bottom dollar if you said to the land owner, "yep, all done" they would be there, waiting, to call you a liar.

To the right of the gate is a tree. It splits into a vee and has a leafy, but unfortunately placed hawthorn bush that likes to remind of its presence with a poke in the back of the right leg under the bumcheek if you start to relax. Very useful for maintaining concentration.

Here Darth Vader and I waited. A target presented itself, lazed at 62 yards. Didn't bother. The other two warren exit holes were lazed at 28 and 42 yards. After missing a seemingly straight forward shot, i double checked and found it was in fact 48 yards away... my mistake as I think the laser clipped a fence post due to my extreme angle.

Shortly after, Darth Vader summoned this little soul to the gates of Valhalla.

Now yes, Kits are not the most cautious of quarry, and could quite possibly be nailed with a boot to the face, but I was still very pleased with not only Darth Vaders accuracy, but the punch of the .22. As the Kit was face on and not presenting any safe headshot, I elected for a heart and lung shot through the chest/neck. The trauma exhibited on the body showed that death would most certainly have come swiftly even if the vital organs were somehow miraculously untouched.

The clouds released a shower, and we bid a hasty retreat. I aim to head back out with the tx200 and the lamp and see if .177 can't chalk one up too!

The Hunter's Chronicles - Tuesday 24th April 2012

T'would appear I'm not the only one afflicted by 'Itchy Trigger Finger' syndrome. But when I get the urge, I simply drop a text, pick up my gun and step across the road. It is not that simple for others I hear. Some choose to spend their time doing other things that means they can't do what they want when they want. I work too, but am self employed.

Poor Mawders*....

As I lay basking in the sun as the clouds passed, I amused myself greatly by rubbing this fact into Mawders' face! I often wile away the time between shots on my mobile browsing 'new content' on here. I've never had a textual relationship whilst hunting before....

It wasn't long before I triumphantly rubbed this in his mush.

A big fat buck.

Dinner stopped play and I headed back out. Eerily just as Mawders sent another grumble, I shot a similar sized Doe. Poor Poor Mawders. If the light hadn't have gotten so low I would've taken another glory shot.

Well fellas just two very quick mooches today. I'm actually trying to hold off the rabbits abit and concentrate on the pigeons before the leaves make roost shooting even more difficult.

Watch this space though because after tomorrow's delivery I'll be introducing our bunny friends to DARTH VADER!!!

*Mawders is a chap from The Hunting Life Forum

The Hunter's Chronicles - Tuesday 17th April 2012

Round my way April truly has brought its notorious showers, so with a rather dodgy forecast I decided to make hay so to speak and utilise every dry evening opportunity (dawn is getting to much like hard work!).

Target; Wood Pigeon
Venue; Small isolated woodland surrounded by grazing fields towards the lower half of the valley. Reconnaissance showed heavy concentrations of roosts at the north end on the east side. A steep slope rising from east to west. In order to minimise the angles I chose to hide along the elevated bank.
Trees; mature, broad leaf. Many covered in thick ivy reducing field of fire and line of sight.

I arrived about 18:30 to give plenty of time to set up. Often when i'm static hunting and waiting, I check out whats happening on The Hunting Life. Just so happened secretagentmole had pm'd me with some pigeon hunting tips. They were good too, I trialled them on a Jay.

Straight through the heart. Thanks Moley! Now, time to get some dinner!

Activity had slowed down considerably, after I had finished giving moley my excuses and just put my mobile away a pigeon landed right in front of me. Crap. For a few seconds i froze so as not to scare it off. having that strange staring match you do as your quarry makes its calculations. I inched the rifle up slowly, slowly. God knows how they do it, but they just seem to know death is close and bugger off!

Damn it!

Had a couple of pops at some others but was really having a crash course in hold under on a .177 . Roost shooting is not my normal approach to bagging dinner and the angles make things a nice challenge, not to mention the bloody twigs!

Finally as the light faded this little fella took pity and hung around to meet his maker.

Many thanks to secretagentmole for his 'in field' mentoring!

Was alot of fun, if dry, I intend to visit tomorrow night and exploit what I think will be a better shooting position.

The Hunter's Chronicles - Sunday 15th April 2012

Blue above, Green in front. Fantastic.

Today it was time to switch to another warren, The former seemingly close to exhausted, the numbers now down to single figures and consisting mostly of little ones. I'm concentrating on the most visible high profile warrens in order to impress and secure future permission, at the same time, it would be wise not to also bring about the obsolescence of my services. I also hope that a bit of pruning should help stave off any temptation from Mr Mixi...

So here I took up temporary residence. Gamebag underneath the rifle, the shadows extending across the field.

But I was not on form... missing three sitters as I failed to accurately gauge the range.

(Taking the above photo with my mobile free hand kept me amused for quite a frustrating while!)

Cue my latest gadget Strelok, a few minor adjustments and in the gamebag went this little fella...

Fate was not the kindest to this little chap, he decided to lower his head at just the point I fired, the pellet hit where intended, only that spot was now his spine. Thankfully I got to him quickly to swiftly break his neck. Regretful, but this time not down to an error or oversight on my part.

20:00 and I was cold. For the past hour nothing had materialised and yet I knew the field was awash with rabbits and pheasants, behind me. I gave up on the warren I had been observing and slowly turned to the nearest rabbit, by counting the fence posts between me and him, a reference having been taken from me to the warren, I calculated he was approximately 60 yards. Tapped this into Strelok and the app showed me where on my reticle he should sit. Monkey see monkey do, and BLOW ME DOWN if the little beggar didn't give a leap into the air and twitch his last! A pellet right through the ear. By far and away one of the best and definitely the furthest shot of my career.
Hoorah for Strelok (now I'd like a laser rangefinder...)

