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The Hunter's Chronicles - Sunday 13th May 2012

Due to a low battery warning in our carbon monoxide alarm, I was awake at 04:00 whether I liked it or not.
A dawn patrol.
The sunrise was awe inspiring. My old friend, the woodland, transformed in my absence. The cover now blocking the rising light, vibrant green providing a screen from the multitude of pigeons cooing from the dizzying heights of the giant beech trees.
Whilst no quarry presented itself, I witnessed something I have not seen before. A crashing thundering sound suddenly erupted ahead. I dropped to my knee expecting to see a cyclist hurtle past at breakneck speed. Instead, four deer stampeded past weaving frantically through the trees... an incredible sight and most unexpected.
I exited the woods the other side.

Over the hill I strolled breathing in the fresh dawn air. It has been too long since I prowled the woods at this, a most vibrant hour so full of anticipation and promise it is almost palpable.
Out of sync with the terrain, and distracted by the scenes around me, I only managed to send the three rabbits that were seen scurrying back to their tunnels and warrens.

My focus switched to the pigeons as I embarked on the return leg of my tour. Only two shots of the many opportunities were possible and my closest attempt took a feather or two off the backside of one as I struggled to master shooting at near vertical angles. I have yet to learn this with the .177 let alone the .22 and I do not fancy scaling those arrow straight ancient beeches in order to mount targets to practice!

At 14:15 I set out to the fields on the lower slopes of the valley. After 3 hours I really did question my sanity entering on the forum a thread entitled "How I Know For Certain I'm Insane..." with the following post;

"...and it's the air rifles fault.

I read that one of the definitions of insanity is "the repetition of the same task or activity, with the expectation of a different outcome each time".

As I sit outside this warren for the umpteenth time, I can't help but wonder if the men in white coats, not rabbits, are about to jump out..."

I gave up on that warren and elected to 'mooch' instead.

In the next field over I spied two illuminated red elliptical shapes close to the ground. I dropped to my knee and inspected through the glass. As I suspected, the sun was shining through a pair of ears attached to a feeding rabbit. As I rose to advance, the wind, strong and unpredictable, and possibly over eagerness in my movement, gave my presence away and I had milliseconds to act. No time for laser range finding, it was shooting by the seat of the pants. The gut put range at 40 plus yards, the mind responded with the calculation of a mil dot hold over, she was turning to launch into a run. I fired from a standing position. She was out of the blocks and at full tilt. She failed to reach 572.5ft/s and the pursuing AA Field crashed into her skull. Two front flips and a side roll and four legs pointed upwards, twitching at the heavens.

A large and heavy Doe with seven fetuses. I was taken aback by her size.

'Bagged n tagged', we headed home. Within minutes she was 'dressed' (ironic, as being skinned surely she was undressed!) and in the pot. An old jar of Madras curry paste, its contents separated into 'brown' and 'liquid' provided the foundations of a very large and satisfying meal.

The possibilities and adventures that exist when the Sun doth shine!

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