Another cracking performance from the HW97k and RWS Superfield combo.

In the words of my pal tigger - TTFN!

The Hunter's Chronicles - Friday 13th April 2012

Der Gestapo - Part Zwei.

The trigger finger was itchy... Something was gunna pop its clogs today. Of the stallions in the stable, it was the mkII TX200 that whinnied the loudest. Took her for a leg stretch in the paddock, pellet on pellet at 30 yards, nice. And off we went.

Glorious sunshine beamed down. The rolling green fields spread out in front, the valley capped by forest either side.

I took up a favoured spot overlooking a much frequented warren. It wasn't long before the MKII took a bite.

He was alot smaller than I thought, mental note, 9x mag makes things look nine times bigger...

Then the TX200 barked again,

Another clean dispatch.

"What are you doing!" I had switched positions and shortly after I was ambushed from behind the gate by a 'senior' looking white haired fellow.
"Hunting"... was my reply. (I'm sitting in full camo with a rifle pointed at a warren..)
"Do you have the owners permission?"
"Mr Farmer's, yes, of course."
"Police are on the phone."
"Sorry, who are you?! And why the devil did you call the police!?"
"I didn't. I live down the road"
"What, just there?" Says I, pointing to the one and only property on the border of the field.
"I've been coming here for over a month now." I stop myself from saying "I'm surprised you haven't seen me..." No I wasn't, I flipped it on it's head,
"I'll take it as a compliment you haven't seen me!"
He gave a genuine laugh which seemed to disarm his abrupt 'you naughty boy tone'.
When I said who I was, he seemed satisfied and promptly disappeared.

I awaited Der Gestapo and I took no chances. I made sure I was at least 50 feet from the road. When I spied their vehicle, I discharged the shot into the ground and swiftly bagged up the TX. What gun?

I rolled a smoke as they chatted behind the hedge.

My turn. I heartily greeted the two agents with a "Good Afternoon! What brings you here?"

Thankfully PC Blonde and PC Tall were not 'Policy Enforcement' officers, rather 'Peace' Officers. My gun wasn't even mentioned by them. They'd had a call from someone driving past the fields :censored: , all was well, they were happy. I told them how often I had and would frequent these fields and they promised they'd make a note and inform people I was known to them.

I was bemused by the observation that there were loads of pheasants, "why didn't I go for them?" Ho Ho Ho, I ain't falling for that! No, it was innocent enough, there are loads around. I made the excuse Mr Farmer bred them so they were a no no.

When they left, I gutted a rabbit and put it out to bait some crows. No luck.

Much later I returned and bagged another bunny.

Thoroughly whacked, I headed off home.

One squizzy whizzer less, but I couldn't claim credit for this one...

The Hunter's Chronicles - Monday 2nd April 2012

After a spell of unintended vegetarianism, it was with great enthusiasm that I set out with the TX200 MKIII. My spirit was set up and concealed under the hedge, lying in wait for that scrummy pigeon to land. All my backside needed to do was catch up.
I was shaken out of my day dreaming by a black sports car as it slowed to a halt beside me the window sliding down and the drivers sunglasses with it. It was the landowner! A welcome stop as he extended his permission to another field just below where I was walking. An old vineyard teaming with warrens and rabbit trails. Super!

I gave it a good scout and watching me was my first candidate. I missed him, twice. That's not normal for the MKIII and I'd checked zero before I came out... hmmm poor shooting then.

Off to wander the rest of the permission. Another chance. This encounter left me shaken and quite frankly angry and pissed off.
A rabbit not 40 yards away just behind a hillock. I crouched and crept to close the distance to 30-35 yards. Took my time and pulled the trigger, the head dropped. Either he was dead, or I'd missed and he'd run into the hedge. Those, I thought were the only two options.
The third, nightmarish one happened.

I approached and, as I drew near, a rabbit ran out into the middle of the field. Strange but not unheard of behaviour... A different rabbit? He stopped and I had a squint through the scope, sunlight glistened off his eye. But something seemed 'off'. I looked harder, yes, blood was pouring down his face. Oh God. This explained his bizarre antics. He was blind to his left. I exploited this in order to put things right and quickly. I was able to very quickly stride to within close range. Miss. WHAT! Reload. Miss. WHAT!!!!! Things got worse as he bolted back towards the hedgerow. Luckily he couldn't negotiate his way through and I was able to put a pellet in the back of his head.

No glory shot. (Definitely no glory) I practically ran back home to see what the hell had happened. A rifle that had been pellet on pellet missing at close ranges?! It was 8 clicks off to the left. Knocked in the bag? Not that I was aware of, I did take a slip in the vineyard... but had held the rifle away from harm. My inspection showed the eye was pierced, the 8 clicks off had probably sent the pellet too far forward on the head missing the brain.

With adjustments made I set out again wondering whether I should have switched to the 97k. Then the MKIII redeemed itself. I kept the range down and bagged three rabbits with clean headshots.

Still haunted by the scene I witnessed, I have decided the MKIII is in the sin bin awaiting a one piece mount and replacement scope when funds allow...

Hunting is not always as straight forward as many would have you believe, I'm sure my experience is not unique no matter how careful and particular a hunter is.

The rabbits were gifted to a random, and grateful, guy in the street. I explained the disparity and challenge of matching hunting to eat with pest control which had resulted in the surplus.

Anyhoo, an eventful and ultimately rather successful days hunting.